CashStar: Why Starbucks Sets the Tone for Mobile Commerce

starbucks-grouponAs mobile wallets multiply, one product keeps coming up as the example for others to follow: Starbucks’ mobile card app.

Gene Cornfield, chief marketing officer for digital gift card provider CashStar Inc., recently sat down with PaymentsSource to discuss how Starbucks, Apple and other companies are setting the tone for the next developments in mobile commerce. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

PaymentsSource: Why has Starbucks’ mobile payment system been so popular?

Cornfield: When walking up to a Starbucks, I turn on my phone, click Passbook and there’s my Starbucks card. There is a certain “cool” factor to that. You tap your phone and you are done. I see that my balance gets low, so why wouldn’t I let the balance expire vs. reloading more funds into my Starbucks card? It’s because I want to see those little stars in the Starbucks app going into my virtual cup and when I have 12 of those stars, I get a free coffee.