Today Starbucks disclosed usage numbers on a new way to redeem the Starbucks Gift Card also know as the Starbucks Card. According to Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, more than 3 million consumers have paid using a new mobile gift card payment option; those are some very impressive numbers for a payment method which has only been available since January 2011, even if they started testing the program in September 2009.
What's A Mobile Gift Card?
Mobile gift cards allow consumers to store gift cards on their mobile phone. In short, mobile gift card users can display a barcode on their smartphone's screen which can be scanned by the merchant. Starbucks is using both iPhone and Blackberry applications to store and display the barcodes. Here are some screen shots of the mobil gift card app:
Mobile Gift Cards Will Be Popular
You can bet the farm mobile gift cards will be popular in the future and they are here to stay. While the form of caring gift card information on your phone may change over time, this is a trend which will continue. Here are a some of the benefits of mobile gift cards:
- It's always in your pocket.
- You'll always know the balance.
- Lost or stolen? No problem: the gift card is registered to your account.
- Reload your card anytime, anywhere.
- Access to your transaction history anywhere.
Those are some great benefits for consumers and it's easy to see why Starbucks' new payment option has been popular. In fact, I think it's time to start calling for mobile gift cards "mGift Cards".
mGift Cards Will Not Be For A Winner Every Merchant
While mGift Cards will be a popular option for consumers in the future, don't count on every merchant's efforts to be nearly as successful at Starbucks. That's because Starbucks' business model favors frequent use and the reloading of gift cards, a key attribute in maximizing the adoption of a mGift Card program. In short, people buy and reload Starbucks Gift Cards for themselves. Here are a few reasons why:
- Starbucks Gift Cards are part of a loyalty program: 'My Starbucks Rewards'
- Customers visit Starbucks on a weekly/daily basis.
- Customers use the Starbucks Gift Card for budgeting their coffee expense.
Without frequent use and an incentive to reload, the value proposition of an mGift Card is greatly reduced. People will be less likely to download an application just to one gift card. However, if you are using the card on a daily basis and own a smartphone, downloading the app is a no-brainer.
mGift Card Reviews by ScripSmart
Currently there are no mGift Card reviews on ScripSmart. However, this is likely to change and while nothing is final, we'll likely review them as a separate product, similar to how we review Plastic Gift Card separately and eGift Cards as separate offerings. Congrats to Starbucks on putting together a successful program!