The Manifest: Starbucks’ Mobile Payments App Aces in Restaurant Loyalty Rewards

May 21, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Starbucks’ success in mobile payments is hardly an accident. It’s been putting out some really high-quality tools for a good long while now, and from mobile payments to mobile order-ahead to mobile rewards tools that keep track of rewards points without the user really having to do much more than buy stuff. A new study from The Manifest shows that, even among those who use smartphones quite a bit, Starbucks’ mobile app is a big part of the field.

When surveying 511 smartphone owners who use at least three apps a day, 48 percent of them “regularly” use the Starbucks app. That’s actually better than you might think, as that same pool admitted to using the Domino’s app 34 percent of the time and the Pizza Hut app 30 percent.

The Manifest offered comment behind the results, saying “The Starbucks app also clearly communicates to users how they can earn rewards, and it offers real value — not only through free food and drinks, but also by offering free music, games and other goodies.” Overall user experience was also cited as a reason for popularity.

There’s something else potentially at work here, though, that The Manifest may not have considered. Look at the three apps involved in the study: Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Starbucks. Of the three, only one really encourages users to stick around for any length of time with their mobile devices, and that’s Starbucks. While every Pizza Hut and Domino’s is different—not to mention every Starbucks—if I were planning to go and sit somewhere with my smartphone for a couple hours, it probably wouldn’t be where a bunch of people were having dinner, and the doors were constantly opening and closing from people picking up dinner to take home and eat instead.

Essentially, the reason more users turn to Starbucks might not all be in the Starbucks app. It could be the Starbucks brand image, or the Starbucks’ capability to accommodate the mobile device user. Still though, it’s easy to see that it’s having an impact no matter what the motivation is, and businesses emulating Starbucks are likely to be rewarded in the market.