Are You ‘Customer’ Experienced?


“Customer experience is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company.”~ Understanding Customer Experience by Christopher Meyer and André Schwager

There are many ways to pay for coffee.  Good old fashion cash, debit or credit card, and even loyalty cards with customized designs. But if you really want to be ‘experienced’, try using a Mobile App. You can, if you are loyal to Starbucks.

So what makes Starbucks Mobile App so special? There are other ways to pay even with a mobile phone like Square, Google Wallet, Isis, etc. So why did Starbucks end up taking lions share of $500 million mobile payment transactions (Berg Insight).

Usability: It’s easy!*

You are able to download Starbucks App while you wait for your latte. The app is easy to navigate, update and peruse. You can also follow the accumulation of your rewards in the digital Starbucks cup. To make it even easier to use the payment feature, it asks you if you would like to add the loyalty card to your passbook. You don’t even need the Starbucks app once you do that!

Interestingly enough, there is no ‘new’ technology required except barcode and barcode readers at the store.

Now the only thing you will have to wait for is the Barista to take your order and make your coffee. Of course, that gives you enough time to catch up on your emails and surf the mNet.  A good cup of latte is worth waiting for!

Value Add: It gives!

The one thing you will love about this App is that it ‘gives’. Of course, you will pay a premium for a cup of coffee every time you go, but you will get a free drink after about twelve stars once you become a gold member. You can also remain loyal to your favorite latte by turning on location based services and finding the nearest available store on the map.

Desirable: It’s cool!

You will be asked about the App when other people see you paying for food or coffee with it. And you will be happy to share your experience with them. After all, a good deal is worth sharing! What’s more…it will make you feel tech-savvy and well…cool! And who doesn’t want to be cool!

Credible: It works!

You will never have a problem with this Mobile App even when there is no Wi-Fi available. Just make sure you have the funds to pay for the latte. Actually, even that is easy.  Don’t forget your password and be at a store with Wi-Fi. App will do the rest.

So what does all this really mean?


Adoption is a significant challenge for Mobile Payment Apps today. In fact, according to Berg Insights:

Value-added services that enable new shopping experiences before, during and after payments will be what truly distinguishes mobile wallets from the traditional payment instruments.

Starbucks has demonstrated a ‘Gold’ standard for payments with its loyalty card.  Alas, it is limited only to Starbucks. Ironically, it is this exclusivity that allows the payment method to be adoptable and technically manageable. Starbucks brand is built on ‘customer experience’ and Mobile App is a natural extension of existing ‘experience’.

But to win this race in the global financial payments market, technology will have to present people with an ‘experience’ even if they only want a cup of coffee.

*Peter Morville’s Facets of  User Experience


Update from Payment Source: Disruptors

Starbucks: Mobile App Now Used in 14% of U.S. Payments


Prior to finding OPEN WRX Consulting, Kiran was a business consultant at CIBC and Innovapost, where her clients included Canada Post and Purolator. She also had the pleasure of working as a strategist for NBA, Kraft, Samsung and Travelex. Visit for more info.


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Kiran Sohi

Kiran Sohi has over ten years of experience in business and technology consulting: eCommerce, product management, marketing and sales strategy – in both public and private sectors. Her experience spans the spectrum from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Kiran has worked extensively around the globe, including Tokyo, NYC, Virginia and Toronto. By working closely with you on your initiatives, Kiran can help stimulate your business strategy, enable processes, technology and identify financial value. Her goal is to optimize your company’s management and competitive standing in the market.

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