AutoPoint Blog

Your coffee is ready.

Posted by Hilary Biggart Tuesday, May 17, 2016

This is an installment in a weekly series on uncommon tech innovations and implementations across all industries. Get an inside look at how other companies have changed their brands, their sales, and their retention through digital and mobile tech.

Starbucks has always been good at distinction. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Starbucks quickly became the most recognizable name in coffee all across the country with is omnipresent, uniform stores. The company excels at branding, with shops that maintain their original PNW vibe while still attracting people from various communities. Starbucks is the company that made it acceptable to pay $5 for your morning java.

But despite its distinction, Starbucks was still just a coffee shop. You walked in the door, waited in line, placed your order, and picked up your drink. All coffee shops did it, Seattle roots or not. But Starbucks has always been good at distinction, and it recognized an opportunity to innovate again.

Welcome to a new kind of app.

The Starbucks app has done three major things to transform the customer experience:

1) Mobile orders and payment with in-store pickup.

No lines, no waiting, and less time spent in the actual shop. The Starbucks app allows patrons to place their orders through the app at the Starbucks store nearest their current location. No matter where you are, whether you’re on your way to work or traveling across the country, the app gives you direct access to your favorite drinks.

Mobile payments (Starbucks was one of the first to accept mobile payment in stores as well), make the online ordering system work. Walk in, pick up your drink, walk out. You just shaved 10 minutes off your morning schedule.

2) Unique loyalty dashboard.

The Starbucks loyalty program has gained a kind of notoriety over the past few years, and for good reason. Starbucks extensively studied how its program worked in its stores and tweaked it for ultimate results. The company brought the same dedication to the app when it introduced the loyalty dashboard.

Upon opening the app, customers can see how many Starbucks “stars” they have, and how many more they need to get to the next rewards level. Displayed as actual stars on a Starbucks cup, customers can use their fingers to arrange their stars into constellations. When it’s time to redeem a reward? Easy. Remember, you can order through the app.

3) Live music based on what’s playing in stores.

You don’t have to be in a Starbucks store to check out the latest tunes. The Starbucks app offers music based on what’s playing in your local shop. What better way to offer the Starbucks experience no matter where the customer is?

What we can learn.

The goal of any dealer-branded mobile app should be to keep the customer experience close, no matter where the customer is. The app is a way for your customers to connect with your business whether they’re in the service department or in their living room. That’s why it's so important to offer engaging features.

Customers want to use apps that engage them, and digital loyalty programs are one effective way to do that. Starbucks demonstrates this through its loyalty dashboard. Your dealer-branded mobile app should do the same thing by automatically tracking customer points and making it easy to redeem rewards.

We already know loyalty programs and customer experience both positively impact retention. Now let’s put that knowledge to work in the app you choose to offer your customers. 


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