- Starbucks' app is the most popular among several well-known restaurant loyalty rewards apps, a survey from The Manifest found. About half (48%) of app users surveyed regularly use the Starbucks loyalty app, compared to 34% who use the Domino's app and 30% who use the Pizza Hut app.
- Starbucks reportedly drives loyalty with its rewards program by requiring members to preload money onto the app to make mobile payments. (The company this year introduced a mobile checkout that doesn't require preloaded money, but that option doesn't earn reward points). Since the money can't be spent elsewhere, the loyalty program entices users to visit Starbucks more often, per The Manifest.
- Meanwhile, food delivery apps like Postmates and Uber Eats are popular among mobile users, with 20% saying they use a preferred app because of "better restaurant options." Manifest surveyed more than 500 smartphone owners about how they use food delivery and restaurant loyalty apps.
The Manifest's survey demonstrates the popularity of loyalty rewards apps, with 50% of smartphone owners regularly using them. Gamification, or the idea of turning a brand experience into a fun game, is one method of creating incentives for loyalty members who rack up points with every purchase, along with the stickiness that comes from requiring preloading money to the Starbucks app to earn rewards. The Starbucks app also clearly communicates how users can earn rewards or bonus items, adding an element of transparency that could entice customers to continue coming back.
Starbucks was an early mover in adopting mobile technology to help customers manage their loyalty programs and place orders for in-store pickup. The company has made mobile marketing a key part of its strategy to drive sales and encourage customers to register for its rewards program, including debuting voice ordering through Samsung's Bixby assistant in South Korea, testing a plan that requires customers to provide an email address in exchange for using free Wi-Fi at U.S. stores and offering mobile order and pay to customers who don't belong to its loyalty program.
Starbucks must continue to evolve its digital marketing to stay competitive with its main rival, Dunkin' Donuts, which is in the midst of a considerable transformation that includes technology-focused store concepts, revamped mobile offerings and even dropping the "Donuts" portion of the brand name to better align with more popular offerings like coffee. Dunkin' is upping the ante by increasing the visibility for its mobile and voice ordering capabilities, especially through its DD Perks loyalty program, which grew 33% to 8 million members in 2017.