We continue to hear about improvements and expansions that Starbucks is making within their already best-in-class loyalty program, My Starbucks Rewards. Just in the past few months they have announced partnerships with Spotify, Lyft and, most recently, The New York Times, all in an attempt to broaden their customer base while providing added value to their loyal customers. Thoughtful partnerships no doubt, but here’s what I think is really going to move the loyalty needle for Starbucks over the next year – Mobile Order & Pay.
This loyalty innovation shatters customer expectations of convenience. I’ve always been impressed with the speed at which Starbucks baristas can deliver a consistent experience while getting customers through a line during the morning rush, but seeing that line was either a frustration (at best) or full-fledged deterrent (at worst). Being a hectic, working mom of a toddler, the ability to order my Americano, customized to how I like it, as I sit in my driveway preparing to head to work (always 20 minutes later than I had planned) is a game changer. I choose the Starbucks location that is conveniently along my route and swiftly pick up my order inside the door, while glancing the growing line of caffeine-deprived customers that wraps around the merchandising displays of the store.
As mentioned in our earlier posts about the three key customer expectations—ease, simplicity and speed—the Starbucks mobile order and pay experience is delivering on all three of these seamlessly. As stated by Lenati Customer Loyalty & Retention expert, Gina Cuff, “It goes without saying that the companies who best utilize technology to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumer will be the winners over the long-haul. But consumer demand for ease, simplicity, and speed are here to stay – and those who most efficiently put this new paradigm in the palm of our hands will most definitely lead the pack.”
The functionality is easy, solves a huge pain point for customers and is a significant differentiator for Starbucks. As this service expands to more stores across the U.S., I have no doubt it is going to drive stronger loyalty, both behaviorally and emotionally, for Starbucks. Coffee drinkers will visit Starbucks more often out of the convenience, while developing a true appreciation for the fact that Starbucks made our morning a little easier.
For more reading about how a positive customer experience can drive customer loyalty, download our article on The CX – Loyalty Connection.