Coffee giant brings social gifting to China

(Author : Deena M. Amato-McCoy)
Driving customer engagement in China, the coffee brand will launch a new social gifting feature on WeChat, China’s leading mobile social messaging app, in early 2017.

The program was developed through a strategic partnership with Tencent Holdings Limited, one of the country’s leading providers of Internet value-added services. The collaboration positions Starbucks as the first retail brand to combine — and bring — a locally-relevant social gifting and digital payment experience to life on Tencent’s WeChat app in China, the company said.

The service, which taps into the app’s 846 million global monthly active user accounts, allows customers to gift Starbucks to friends or loved ones in real-time. As of Wednesday, Dec. 7, Starbucks customers also began using WeChat Pay to make purchases at close to 2,500 Starbucks stores across Mainland China.

“Starbucks and Tencent share similar values to enable greater human connections through our respective products and services,” said Belinda Wong, CEO, Starbucks China.

“This new strategic partnership will leverage the strengths of both Starbucks and WeChat to create a true online-to-offline social gifting platform that will deepen our engagement with our customers in a unique and powerful way,” she added. “Just as Starbucks cards are among the most gifted around the globe, we aspire to also become the most gifted brand digitally in China.”

The online social gifting platform is natural extension of Starbucks’ goal to extend its digital presence globally, and connect with customers through its digital channels, including the Starbucks Mobile App, the My Starbucks Rewards program and social media, the company said.

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