Starbucks customers in New York City and Long Island can begin buying their java by swiping their iPhone or BlackBerry devices at the register in the latest rollout of the company's mobile payment application.
Launched in September 2009 at 16 company stores in the Seattle area and Northern California, the Starbucks Card Mobile app was expanded to 1,000 Target retail locations nationwide last March. The mobile payments trial has now been extended to 300 Starbucks stores in New York City and Suffolk and Nassau counties on Long Island.
The app allows users to hold a 2D barcode over a scanner at the counter to pay for products as well as check their balance, reload the card using a credit card, view transaction history and find a nearby Starbucks, among other things. People can also use the card app to find out which stores accept mobile payment by search via ZIP code or address. (The company also offers a separate store locator app called myStarbucks.)
The coffee chain said its overall payment card program is growing quickly, with one in five transactions now paid for with its branded card. Third-quarter card sales were up 17% from a year ago, and reload of existing cards was up 59%. Customers are expected to load more than $1 billion on cards this year.
"With the expansion of mobile payment to New York City, we expect to see more and more customers trading their plastic Starbucks Cards for the digital version on their mobile phone," said Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Loyalty, in a statement.
Despite the rapid growth of the Android smartphone platform in the last year, the latest version of the Starbucks app is geared only to the iPhone and iPod touch and BlackBerry models including the Curve, the Storm and the 8800 series. The BlackBerry version was released in September.
Starbucks said the app was designed for the iPhone and BlackBerry because 71% of its smartphone-owning customers have one of those two brands. During 2010, Android has jumped from about 8% U.S. market share to 20%, gaining ground on Apple and BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion.
The coffee giant teamed up with Apple on the recent launch of its Starbucks Digital Network, in which the entertainment channel features select music and video titles via iTunes as well as the digital version of the two-year-old iTunes Pick of the Week card program, offering a free new song or music video each week to Starbucks customers.