I don’t know about you, but my chunky wallet contains 22 debit, credit, gift cards and reward cards. That’s right— A smorgasbord of plastic. Something must be done. Oh, what do you know…
Last year, Starbucks rolled out a new smartphone app allowing customers to pay for their coffee with a digital barcode. This movement began on the west coast in select cities, and then moved into the Starbucks locations inside Target stores.
The application is brilliant marketing in a nutshell. With store location, hours, directions and direct calling, as well as nutritional info, customized drinks, “Invite a Friend” and of course, the Starbucks Card bar code, this digital purse of information and convenience has become a new interactive standard. Not to mention, it is free.
The most forward-thinking aspect is the payment option. With the app, customers can register Starbucks cards, check balances, and reload with a credit card. Blackberry and iPhone users scan a 2-D barcode on a countertop device, making transactions quick and easy. This saves time for the avid coffee drinkers and pastry munchers and saves money for Starbucks in the long run.
Customers responded favorably to this mobile paying option. Brady Brewer (how perfect a name), a vice president at Starbucks, made the following comment in a news release:
“Mobile technology is part of our customers’ daily routine and with the expansion of mobile payment in our test cities, we’re seeing more and more customers using their smartphones as their mobile wallets,” said Brewer. “We’ve heard from our customers on My Starbucks Idea that they want a faster, more convenient way to pay.”
Today, the coffee company has expanded the mobile app use to about 300 locations in New York City and Long Island. It may not seem very meaningful or large-scale, but it does mark the progression of a new era: The digital wallet.
While some smartphone users may already be experiencing app overload, I think the market will only grow with this new scanning technology. People will just have to stop downloading so many useless Paper Toss games and make room to utilize this undeniable technology.
I hope that more store chains and companies adopt the mobile bar code. Those New Yorkers must feel like special high-tech guinea pigs. In the mean time, I’ll sit here in Florida with my 10-pound wallet.
Image from gumption on Flickr.