For Starbucks, the mobile app is key to customer retention. Competitors should look elsewhere for differentiation, or evolve a mobile app with different benefits.
The Motley Fool: Starbucks Corporation Talks Digital Strategy, Guidance, and Food Sales, 2017-Nov-16 by Daniel Sparks
Starbucks is regarded as the pioneer in mobile loyalty programs and mobile ordering, proving how a well-executed digital flywheel can help increase sales. But even after years of success in digital, Starbucks' digital flywheel remains paramount to the company's long-term plans -- and it's still driving significant results.
Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson explained (via a Motley Fool transcript):
Our priority to accelerate the power and momentum of our digital flywheel reflects the fact that digital relationships are among our most powerful demand generation levers. In fiscal '17, Starbucks Rewards membership in the U.S. rose 11% year over year. Per member spent increased 8% in Q4, alone. The cumulative fact is that today, 36% of tender comes from Starbucks Rewards, the vast majority, via our mobile app.
With this compelling data in mind, Johnson said the company will soon start making mobile order and pay available to all customers -- not just Starbucks Rewards members.