Due to America’s current economic situation, many individuals are seeking inexpensive ways to entertain themselves. “Some turn to online gaming, which is free and easily accessible; some arrange for more movie/favorite show nights using hulu.com or renting a bunch of DVDs on Netflix or elsewhere” (*1). Consequently, it’s not hard to believe that many individuals are using mobile apps to entertain themselves. Not only are mobile apps cheap, but they also have the potential to be highly entertaining, as is the case with the new Starbucks app.
Late last year, Starbucks launched its first major augmented reality app, allowing customers to animate their coffee cups with their smartphones (*2)(see video above). The app is very interactive; tapping on one of the characters, for instance, will result in that particular character performing a somersault. These interactive features embedded in the app could potentially be very beneficial for Starbucks. “Applications are interactive experiences which engage fans, build brand awareness, reinforce brand loyalty, drive viral sharing, build fan base, provide insight into demographics and preference, and encourage community interaction” (*3). Thus, interactive apps can not only entertain its audiences, but it can also assist in increasing recognition of a brand and a consumer’s loyalty to a brand. Consequently, this app can (and should) have a positive impact on Starbucks.
Supplemented with Starbucks’ new augmented reality app is a contest for the consumers.
In the Starbucks app, there are five different characters that are involved in the animations: an ice skater, a squirrel, a boy and a dog sledding, and a fox. Consumers who activated all five of these characters were qualified to win prizes (*2). The contest, consequently, provided another opportunity for consumers to interact with the Starbucks brand. “Two- thirds (66%) of respondents to the Launchfire consumer survey rank ‘the chance to win an online contest’ (e.g., through their purchase giving them a promotional code allowing them to enter the contest) as most important as a motivation to purchase, way ahead of TV commercials (17%), radio commercials (1%), or print ads (7%)” (*4). Thus, this contest, as well as the augmented reality app, will most likely result in consumers purchasing more Starbucks products.
Overall, the new Starbucks augmented reality app, as well as the contest that accompanies it, should increase brand awareness, as well as brand loyalty, and motivate consumers to buy Starbucks merchandise. Consequently, the benefits to Starbucks will great in both short-term sales and long-term customer loyalty.
*1- Smirnova’s, Yulia V. (2009). Top 10 Emerging Consumer Behavior Trends in Recession. Memesponge. Retrieved from http://www.memesponge.com/2009/06/top-10-emerging-consumer-behavior-trends-in-recession/
*2- Wasserman, Todd. (2011). Starbucks Holiday Cups Come to Life With Augmented Reality App. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2011/11/08/starbucks-ar-app/
*3- Glass Ceiling. Interactive Apps. Glass Ceiling Media. Retrieved from http://www.glassceilingmedia.com/Work/InteractiveApps
*4- Launchfire. 6 Ways to Motivate Consumers Using Interactive Promotions. Nspire Now. Retrieved from http://www.nspirenow.com/solutions/6_Ways_To_Motivate_Consumers_Final.pdf