Starbucks’ Mobile Payments Systems Still Percolating Growth

July 12, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Starbucks was the poster child for the mobile order-ahead system, not only for its successes, but also for its failures. Starbucks showed us how mobile order-ahead can mean huge bumps in sales, and also showed us what happens when you don’t prepare for those huge sales bumps at the individual store level. Now, new reports suggest that the Starbucks mobile order-ahead empire is still gaining ground.

Word from Retail Touch Points notes that, this year, an expected 23.4 million users over the age of 14 will make a point-of-sale (POS) purchase with the app at least twice a year. Given that Apple Pay itself will only see 22 million users do likewise, that’s no mean feat. Comparing it to Samsung Pay’s nine million and Google Pay’s one million only makes Starbucks look better.

Of course, Starbucks has a secret weapon here in that it’s at least kind of platform-agnostic; it’s available on both Android and iOS devices. It also has a pretty wide user base as well in the sheer numbers of people who come in for coffee every day whether to start their day or to give them a leg up in the middle of said day.

Word from eMarketer notes that not only will Starbucks continue to beat Apple Pay, it will do so for some time and only get more pronounced. The eMarketer studies suggest that, while there’s a 1.4 million user gap between Starbucks and Apple Pay, that number will actually increase to 2.3 million in just four years.

It’s a perfect storm of market value; not only does Starbucks have an excellent mobile experience that’s commonly available to the two largest mobile platforms, it’s also got a substantial user base that’s all looking for coffee. Bring together an easy-to-use system that works on multiple platforms and provides something that people were going to buy anyway and the end result is clear: a very popular system that people are going to want to use, and use often.

Starbucks’ popularity is clear here, and we’ve even seen how Starbucks has had to modify its own operations to accommodate that popularity. That’s a lot to absorb, and chances are, Starbucks will only continue to prove its worth in the mobile payments market.