POSTED : June 25, 2015
BY : PK

A customer experience series on mobile integration in retail

Today, the customer path to purchase is a complex web of interactions and experiences across digital and physical channels. Mobile is the indispensable common denominator that is guiding, informing and influencing the customer through their journey. For those retail brands that can successfully and seamlessly integrate mobile, the possibilities (and ROI) are tremendous. The effect of smartphones on in-store retail sales will increase to $689 billion (or 19% of total store sales) by 2016. Many companies know that mobile can add value to a customer’s experience with your brand, however, understanding where and how to integrate in the customer’s buying journey is where many companies fall short.

In this PK mobile blog series, we will take a closer look at brands who are successfully integrating mobile to enhance the customer experience and to increase brick and mortar traffic and sales—bridging the gap between digital and physical. There is one stand out brand who has pioneered the value of mobile in the food and beverage retail industry. This brand: Starbucks.

Let’s delve deeper into exactly how and why the Starbucks mobile app is winning the mobile integration game.

Company: Starbucks
What: Mobile app
Benefit: Seamless mobile pay and loyalty integration

Before Apple Pay or Google Wallet, customers were purchasing their daily dose of caffeine (and earning coveted gold stars) through none other than the Starbucks app. The Starbucks app has redefined the value of mobile at brick and mortar retail. It is the industry leader in seamless mobile payment and loyalty integration—streamlining the payment process, reducing in-store wait times and improving customer loyalty—all while increasing revenue and providing Starbucks with invaluable customer data. With approximately 8 million weekly mobile-payment transactions, the app now accounts for about 18% of all transactions in store and half of every card transaction.

Starbucks continues to evolve its mobile presence and test new, innovative ways to increase engagement and decrease the amount of time it takes to get you your “cup of Joe.” The mobile app is the foundational platform from which Starbucks plans to launch subsequent features to serve the customer in today’s on-demand economy.

In December, the company piloted its “order ahead” functionality that is now available at 650+ locations around the Pacific Northwest. Customers are able to order their beverage ahead of time and have their drink ready and waiting. No lines. No Waiting. No problem.

What to look for:

If pre-ordering your coffee isn’t convenient enough, soon you won’t even have to leave your office to get your Starbucks fix. In the second half of 2015, Starbucks plans to launch trials of a delivery service in Seattle and within New York City’s Empire State Building. In Seattle, the company will partner with delivery start-up, Postmates, to deliver beverages and food by bike and by car. In New York City, employees from the Starbucks located in the Empire State Building will deliver beverages and food directly to your desk.

For Starbucks, mobile is at the center of the customer experience. The app continues to prove the value of true mobile integration in retail.

Stay tuned for more highlights of other companies that are paving the way in seamless mobile customer experience.

For a deep dive on how improvements to the customer experience (including mobile integration) can drive customer loyalty, read our latest article on The Customer Experience – Loyalty Connection.

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