Starbucks has integrated its app with technology from corporate spending management company Concur, demonstrating the vast new uses of the coffee chain's mobile commerce offering.
Concur has added an e-receipt feature specifically for spending at Starbucks, which is the most commonly expensed restaurant and the top location for out-of-office business meetings, according to transaction data from more than 27 million Concur users. Purchases will appear on both the Starbucks and Concur app almost simultaneously.
Starbucks has long viewed the corporate audience as a vital audience for its mobile app. Starbucks created a BlackBerry app, intended for office workers, before it ported its app to the more popular Android ecosystem. Though Starbucks dropped support for its BlackBerry app in 2012, it continued to monitor the habits of its business patrons to find new uses for the Starbucks payment app.
"Starbucks is a huge destination for corporate spenders, [who] love rewards points and therefore they love the Starbucks app," said Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst and consultant at Double Diamond Payments Research. "It's also a great demonstration of the power of mobile as it can combine loyalty, expense reporting and many other things into a single product."
Starbucks is also a frequent meeting place for business travelers, so much so that companies that offer meeting venues market themselves as alternatives to Starbucks. Concur estimates its users hold more than 10,000 meetings per month at Starbucks.
Concur and Starbucks did not return requests for comment by deadline.
"Mobile payments account for 16% of all Starbucks transactions [in the U.S.], and it is clearly the most popular mobile payment app in the market at this point," said Thad Peterson, a senior analyst at Aite Group. "This looks like a win for both sides, Starbucks increases the utility of its mobile app and Concur makes expense reporting easier for one of its largest spend categories."
Starbucks closely ties its gift card, mobile and rewards programs. Starbucks has also partnered with grocery stores on loyalty programs for Starbucks products, and has considered sharing its technology with other retailers.
More recently, Starbucks added Apple Pay as a funding mechanism for its app. And since Starbucks is often considered an example for other mobile commerce players, it's likely other companies will pair mobile payments with expense reporting and other business tasks that can be performed from a smartphone.