Five million mobile transactions a week! Holy Cow that is a lot of mocha! That quote was made by Schultz in the September 15th, 2013 edition of USA Today. It in part was his answer to the question, what is driving your business today? After listing various statistics he said, “About three years ago, we started to invest heavily in social and digital media, loyalty cards and mobile. After three years, we are the leading consumer brand on Facebook, Twitter. We are now processing over 5 million mobile transactions a week in our stores.”
Then read the follow up question…
Q: Is that because of your partnership with mobile processing company Square?
A: Some of it is based on Square. But the primary aspect of it is a Starbucks-developed internal app that we’ve created. It has given us the ability to build an emotional connection and relevancy with customers outside our stores. From an economic standpoint, the return on that level of emotional engagement has reduced our cost of customer acquisition in terms of lowering the cost of advertising because of the competency of social and digital media, the Starbucks card, the loyalty program and mobile payment.
Square if you don’t know what this is allows merchant to swipe credit cards from smartphones and tablets. I have a picture of one here. Starbucks partnered with Square to set up mobile payments. If you go into a Starbucks you will see that few if anyone every uses cash to pay for their drinks. You are seeing Square and other tools like this being used in increasing numbers. Just the other day I picked up an order of beef from a local merchant at our farmers market and she used her iPhone and a Square device to swipe my debit card! Watch out this will be the future of the offering plate.
While I was amazed at Schultz’s 5 million mobile transaction statement I was even more intrigued by his comment about their app driving these transactions. Again he said of their app, “It has given us the ability to build an emotional connection and relevancy with customers outside our stores.”
Two Lessons for the Church
First, we MUST provide online giving to our members and attendees. America has already moved towards doing commerce this way. All the leading retailers have set up mobile payment capability. However the Church is lagging behind. A 2011 survey of churches done by LifeWay Research found that only 11% of all U.S. churches offered online giving. That number is probably higher now but we still lag far behind where we need to be.
Few people carry a checkbook with them when they attend church and they have little cash upon their person. When you pass the plate many of those in attendance have little or no ability to give. If they have not prepared in advance to give they probably will not give. We are demanding that our members adjust their lifestyles to meet our criteria rather than adjusting our means of collection to meet their lifestyle. Is it any wonder giving is in decline?
Secondly, we MUST work towards connecting with our members and potential attendees. If Starbucks finds it important to have an App why is it that churches don’t? We live in a world in which there will be more mobile devices than people by 2017! Apps allow you to more easily connect with your members and to engage them in what you are doing. If it is working for Starbucks why would it not work for you?
We have more locations than Starbucks! At the end of 2012 Starbucks had 10,924 stores in the U.S. alone. There are over 300K Protestant churches in the U.S. What if we had 5 million mobile transactions a week? We might see the decline in giving reversed!
Mark Brooks- The Stewardship Coach
Founder and President, The Charis Group and Charis Giving Solutions