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Ports Coffee & Tea Co. lets local consumers pay for drinks via mobile app

June 22, 2011

Ports Coffee & Tea Co. is letting coffee enthusiasts pay for their beverages and pastries via their mobile device.

The company tapped Square’s mobile payment app. Square equips businesses with a credit card reader and point-of-sale systems that run on mobile devices.

“We looked into many options when choosing a POS system for our first cafe and chose Square as our digital eegister instead of a traditional POS because it is easy to use and monitor real-time transactions, it’s cost-effective for small businesses,” said Nina Adams, cofounder of Ports Coffee & Tea, New York.

“We love that the entire experience is very slick, green – no paper – and clean,” she said. “No receipts, pens or carbon copies.

“Our customers love that we ring them up through an iPad, swipe their card through a small white accessory and they can sign with their finger.

Ports Coffee & Tea is a specialty espresso and tea bar.

Mobile payments
After consumers make a purchase can get a receipt emailed to them.

The company saw that going mobile with Square’s new app Card Case was a no brainer. 

Card Case is a virtual tab where customers already have a credit card saved and all they need to do is push a button to pay for their coffee.

“This works really well for our loyal customers and for being a neighborhood spot,” Ms. Adams said. “People can run down from their apartment, stop by on their way to the gym, not have to look through their pockets for money.

“Visitors on expense account love getting their receipt emailed and the rest of the customers are happy they don’t need to stuff another receipt into their pocket,” she said. “From a small business perspective, the whole experience becomes very personal, very face-to-face and that’s very important to us being a neighborhood spot.

“As a business owner, I can easily watch transactions online and download them into spreadsheets to analyze traffic patterns, popular items and other factors that will help me inform future business decisions.”

Coffee, tea?
Additionally, consumers are able to view Ports Coffee & Tea’s menu via the company’s app so they can decide what they want before they come to the café.

“Accomplishing daily tasks on our smartphone is such a big part of our lives now that being able to get your morning cup of coffee is such a natural part of life – it couldn’t be a better fit,” Ms. Adams said.

The company is also planning to open a pop-up store that will also except payments via mobile.

“Just imagine a small stand selling cold brew coffee in the middle of a park that can accept mobile and credit card payments without any electrical plugs or phone lines required for a regular POS system,” Ms. Adams said.  The Internet is beautiful and is the future of small business. I couldn’t be happier with the way this platform has worked out for us.

“There is not a new customer who doesn’t immediately notice the iPad and marvel at the fact that this is our register or enjoy the ability to get their receipt emailed or sign a credit card transaction using their finger,” she said.

“Regulars have signed up for the mobile app and love the fact that their picture and name comes up on the iPad when they pay using their phone. This sense of community and personalization is extremely important to us and to any small business in my opinion.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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