Starbucks continues mobile reign with multichannel mobile marketing effort


Beverage giant Starbucks is continuing to use mobile and social media to increase in-store traffic and drive awareness for its latest campaign.

The company has partnered with foursquare on its latest initiative. The campaign boosts awareness for the RED initiative that aims to fight AIDS.

Starbucks is wise to partner with foursquare, said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. These consumers tell Starbucks they were there, by checking in and location data confirms it.

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This is likely worth a $1 contribution, since foursquare is likely sharing user data with Starbucks, he said. While it makes consumers feel good and is a good cause the upside is that Starbucks gains visibility to those consumers who might not yet be using the Starbucks mobile app for payments.

Mr. Wilson is not affiliated with Starbucks. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Starbucks did not respond to press inquiries.

Checking in
Starbucks is promoting the mobile initiative via in-store signage.

When consumers check-in to any Starbucks location using foursquare, Starbucks will contribute $1 to the Global Fund to help fight AIDS.

Starbucks will donate up to $250,000.

By using foursquare, the coffee giant is driving in-store traffic and encouraging consumers to check-in for a good cause.

Additionally, by using in-store signage, Starbucks is helping promote the campaign and let its customers learn more about it.

Check-ins are fun and allow consumers to stoke their egos by displaying where they are and winning a badge, Mr. Kerr said. Far more importantly, check-ins are a way to link mobile marketing to mobile proof of presence.

The data is the key, as check-ins can empirical prove connectivity between mobile marketing and actual in-store traffic, he said.

If Starbucks can also show that they converted a purchase, they can start assigning an ROI value to the marketing that drove the consumer into the location.

Cup of joe
Starbucks has been proving that mobile plays an integral role in its day-to-day initiatives.

Earlier this year, Starbucks ramped up its mobile strategy and encouragied consumers to sign up for the companys My Starbucks Rewards program via an in-store call to action.

Via the My Starbucks Rewards program, consumers can earn rewards when they pay with their Starbucks Card. Free drinks and refills are one of the perks of the program (see story).

In April, Starbucks mobile payments strategy continued to gain steam, with recent reports stating that the coffeehouse chain has processed 42 million payments processed via its mobile application.

Back in December, Starbucks reported that 26 million transactions had been processed via the mobile payments app since its January 2011 launch (see story).

Most recently, Starbucks let coffee lovers learn more about its blended beverages and see how others remix their favorite drinks via a new mobile advertising campaign (see story).

Starbucks is a proven leader in the mobile space, Mr. Kerr said. They have also cracked the code on mobile payments, via their own internal, loyalty card-linked, rechargeable mobile payment system.

Starbucks is not only one to watch, they serve as a model for owning ones own mobile destiny, he said. While the mobile payment scene swirls around on itself and generates a big mess, Starbucks has linked internal systems and built a powerful omnichannel approach that is likely painting a clear picture of their customers buying behavior, all while improving the consumer in-store experience.

Data is the payoff.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York


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