Hats off to Starbucks once more. Starbucks released two iPhone Apps yesterday that are again best-in-class, innovative and compelling from a customer standpoint. The 'Starbucks' app allows users to find stores, create custom concoctions, access nutritional information and - most importantly - share the experience with friends (your favorite drinks, location, Starbucks meeting times, etc). The UI is terrific and consistent with the Starbucks brand and environment. The second app, Mobile Card, allows users to manage their Starbucks Card (balances, settings, etc). Most importantly, the application allows users to pay with their mobile device - currently being tested in sixteen locations across Seattle and Silicon Valley. That's interesting and powerful... and unique.
And combined with Starbucks' massive presence on Facebook and other networks, it is essentially now possible to find a nearby Starbucks, schedule a coffee via mobile, share it with friends through Facebook mobile, and pay with your iPhone... and you can bet that Starbucks is thinking about the next move: layering contextual, location-aware push notifications for coupons and events.
LBS: Find the nearest Starbucks (and share your location)
Create and share your favorite Starbucks drink (like an iced coffee with 8 shots of espresso). Then read about the nutritional contents.
Access and manage your card balance.
Make in-store payments with the 'swipe' of your iPhone
Access store information and make it a social outing
A video of the Mobile Payments trial: