Starbucks is growing at quite a rapid rate in India, having set up over 80 stores across the country in just three-and-a-half-years. In fact, the joint venture of Tata Global Beverages and Starbucks Coffee Company plans to open 100 stores in India by year-end. Apart from the stores themselves, Starbucks is also planning on soon launching its mobile payment and loyalty app in India. Also Read - Google, IBM, Apple, EY, and more don't care about a college degree and can hire you without one
Speaking to Business Standard, Tata Starbucks CEO Sumitro Ghosh touched upon the topic of launching its mobile payment platform in India. The payment option is essentially the Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay app. This app basically lets one pre-order food and drinks before they reach the store, and basically jump the queue once they reach. Also Read - Starbucks’ new voice assistant lets you order a cappuccino via iOS app, Amazon Alexa
The app detects the users’ location and suggests the closest store, shows menu options and also lets them order and pay through the app itself. By ordering via the app, users also earn stars, which can then be used for free drinks at stores later. Currently, Starbucks in India already has a ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ program, but it requires users to carry a card every time they visit the store. With the app, the points will be directly added to one’s account without needing to swipe the card. Also Read - Starbucks to offer wireless charging points throughout the US
“We plan to launch this year. Basically, the platform will allow you to make payments from your phone and allow you to participate in the My Starbucks Rewards program through your phone. It will let consumers know about menu options and store locations and instead of pulling out their Starbucks (loyalty) physical card, they can generate it on their mobile phones and pay,” Ghosh said.
“We first plan to get this going and then move to a mobile ordering system as exists in the US and some other markets. The mobile ordering platform is part of our long-term plan for India,” he added. The Mobile Order & Pay app was initially launched in the US, and has since then been introduced in various other countries as well. The app is available on both iOS and Android platforms.
We have recently seen an increasing number of services introduce mobile payment options in India. The likes of Paytm, MobiKwik have tied up with various merchants to offer cashless payment options for consumers. Cab services like Uber and Ola as well offer options to pay without cash.
Overall, India is working towards becoming a cashless economy, and one of the ways is with the launch of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) earlier this year. This system basically uses your mobile as a way to authenticate your identity, essentially turning the phone into a debit card that you can use anywhere.