Starbucks is now offering free iPhone app downloads to customers who purchase a cup of coffee or other product at coffee shop locations.
Starbucks has often been a vanguard when it comes to digital media promotions for its brand and products. It was already an Apple business partner, too; it previously offered free iTunes music downloads to customers.
The first app offered is Shazam Encore, which identifies songs by listening for a few seconds, then offers options for purchasing digital downloads of the songs from various online store partners. The app normally costs $5.99 to download. Starbucks consumers receive a card with a digital download code that they can type into their iPhones to get it for free instead.
These promo codes are nothing new; app-makers use them for gifts, review copies for journalists, and other functions, but using them as a promotion at a storefront is a new phenomenon as far as we know. It’s a technique worth watching and trying; mobile apps are a part of your customers’ every day lives, so offering free ones is a strong incentive to show up or even to check in on Foursquare or Gowalla.
Samuel Axon: Samuel is the Editorial Director supervising Sprout Social's editorial and web content projects. He has years of experience in blogging and social media, having previously worked as an editor at social media and technology news sites Mashable and Engadget. He also helped build the white label web content management system Crowd Fusion from the ground up.