How coffeeshops innovate in ecommerce

I am always on the search for connections between the online and the offline world. Amazingly few companies have a solid strategy and innovative ideas on how to connect the two. Ok, websites are there, you have a fancy Facebook page etc, but if you go to a store you seem to be completely offline (apart from foursquare or Facebook logins).When I went to some Starbucks stores in Berlin recently I found some nice ideas for the connection and the company instantly catched my attention. To be precise the receipt got my full attention. There was a code on it and the invitation to visit a special Starbucks website to participate in a customer survey to receive a free tall coffee of my choice. So I visited the website on my iPhone, answered some question about the shop where I purchased my drink (yes, it’s also a location based survey) and got a code to write down on the receipt. The next day I simply walked in to the next Starbucks and payed my coffee with the pin on the receipt. And here are the reason, why I really like this idea:

  • Usually customer surveys are hard to get, because no one takes the time to fill them out
  • With this online approach you not only get the ones that want the incentive, but also the ones that are curious (like me)
  • You can fill in the survey with no additional online cost, if you do it with your laptop over the provided Starbucks WLAN, that is for free for 2 hours
  • With this approach you get a real incentive, not just some bullshit “1 Euro off” discount – the value of the tall drink is somewhere around €4,50, depending on what you like
  • With the coupon you get the customer to come again and it is likely, that he buys something else on top
  • Starbucks gets some good data from it’s customers, with relation to the specific shop
  • You don’t have to fill in any personal detail, just optional your zip code, so the interaction ends there, with no further marketing involved

Also payment is one of the logical solutions to connect offline and online and a couple of businesses use it or start at least to use it (see our NFC section). So this is not sooo new.
Payment innovation is a topic for Starbucks since 2009 when they started to test an app based payment system. Now the system is rolled out in all 9.000 US stores. It uses simple 2D scanners and the app can be charged via PayPal or credit card and combines payments with a coupon keeping system and other functions like store locator. Over 26 million payments with a revenue of over $110 million have been generated with the system since the beginning of the year. Now Starbucks not only stays with a good profitable solution for mobile payment, but takes it a step further and launches NFC based payment in the UK in 2012. All 700 stores will be equipped to receive payment on NFC basis.

But not only Starbucks is embracing innovation. Also small players use innovative payment handling. Last week Acre Coffee made it up to “This week in Google”. The coffee shop (and yes: there is only one) uses CardCase as payment method that is provided by Square. The service uses geoproximity to identify the user. With an iPad mounted at the POS the employees can see who is coming up to the counter. The customer experience can be personalized to a maximum.

I like these examples, because they show that you can bridge offline / online barrier with creativity and some simple changes in you systems. I guess Starbucks will keep coming with such innovative ideas. I just ask myself why it seems that always American companies come up with such stuff…  where the fu%$ is Europe???

3 Responses to How coffeeshops innovate in ecommerce

  1. De says:

    Another connection between the online and the offline world is the Bartab app for for Facebook/Android/Iphone. Bartab enables you to send yourself and friends real drinks (I heard food and other merchandise will be offered soon also). I think it is only Available in America right now, sorry Kai. Bartab is a check-in, gift giving/recieving, and restaurant/bar GPS location tool all in one. i hope to see Near Field Communication use in the future with this app.

  2. Pingback: Cum pot cafenelele sa imbunatateasca ecommerce-ul | W2

  3. Pingback: NFC Revolution News: New devices at CES « ecomPunk

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