Starbuck’s Latest Mobile App Delivers Augmented Reality Valentine’s Messages

Posted on by Patty Odell

If you’ve stopped by Starbucks recently you couldn’t help but notice the Valentine’s Day-themed coffee cups, adorned with red hearts. But these cups do much more than provide a vessel to hold a steaming cup of Joe. In a short-term program from Starbucks, customers can download an app and send Valentine’s Day greetings through augmented reality technology that interacts with the cups.

Users tap the “Send a Virtual Valentine” button to send the message. Recipients will be able to scan a limited edition Valentine’s Day Starbucks cup that reveals the sender’s message of love. The app can be interacted with in a number of ways like blowing into the phone to create a pinwheel of hearts or tapping the screen to scatter hearts in the air.

The app, available through Feb. 16, is also equipped with a feature for users to send a Starbuck’s eGift card that can even be scheduled for delivery.

The app, available at on a dedicated webpage, is the latest version of the Starbucks Cup Magic App program initially developed last year for the holidays to allow its customers to share augmented reality experiences. Using that app, customers could find holiday characters as they leapt to life in merry holiday scenes by scanning Starbucks red holiday cups, holiday coffee bags or store signage.  Starbucks says the idea is to connect the digital world with the in-store experience.

Starbucks has been on the forefront of mobile marketing and innovation.

About a year ago, the company rolled out what it termed, “the nation's largest mobile payment program,” with the goal to offer its customers innovative mobile experiences. . A Starbucks Card stored within an app provides a convenient and fast way for customers to pay. Since the launch in January 2011, there have been more than 26 million mobile transactions. Last year, Starbucks expanded the program to more than 9,000 U.S. locations, introduced the Starbucks for Android app and rolled out the Starbucks Card eGift feature.

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Globally, the Starbucks Card program had $2.4 billion loaded onto cards during fiscal year 2011, and the cards are currently used for one in four transactions in the U.S. Since the launch, over 10 years ago, more than $10 billion has been loaded on Starbucks Cards.

“2011 was a year of great mobile exploration and expansion for Starbucks and an opportunity to give our customers a new way to connect with Starbucks through a variety of mobile experiences,” Adam Brotman, senior vice president and general manager Starbucks Digital Ventures said in December. “The customer response to our mobile apps has been phenomenal.”

Across the globe, Starbucks introduced the Canada app on Nov. 8 to offer mobile payment in 1,000 stores in Canada. Additionally, on Jan. 5 it said it was the first to offer UK customers the option to pay with select smartphone devices at more than 700 of its stores.

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