NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's just easy to love some companies.
As an "objective writer," I know I'm not supposed to say that.
I'm also not supposed to dog stats guys, bean counters or MBAs.
In my work, past and present, I interact with these folks. They often wow me with their knowledge. And they inform my work.There's a place for careful study of the numbers; however, traders as well as investors ultimately lose if they live and die by the numbers. P/E's too high, I can't buy! or it's too low, let's go! can get you killed. Generally, I agree with Springsteen, Blind faith in your leaders, or in anything, will get you killed, but not in relation to Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz. With Schultz, as impressive as they are, you don't need numbers. I'll give you some anyway. The ones that matter -- from Thursday's SBUX earnings call and an email I requested and received from the company.
Loyalty, Starbucks Cards, MobileThere is $3 billion loaded onto Starbucks cards. That's 25% of U.S. store tender, according to Schultz. There are 10 million Starbucks rewards loyalty program members; 50% or 5 million are active members. There've been 100 million mobile payment transactions since Starbucks launched its mobile app in January 2011. Count 'em, 2 million mobile payment transactions per week. That's just through the Starbucks app; later this month, the company launches what it calls a "complementary" mobile payment service in conjunction with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey's Square. I took notes during the call. The following snippets from Schultz, all about mobile, resonated: We believe the rabid adoption of mobile gives us an opportunity to create a unique and much deeper relationship with our customers directly and in the moment ... We have the unprecedented ability to ... explore new revenue streams in music and digital publishing.. ... we continue to push the envelope ... by adding features and interactive activity in such areas as tipping, mobile ordering and personalization. Starbucks is embracing the seismic shifts in consumer behavior that are well under way. That's a humble understatement. There's nobody even close to Starbucks in mobile. I gave you some quantitative and some qualitative data. Now, I'll throw in some personal experience. Everybody's multi-platform these days; I've always been a multi-method stock market ethnographer. When I got my iPhone 5 from Apple (AAPL), the first thing I did was download the Starbucks app. Apple started the mobile craze. Starbucks picked up on the trend Steve Jobs set way early. It hit the ground running.
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