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Starbucks Leads Us To Mobile Commerce

08/08/2012

Starbucks continues to push the envelope of mobile commerce with the announcement of a partnership with Square, the mobile payment technology. The coffee company processes over a million mobile payments a week, meaning that any changes to their payment system will effect many customers and had better be fail safe.

Unlike the current barcode on mobile screen payment system, that I’ve found to work quite well and prefer using it over cash, Square uses GPS technology to make transactions even more simple. In fact one won’t even have to take the phone out of a pocket or purse to purchase.

Once the GPS technology is fully implimented, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the cashier his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete.

The partnership with Square will likely change other aspects of Starbucks business. Right now as a holder of the Starbuks Gold Card (which is on my iPhone) I receive a free drink after 15 purchases. Currently Starbucks mails a postcard to be redeemed for the freebie. Mailing a postcard feels old school for a progressive brand like Starbucks. There’s no reason the free drink can’t be pushed electronically into my account and redeemed with the next scan of my iPhone.

The day the wallet goes away is still in the future. But Starbucks is taking us down that path at a greater clip with Square.

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