Researching the User Experience II at Kent State allowed me to pick any project I wanted, and follow it from start to finish. I decided to do a type of research I am not usually exposed to while working, and chose to focus on one of the largest food and beverage companies to do it.
Starbucks is a leader in the food and beverage industry, due in large part to My Starbucks Rewards (MSR) and the related mobile application/payment platform. In the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, “$1.9 billion [was] loaded on Starbucks Cards in the U.S. and Canada [and] 1 in 6 American adults received a Starbucks Card over [the] Holiday [season].” In addition to that, “Membership in the company’s My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program increased 23%; the company now has more than 11 million active members in the U.S.” (from Starbucks Investor Relations, FY2016 Q1 Earnings Release). A high level of customer loyalty not only boosts sales, but also acts as a promotional vehicle to bring prospects into stores. As of July 2015, mobile payments through the Starbucks app account for 20% of in store sales, or approximately 9 million transactions a week. Providing the best mobile experience is imperative to retaining our current customer base as they adopt this platform more, as well as to attracting new customers to the reward/app ecosystem. This, along with the rest of the omni-channel experience at Starbucks, can and should be optimized for efficiency, usability, and customer delight.