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Starbucks bolsters mcommerce strategy via mobile gifting app

July 5, 2011

Starbucks is showing that mobile plays a critical role in its overall initiatives by unveiling a new application that features gift card capabilities.

The app includes the company’s eGift feature and combines the features of its iPhone my Starbucks and Starbucks Card mobile apps. The app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.  

“Conceptually the ability to send a coffee gift card to someone else via mobile would only help enhance the customers use of a Starbucks mobile app,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta.

“Also, since you have to create an account to send it, and have an account to use it, this locks in more dedicated customers for Starbucks,” she said. “The ease of using PayPal for the transaction and the ’email the card’ makes this a brilliant mobile move for Starbucks.”

Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with Starbucks. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Starbucks did not respond by press time.

Previously, the eGift capability was available at, but now consumers can treat friends and family to their favorite beverages.

Consumers can access their favorite Starbucks Card features, use the mobile payment capability and track their My Starbucks Rewards.

Starbucks Card eGifts can be customized with a personal message and sent using a consumer’s contacts or Facebook friends list for any amount between $5-$100.

The mobile gift cards work like an actual Starbucks card and can be redeem at any participating company-owned and licensed Starbucks.

“Every time I’m in Starbucks, I and everyone around me is on their mobile phone — I think the question should be, how detrimental is it for Starbucks to not have a mobile presence?,” Ms. Troutman said.

Mobile coffee
The app lets consumers check their Starbucks Card balance, as well as reload it with any major credit card or PayPal.

Consumers can also consolidate their balances and access food and beverage nutrition information before making a purchase.

In addition, the app features a Drink Builder, which lets consumers build a virtual beverage.

Starbucks customers can also use the QR code reader to check out promotions.

“Mobile commerce will jump significantly in growth by end of this year as we head into and through the holiday seasons, retailers are starting to realize that mobile is an extension of the business that won’t go away and with this realization are or will be working toward a mobile solution in the short term,” Ms. Troutman said.

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

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