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Starbucks mobile payment program exceeds 26M transactions

December 7, 2011

Starbucks has exceeded 26 million mobile transactions since the launch of its mobile payment program in January.

According to the company, in the first nine weeks of the program there were 3 million transactions. In comparison, for the nine-week period starting in October there were 6 million transactions. The data shows that there has been a significant jump in customer adoption and use.

“According to it appears that 1 in 4 transactions at Starbucks are being made via card, including mobile,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta.

“With this rise in mobile usage at a Starbucks, and all because of an app that allows mobile payments, you can imagine the number of transactions that would take place with Starbucks if they were to enable mobile payments, and use through a mobile app for those unable to download apps to their mobile,” she said.

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

Starbucks did not respond to press inquiries.

Mcommerce advances
Globally, the Starbucks Card program had $2.4 billion loaded onto cards during the 2011 fiscal year.

According to the company, Starbucks Cards are currently used for 1 in 4 transactions in the United States.

Since the card launched over 10 years ago, more than $10 billion has been loaded on Starbucks Cards.

Since January 2011, there has been $110.5 million reloaded onto Starbucks Cards directly through the mobile app.

Earlier this year Starbucks enhanced it mobile payment program beyond its nearly 7,000 U.S. company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Target stores to include nearly 1,000 Safeway stores in June.

The expansion gives consumers more ways to pay for their beverages via their mobile devices.

Currently, the top five U.S. cities that have adopted the Starbucks mobile app include New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago and San Jose. 

Gift card capabilities
In July, Starbucks continued to prove that 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.

Since October, mobile sales have doubled to account for 10 percent of Starbucks Card eGift sales.

Starbucks is also doing well internationally.

Starbucks introduced its Starbucks Canada app last month which offers mobile payments in 1,000 stores in Canada.

Additionally, Starbucks will offer British consumers the option to pay with select smartphone devices at more than 700 Starbucks stores.

The mobile payments service will debut in Britain Jan. 5.

Most recently, Starbucks ramped up its mobile portfolio with a Starbucks Cup Magic app which features augmented reality to offer an animated visual experience.

Consumers are encouraged to download the app and discover holiday characters as they come to life by scanning Starbucks’ red cups, holiday coffee bags and in-store signage.

According to the company, there was an engagement rate of 91 percent and more than 450,000 visits to the augmented reality experience.

“With their augmented reality app allowing for 450,000 engagement points since its November release, I think that the prediction of mobile for Starbucks that was made upon launch some weeks back has been completely accurate,” Ms. Troutman said.

“Shoppers need their coffee, and while in line like to engage in a mobile activity, if, indeed the mobile activity shortens their wait, they will be that much more inclined to go mobile,” she said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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

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