Mobile Commerce

Starbucks iOS App Adds Gifting Via iMessage, Apple Pay

Starbucks is moving ahead full force in its offerings when it comes to technology enhancements.

Just recently, the company announced its plans for a mobile-only ordering store in its Seattle headquarters, and now it’s bumped it up another notch.

Gift cards are the last physical frontier of payment options for a specific retail location. If there’s a certain person who loves coffee, Starbucks is making it easier to gift that person digitally. With a new update to its iPhone app, the coffee retail giant has now added a slew of features — but chief among them is the “Starbucks Gifts” iMessage app. Through this new add-on feature, consumers can now send virtual gift cards through Apple’s iMessage service and pay for them via Apple Pay.

As part of its digital strategy, the company’s efforts to push forward mobile uses of its application via mobile-only ordering and gift cards is likely to be a welcome value add for coffee lovers. Among the new features offered in the update of Starbucks’ iPhone app, it also enhanced its push notifications, restructured its mobile order and pay and installed new filtering options for its store locator.

Starbucks is making its offerings more convenient, intuitive and streamlined for its customers. As evidence of the company’s push for a more personalized digital touch, its new push notifications are sent based on the frequency of the app. Special store offerings at particular locations are put front and center through the new store locator filter option.

It’s likely that Starbucks just made it that much harder for others in the coffee space to compete.


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Our data and analytics team has developed a number of creative methodologies and frameworks that measure and benchmark the innovation that’s reshaping the payments and commerce ecosystem. In the November 2019 Mobile Order-Ahead Report, PYMNTS talks with Dan Wheeler, Wahlburgers’ SVP, on how the QSR balances security and seamlessness to secure its recently launched WahlClub loyalty program.

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