3 Things Sports Teams Can Learn from Starbucks

Starbucks has become one of the most beloved brands in the world.  From college students to die-hard coffee drinkers to tech geeks, everyone loves a cup of Starbucks coffee in the morning.  The company has created this level of loyalty and devotion through myriad ways, but sports teams can learn a lot from one of their most impressive tactics: their mobile strategy.  Here are three things teams can learn from the coffee giants:

1). Customers are buying more and more on mobile.

Starbucks has seen a huge boost in revenue recently, and much of this has been attributed to mobile.  The company has projected 16 to 18 percent in revenue growth for 2015 with the Starbucks mobile-phone app accounting for 19-percent of their total U.S. revenue in the first quarter, up 3-percent from before.  Starbucks is demonstrating that mobile customers buy more and these sales are a major catalyst for revenue growth.

Teams should be taking notice of what Starbucks has done with their mobile consumers and begin to realize that mobile consumers (or fans, in a team’s case) tend to spend more money.  Allowing fans to buy merchandise and tickets directly on an app creates convenience for the fans and ultimately creates more sales for the teams.  Teams should be making an effort to reach fans through that mobile device that never leaves their side, and use that engagement to drive more revenue.

2). Mobile ordering is the way of the future…right now.

Starbucks has been testing out their mobile ordering system at their flagship Portland store.  The system was so successful that Starbucks just recently announced that they will be rolling out their mobile ordering system to 3,400 stores around the country to allow customers to easily order and pay for their drinks, increasing sales and reducing lines and wait times.  Mobile ordering has been on the rise in recent years, and with a major player like Starbucks entering the space, this could mark a significant shift from mobile ordering being a convenient novelty feature to  becoming the norm for many brands.

Sports teams should be looking into similar mobile ordering solutions to utilize for concessions at their arenas during games.  Either by activating in-seat ordering and delivery through their apps or creating express-lanes to pick up concessions ordered via an app, teams can drive incremental concessions sales.  Furthermore, it provides a smoother experience for fans by reducing wait times for food, having less crowded hallways in the arena, and ultimately making sure fans don’t miss any of the game action.

3). Loyalty programs work.

Starbucks has been at the forefront of loyalty programs since the days of using swipe cards to gain points.  Their MyStarbucks Rewards program has been a wild success and has served as the template for many loyalty programs since.  The program allows consumers to gain various discounts and freebies as they purchase more from the store.  Just in December 2014 alone, the program saw an increase of 900,000 members to the program, bringing its total user count to over 9 million.  The program has been cited as being key to driving the deep-set loyalty consumers have for Starbucks and has been attributed to helping drive significant revenue for the company.

Loyalty programs work if they are implemented correctly and sports teams should especially be utilizing loyalty technology in their mobile apps.  A good loyalty program makes fans more active and more engaged, which can help drive increased value for sponsorship and advertising units in the app.  Furthermore, a loyal fan is worth much more than a non-loyal one.  Loyalty programs can help create a deep relationship between a fan and team, ultimately increasing ticket and merchandise sales, and making those fans much more valuable to the team.  Overall, a loyalty program is a smart, efficient way to engage fans and increase revenue.

Many consumers start every day with their favorite Starbucks drink, just like fans wake up every day thinking about their favorite sports teams. By learning from some of Starbucks success in the mobile space, sports teams can drive revenue from their own crazed, passionate, and loyal fans.

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