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Starbucks launches two apps for 2D bar-code sales, store locator

September 25, 2009

Starbucks tests the 2D waters

Starbucks tests the 2D waters

Starbucks Coffee Co. has launched a trial of a 2D bar code payment system for customers to pay via their iPhone or iPod touch.

The coffee giant launched two new applications. Starbucks Card Mobile has a 2D bar code system testing in 16 retail locations in Seattle, Cupertino, CA, and Mountain View, CA. The myStarbucks application is a store locator that lets users search by amenities or get directions to the nearest retail location.

“We want to be where our customers are and they are on their iPhones and iPod touch devices,” said Alisa Martinez, spokeswoman for Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle. “We think it is important to be where our customers are, and these two apps allow them to easily access Starbucks information that is of interest to them in a fashion that is cool, convenient, and saves them time.”

Starbucks is a worldwide coffee retail chain.

The myStarbucks application also has a drink-builder feature for users to build drinks to their liking and send it to a friend.

Also included is the food menu with nutritional information, as well as stories and facts about the Starbucks’ whole bean coffees.

“[The applications are] a time saver for our customers and allows them to put the Starbucks they need and want right at their fingertips, whether they are trying to locate a store in a new city, build a customized beverage, invite a friend to meet them at a Starbucks, find nutritional information on our espresso beverages and food, or check their Starbucks Card balance and easily reload their account if their balance is low,” Ms. Martinez said.

In the Starbucks Card Mobile application, users enter their Starbucks Card number and their iPhone becomes their Starbucks Card, the coffee chain’s CRM loyalty program.

Ms. Martinez said that Starbucks receives approximately 100 calls per week from customers asking for their Starbucks Card balance.

Users will be able to check their balance, register their cards and get rewards like free coffee refills and two hours of free AT&T WiFi every day.

Consumers can reload their cards with any major credit card, and for a limited time, the first $25 or more that consumers reload with a Visa card will earn a $5 bonus.

In the select stores, consumers can pay with the application. Once the card number has been entered on the Apple device, it will display a bar code that is used the same way a Starbucks Card is used to make purchases.

The coffee giant tapped digital technology provider Codilink, which specializes in mobile services helping companies to offer loyalty programs to their clients for a campaign in Mexico. The campaign ran in Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, and had a 60 percent mobile coupon redemption rate (see story).

“The 2D bar code provides payment convenience to our customers at the point of sale,” Ms. Martinez said. “It was the most feasible solution for our payment trial in Seattle and Silicon Valley.

“We look forward to evaluating customer interest and response to the trial,” she said.

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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