Wake up, get ready, make your way to work, order your coffee, pick up your coffee, start work and so on.
This routine is fairly simply and is what a lot of people do now. Nothing strange or out of the ordinary and easily accepted as part of life.
But let us rewind a bit and go into a bit more detail. Thanks to Starbucks and similar companies, life becomes so much easier and my commute so much smoother as I can order in advance and pick up my coffee having already purchased it via my mobile phone. Yay to apps and ensuring I do not waste time. If I did this every day, after a while surely the staff at Starbucks would start recognising my name and say “he is here again and he has ordered a Flat White again”. Every so often this may be followed by “…he must be hungry as he now wants a bacon roll”. Who doesn’t like bacon?!
So now Starbucks know I like a Flat White and occasionally, I will indulge and treat myself to another item. When you order an item you are telling them more than just what you like to eat. The additional information in that order is:
· Time of order
· Cost of order
· Location of pick up
· No. of calories in order
This is just your barista at that store that know this information. Starbucks as a company, they collate a whole lot more details. Signing up to the app you provide this with address and phone number and all of a sudden, Starbucks know where you have travelled from to get your daily coffee. Hmmmm...
In this world of consent for marketing messages, cookies and targeted advertising, data is key. I am feeding Starbucks and other similar loyalty and member programmes so much information. The worst thing about this, I am doing it willingly. I am the one with a TripAdvisor account telling people about my holidays. I am the one with Google Maps giving reviews about places I have gone. If my work ever saw the times I was not in the office, well…nothing would change but you get my point. And then, what about my perceived loyalty?
Do Starbucks head office tell my usual Starbucks if I go to a different branch? Is that classed as cheating? Do my usual Starbucks even care and what do my local Starbucks think of my antics?
So many questions I ask myself and should I care or should they care? I as the consumer am consuming both their mobile application and their goods. Starbucks as the retailer are providing me a service and are taking my money. Win win for both I would assume. But what if they wanted more…they know so much about me! They know my movements. Are they Big Brother and tracking my movements…I feel scared. Like Terminator and the machines rising, will Starbucks rise and claim us all based on the information they have. Will they oust my secrets as to how I changed from semi-skimmed milk to Soy Milk?
What is your objective Starbucks? What is the end goal? Surely you cannot just want to serve me coffee? The convenience and service you provide have made it way too easy for you to get a hold on me. Your ploy of offering me rewards and a free coffee every 15 purchases has kept me interested for now, but how much longer.
It has just dawned on me. I have been using the Starbucks app for over 2 years now. I even used it on my holiday to New York. Who am I kidding - Game over.
This is 21st century living. We are in a digital age where movement are tracked, preferences are known and relationships pieced together. All of this is done both with and without consent. What are you going to do about it? Me, I embrace it and accept it. Make it work in your favour and make sure you order your coffee in enough time to avoid that awkward wait.