Through mobile marketing, Starbucks has created a covetable environment for both testing new features and delivering an ever-evolving UX. What are the key takeaways for developers who want to remain competitive?
In 2009, Starbucks set their sights on mobile app marketing as a means of driving customer loyalty and enhancing their retail experience. From QR codes to augmented reality, the Seattle-based franchise had ample opportunity to test a number of new tactics in the years since. And at the heart of this entire strategy is gamification.
Gamification Fuels Loyalty
As an early adopter of mobile, Starbucks was able to carefully test their app before gradually rolling it out, as they found themselves in a market that was far less cluttered with competitors vying for consumer attention. In fact, according to Mobile Marketer, they now cater to over 120 million users, completing more than six million mobile transactions in-store each week.
The My Starbucks Rewards program combines fun, interactive features with tangible rewards and a streamlined payment process, offering users an intuitive and gratifying companion for their visits. Not unlike the achievements and trophies you see in video games, these features present the user with a sense of accomplishment and immediate rewards that are easy to redeem.
Re-engagement Is Essential
A study by Localytics back in 2011 indicated that 26% of mobile apps downloaded were only used once. Couple that with the sheer amount of disruption and competition occurring today, and the message becomes clear. It's safe to say that new apps must be competitive in nature — but without a clear re-engagement strategy, any new product should be prepared to end up a one-hit wonder.
Starbucks employs a solid set of incentives for end users to continuously access their app by means of free downloads, product giveaways, and interactive gift features. The main lesson here is that if the user is not presented with a reason to keep using the app, they won’t.
Geo-Targeting Reels in Business
Last December, ClickZ reported on Starbucks’ use of geo-targeted advertising and device recognition elements to deliver custom-tailored messages to users in the United Kingdom. Rather than using impressions or other traditional benchmarks, the company looked at store visits as their focal metric for gauging the app’s success.
After reporting an increase in store traffic of over 100%, it became abundantly clear that proximity-based targeting and compelling incentives were an effective recipe for prompting a big response from users.
Additionally, the sheer amount of raw data collected has allowed the company to adapt to their users’ behaviors and preferences, resulting in a near-symbiotic relationship with their audience.
A Recipe for Success
The most significant takeaway from Starbucks’ success is that a brand's approach to mobile must be one of focus and dedication. There is no casual way towards app success — not anymore.
In order to rise above the deafening background noise of the marketplace, developers must now do everything in their power to raise the bar with each new launch. A strong mobile strategy is now an elemental component of modern marketing.
And to remain competitive, developers must have an intimate understanding of who they want to download their mobile app and, how they go about using it. Where are they located? What are their favorite products?
And which incentives are the most meaningful to them? Once you have the answers to these questions, the seed of a strong, precision-targeted app has been planted.
If you want to set out on building your brand’s mobile presence, start testing your existing features today with AppMakr’s easy-to-use development platform. With its sharp analytics tools, you can follow Starbucks’ lead by learning more about your audience and trying out the features that work best with their preferences. Who knows? Your app could be the next big thing.
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