Some tech-futurists predict that cash and credit cards will become as rare as $2 bills once U.S. consumers start paying with their smartphones. Coffee super-chain Starbucks has tried to establish itself as a leader in mobile ordering, and now the company is rolling out its mobile payment platform in Utah stores. The company has more than a dozen storefronts in Salt Lake City alone.
Starbucks launched the pilot program of its “Mobile Order and Pay” system in December, but as of June 16 Starbucks says customers in more than 4,000 locations can pay using their iPhones. Starbucks says the platform will include an update for Android phones and expand to every location by the end of the year.
The June expansion includes locations in Utah and other southern and central U.S. states.
Studies show that four out of five U.S. consumers now do some shopping with their smartphones, while 37% of internet users are more likely to patronize a mobile-optimized site. That’s why mobile advertising is expected to more than triple in size by 2016. Starbucks wants to be a major player in this space, and now allows customers to pre-order food and drinks online or with mobile devices.
Because of the coffee chain’s vast presence around the globe, experts say that more companies will inevitably adopt mobile ordering and payment systems as well.
This isn’t the first time Starbucks has attempted to integrated mobile shopping into its physical storefronts, however. The company once purchased mobile payment app Square, but withdrew the service after a botched, unpopular debut. Since then, the company has invested heavily in its in-house mobile technology.
As of October 2014, at least 64% of U.S. consumers used smartphones, and that number is even higher among millennials. If more corporations adopt mobile-payment apps and platforms, experts say the service could soon become as ubiquitous as Starbucks itself.