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Starbucks: An Inspired Use Of Modern Technology

With the advance of mobile technology and the recent changes to the timeline in Facebook I was curious about how brands are taking advantage of today’s technology. I came across Starbucks and they are clearly using modern technology to their advantage. Let’s take a look at how Starbucks uses Facebook and Mobile to get their message across and create engagement with their customers.


Starbucks has certainly been quick to take advantage of the new Facebook Timeline. A visit to their Facebook page and your mouth is watering and taste buds tingling. From the cover photo of quality coffee beans to the many photos of Starbucks products as you scroll down the page Starbucks knows how to use Facebook effectively.

  • The new timeline has enabled photos to appear a lot larger on the page so the images of coffee beans and beverages have become much more enticing to the visitor.
  • The carefully crafted captions above the photos also capture the visitor’s attention.

The new tabs advertise the Starbucks gift card and Starbucks around the world. You can send a Starbucks egift right to a friend’s wall, and with a facebook app manage your Starbucks card and review your Starbucks Rewards.

In essence the coffee company  truly believes in the importance of reaching their customers where their customers are and facebook is where their customers are to be found.

Are your customers on Facebook? If so have you thought how  you are going to provide an opportunity to both showcase your products in such a subtle way and provide value to your visitors that keeps them coming back?

Related: What Can Kellogg’s QR Code Campaign Teach Us About Marketing?


Another example of how Starbucks has embraced modern technology is their use of smartphone capability. About a year ago Starbucks first created a mobile platform that allowed users to buy Starbucks gift cards via a free mobile app on their smart phones.

The result:  their app has processed over 26 million transactions on iOS, BlackBerry and Android. 1 in 4 Starbucks transactions now take place via mobile.

  • The mobile phone app can  be used to reload, transfer balances and manage a Starbucks Card account, find nearby stores and find out more about Starbucks offers and products.
  • In fact, you can build your own virtual drink and share it through Facebook and twitter.
  • The app also enables users to send a friend an egift and track their loyalty points in the ‘My Starbucks Reward programme’.

Ian Cranna, director of Starbucks Marketing UK said “Customers are looking for extra value. This scheme allows us to be more personal, rewarding the most frequent customers with extra benefits. We also know that fewer customers want to use cash, so putting My Starbucks Reward on mobiles offers a faster, easier way to pay.”

Has your business gone mobile yet? If not do you have plans to do so soon? What do you want to offer your customers to engage them more in your business?

Related: Using An App for Marketing: Appland Thinking Harnessed By RedOakSnap

Anne is passionate about helping businesses succeed in marketing their business in today's world. As traditional ways to promote businesses are becoming less effective Anne and her team at Bison Mobile Web Consulting focus on providing clients with modern marketing methods that are proven to work Currently Anne lives in beautiful South Somerset with her husband, 3 children and 2 dogs. Let her show you how you can get more clients for your business and increase your income so you can spend more time enjoying life and less time working and stressing in your business.

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  • Great post, Anne. The “1 in 4 Starbucks transactions now take place via mobile” stat in incredible, just showed you what can be achieved. I agree, this is really inspirational stuff! 

  • I’ve an online shop and find that about 50% of customers use paypal. I’d suggest shopping around re the merchant account though too if you have good credit. Inadvertedly, I went for quite an expensive option with Elavon/Realex and I wouldn’t recommend Elavon to anyone!! I’d suggest businesses ask other businesses what merchant account they use and if they’d recommend them.

  • Sian, Yes, factors from one’s past can haunt them in the business world. Just like consumers can be haunted for years with credit card debt, business owners can find the same to be true. If anything good came out of the recent recession, it seems that more people are paying attention this time to where and why they spend money, especially when it involves getting the plastic out.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey


    Thank you for your questions! Actually whether you’re a sole proprietor (also known as a sole trader) or have employees, any small business can use these tools. For example, a friend of mine who has a start up luxury candle/skin care company hires 1 intern every year. This has reduced the number of hours she used to spend on administrative tasks and she can spend more time developing her product and meeting with product representatives, vendors and retailers.

    Another sole proprietor I know uses cloud accounting for all of her invoicing and bookkeeping. This has saved her time that she used to spend completing and sending out the invoices.

    Bottom line, all small business owners can find ways to add in tools and resources that will help them run their businesses. Not all small businesses are going to use all of the tools and resources as they have to be cost-effective. That is why practicality has to be part of the decision-making process as you use the 4 questions.

  • ElliStGeorgeGodfrey

    Randy, great testimonial about how automation has freed up time for you!

  • Thanks for the great feedback folks!

  • Adam

    Great point, Niall. Thanks for reading!

  • Some common sense points there but it misses the biggest failing of email marketing plans. They usually forget the ‘plan’ part.
    any other marketing or business activity you need to approach it with a
    goal in mind and a plan on how to get there. Spraying and praying, even
    with points mentioned, will lead to a frustrating experience for both
    sender and receiver and the assumption that ‘Email marketing does not
    get it done’.

    Sketch out a 6 month plan.
    Use the points Adam mentions in his article.
    What should the receiver get out of it? (eg Become an expert at your product/service/industry or get great deals they want)
    What should the sender get out of it? (Email accounts for 10% of total sales or reduce customer churn)
    How will you measure it at month 2, 4 and 6?

  • Adam

    Thanks for bringing up the point that email marketing sometimes misses the planning portion all together, Alan. And, I’ll definitely have to remember the phrase “spraying and praying.”

  • Hi Diwiyne (and Niall).

    You made some great points.

    It’s so easy to get carried away with using gimmicks. But the important thing to remember is that the user comes first. We need to make it as easy as possible for people to use without them having to think.

    Thanks for sharing those tips.


  • So true Eric. I believe in first impression usually becomes the last and nowadays website is the first thing you check after hearing or knowing an individual or an organization. Website has no longer stayed as an online presence but it’s “Beauty with Brains”…. 🙂 Cheers!

  • You’re welcome Ileane – I’m always looking for good posts so please feel free to send them to me 🙂

  • flight4success

    Thank you you as well for featuring my article on getting promoted. Very kind of you and very much appreciated!!! Bryan

  • That’s really a good list to follow. Thanks for the share.

  • You did it! You included at least one website I have not encountered on my own before arriving here. Bravo!

  • Thanks for this great list Melissa – there were a couple I didn’t have so have bookmarked them now. And don’t forget Tweak Your Biz too 🙂

  • Todd @ Divorce the Workforce

    I agree with Social Media Examiner, and in fact I’d probably make it my #1 pick above. The amount of value I’ve had delivered to my RSS from that one source is incredible.

  • Umair

    I hope you like them all.

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