When Starbucks announced the launch of its first cashless location, it didn’t just make headlines on the merit of its innovation. The rise of cashless payments has also created a data gold rush for marketers.
“Data is clearly the biggest upside to all these trackable transactions,” said Debby Ruth, senior vice president of global media and entertainment at Magid. “Going cashless really provides the opportunity to get a better understanding of your customers and build relationships, especially if it makes sense with an app.”
Kicking off the program at one of its Seattle locations, Starbucks’ cashless pilot store won’t accept cash for purchases for an unspecified period of time—except for tips.
This tech is coming at the right time. Consumers may still break out the plastic when they want to pay, but swiping is going out of style. PwC predicts that by 2019, there will be over a billion global mobile proximity payment users and that 85 percent of transactions will be near field communication (NFC)-based.
With an app ready to take on the transactions, Starbucks is a good test case scenario for a transition to cashless: Mobile payments comprised 36 percent of the brand’s total US transactions in the third quarter of 2017. Making high-traffic locations cash-free would allow the Seattle-based company to increase this figure.
“It’s a pretty seamless experience from a user perspective,” Ruth said. “[Starbucks is] smart by using all the gaming techniques like setting goals and getting points. Those sorts of advantages really would increase purchase amounts and frequency of purchases.”
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