Let the lazy rejoice.
Giving one of the world’s most uninspired gifts is about to take even less effort! Though certainly practical, Starbucks gift cards have become the go-to method for tacitly signaling “I didn’t quite put enough thought into this birthday gift/Secret Santa exchange/cashless bribe.” But coming next month, aloof gift givers won’t even have to remember “Shit! I forgot Mason’s graduation!” while in line at Target to get a Starbucks gift card. The coffee giant has revealed that, come April, iPhone users will be able to buy and send gift cards via Apple’s messaging app.
All kidding aside, taking the “card” out of Starbucks gift cards could be a boon for both gift givers and Starbucks alike. In early 2016, the world’s largest coffee chain announced that one out of every six American adults got a Starbucks gift card during the previous holiday season alone, and a report last year suggested that, around the same time, Starbucks customers had about $1.2 billion loaded up into gift cards and the company’s mobile app. Clearly gift cards and mobile apps are services customers want to use, so no wonder the ‘Bucks is planning to put even more power into people’s fingertips and allow them to gift on even bigger whims.
The result is that, in theory, sending a Starbucks gift card via an iPhone should be as simple as shooting over a hot beverage emoji. The sender pays for the gift via Apple Pay; the receiver can either use it from iMessage directly or import it into their Starbucks app. A similar option has already been added to China’s WeChat app, and the company boasted that in its first six weeks, over 1.2 million tractions took place over the platform. The only remaining question becomes why are your friends who have Android phones making your life so damn difficult?
However, the real winners in all of this are, of course, people who will continue to give actual printed Starbucks gift cards: Their once thoughtless gifts have just gotten a bit more thought-ful. “Why yes. I did go to an actual Starbucks – which I definitely was not going to go to anyway to get my morning latte – and purchased you a physical gift card. And no, I don’t think using the word ‘hero’ is overzealous.”