As with Google and Wildfire, the internet is buzzing with news about the recent partnership between Square and Starbucks. Though you wouldn’t know it from Starbucks’ paper receipt–focused homepage today, mobile payment startup Square will process all credit card payments for the coffee giant, a huge win for Square and an opening for Starbucks to continue going more mobile.
Although Starbucks already accepted mobile payments through an app, the Square partnership opens up payments to those without Starbucks-specific accounts, and would also allow for far more flexibility when it comes to accepting payments in multiple locations. Starbucks street carts, for example, could become more common, or Starbucks delivery could begin in earnest. While the big ‘buck may have its own reasons for expanding or not expanding into these areas, here are three easy ways we think event planners could take advantage of the partnership:
1. Targeted ads with offers
While it’s not clear yet how the partnership will work in terms of ads, there’s likely to someday be room enough for ads on both the Square app and on Starbucks’ app. With the rotating cast of executives in and out of Starbucks every day, an ad on a payment app might be a great way to catch attention. If it’s for an affordable conference around the corner and comes with the offer of a free coffee for registrants? So much the better.
2. Starbucks carts
Although free coffee should be a staple of most events, there are people who can’t live on conference center coffee and just must have their triple whip no fat upside down inside out purple freckled caramel monkey mochas every morning. Instead of making these folks search out a Starbucks on the way to the event, why not bring the ‘bucks to them? Big events can pay upfront for all drinks ordered from the carts, or smaller ones can offer fancy drinks as an option for attendees, supported by mobile payments.
3. Radical rewards
Like coffee and milk, Starbucks and strategic events are a perfect partnership for building a event-based rewards programs. Starbucks already has an established rewards program that offers great discounts and inspires fanatical devotion among many customers. Why doesn’t your event do something similar? Discounts on event registration for top Starbucks customers and frequent event attendees might be a great incentive that reaches the overcaffeinated target audience for big business events. Will taking event registrations via Square be next?
While the Square and Starbucks partnership may not yet directly affect every industry (other than the industry of coffee drinking), it clearly lays the foundation for accepting mobile payments more widely. It also has potential to spark new event marketing ideas and options for event planners and other marketers alike. Starbucks is an absolute marketing machine, and its every move can serve as inspiration for event planners. Drink up!