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Starbucks’ Simplicity Rules the North American Mobile Payment Market

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Friday, July 12, 2013

new study from Berg Insights found that not ISIS, MCX or Google were leading the way when it comes to mobile payments in the US. The leader is Starbucks with their dead simple mobile apps.

An estimated $500 million worth of mobile payments were made in the US, and the bulk of them were made using Starbucks’ smartphone app, and that in general mobile wallets are failing to gain traction.

The secret of Starbucks success is due in large part to the simplicity of their app, which is a digital gift card that can be reloaded. No extra requirements, no learning curve. Another reason this may be so successful? If you think about the typical Starbucks customers they are the sweet spot for mobile money applications like this. Individuals willing to spend $5 on a coffee, likely are in a hurry and completely get the value of saving time at the checkout and more often than not have a smart phone. Not to mention, Starbucks has put some muscle into marketing this to their customers, so they are clear on the benefits of how to use the app.

Maybe it is the experience of educating consumers on how to order complicated hot and cold beverages gives Starbucks a leg up, so mobile payments seem easy in comparison. As the market continues to ramp up to deliver on mobile money and other players work to bring their mobile wallet to the mainstream, there’s a lot of lessons they can learn from Starbucks.