Are we set for a commerce revolution?

Global coffee giant Starbucks has moved swiftly to introduce a new digital marketing campaign after revealing disappointing quarterly sales back in October. BQ’s Bryce Wilcock looks at the future of the way businesses handle transactions with their customers.

In an attempt to further cement its position as the market leader, Starbucks has announced plans to begin delivering its coffee and also the option to place orders via its mobile app, rapidly cutting the size of the queues in its 20,891 coffeehouses across the globe. 

Starbucks isn’t the first global chain in the food and drink sector to begin using mobile ordering however. 

American fastfood chain Taco Bell hit the headlines in marketing and retail blogs and publications across the globe in October as it shut down its social media channels to drive more traffic to its mobile app allowing customers to place their orders from their smart phones and tablets.

In what was undoubtedly one of the biggest social media marketing gambles we’ve seen this year, the app was used immediately within 75% of its stores. 

Speaking about the campaign, Chris Brandt, CMO of Taco Bell, said: "We needed to do something right out of the gate that people would notice, and what better way to notice and drive people to the new way to Taco Bell than the blackout?  We will continue to be active in social media, we will continue to be disruptive, we're not walking away from all of those channels where we've built up a great discourse with our fans." 

Although these campaigns are being implemented by market leading firms in global industries, the technology may not be too far away from the grasp of your average start-up business. Could you afford to see one of your rival’s steam ahead, making their products more accessible than yours? We all saw what happened when ASOS took to the online marketplace and shot to being one of the market leaders in the fashion industry. 

Apple Iwatch

The latest product launched by Apple, ApplePay, looks to make this exact technology accessible to every firm across the world from your local grocer to your local cocktail bar. Apple Pay lets you use iOS devices to pay in hundreds of thousands of stores accepting contactless payments. You can also make purchases within participating apps on iPhone 6, iPad Air 2, and iPad mini 3. And there are more stores and apps to come. 

As many doubters questioned the security of such technology, Apple released the following statement to try and squash any qualms.

“Every time you hand over your credit or debit card to pay, your card number and identity are visible. With Apple Pay, instead of using your actual credit and debit card numbers when you add your card, a unique Device Account Number is assigned, encrypted, and securely stored in the Secure Element, a dedicated chip in iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch.  

“These numbers are never stored on Apple servers. And when you make a purchase, the Device Account Number, along with a transaction-specific dynamic security code, is used to process your payment. So your actual credit or debit card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants or transmitted with payment.” 

The announcement shows just how quick such innovative technologies are being rolled out, with Taco Bell having setup e-commerce payments just last month and Starbucks starting their campaign as soon as this month in the US. 

Could you be just around the corner from revolutionising the way your company operates?