As far as rewards programs go, Starbucks
has one of the least attractive on offer. Frequent hotel dwellers and airline goers have been pretty upset lately by point devaluations that are ruffling through the industry, but Starbucks gives loyal drinkers next to nothing for stopping in on a daily basis. Clearly, that's not hurting sales. The coffee giant still seems to be pulling customers in left and right, and while you'd think it would have to offer something fairly amazing to get people to pay using their phone, that evidently is not the case.
Mobile payments on the whole have struggled in the United States. Google Wallet has been all but a dud, and while Square
is doing well, that still involves a physical credit card for most purchases. Starbucks, however, seems to be on its own planet. A new report suggests that 1 in 10 purchases made at Starbucks (U.S.) now involves a phone. That's right: 10% of all Starbucks transactions in the United States are completed with a phone.
Starbucks, to its credit, has been pushing mobile payments, and the Starbucks app makes it easy to pay using rechargeable Starbucks gift cards. But again, why are people doing it? The reward program is hardly awe-inspiring, so perhaps it's just easier? Or perhaps it's just the typical Starbucks crowd being more willing than most to give new technology a chance. Either way, it's interesting to see a cafe pushing mobile payments in a way that most other retailers could only dream of, even without heavy incentives to use it.