Starbucks in Japan has come up with its own fresh innovation in the very busy contactless payments arena: a leather key fob stylishly shaped like a drop of coffee.
Beams, the Japanese fashion label with a presence in New York, London, Paris, and Milan, teamed with Starbucks to create a key ring with a leather fob in various colors for Starbucks-loving fashionistas that costs about $35 to purchase. But that’s where the handy, hand-assembled wearable (for the Starbucks-lover who chooses to put it on a necklace) tech begins the payback.
“Starbucks Touch The Drip” is the company’s first contactless payment card in key ring / key fob form. It incorporates a FeliCa chip like those in pre-bought Starbucks cards and top-up mobile cards on smartphones under technology unveiled in 2015. Customers just hold the fob above the card reader in the store—and they’re off to enjoy their java.
According to Starbucks, each keychain is crafted in the shape of a coffee drop, just like the ones you’d find in the making of a drip coffee. The color palette has also been carefully thought out, with green and orange representing the corporate colors of Starbucks and Beams respectively, while black symbolises coffee, white symbolises milk, and brown recalls the image of a freshly-made latte.
On sale from 20 January, these retail for 4,240 yen (US$37.40) each, which includes a base price of 3,000 yen plus a balance of 1,000 yen, both excluding tax. The items have been so popular they’ve already sold out online, but some are still available to purchase at the Beams store in Harajuku and seven (other) Starbucks outlets in and around the Omotesando and Harajuku areas of Tokyo.
Beams has been providing the street-culture obsessed youth of Tokyo with trendy threads since it launched in the city’s hip Harajuku district 40 years ago. Meticulously assembled by the country’s leading craftsmen, the leather finish warms to the touch, which makes it even more pleasant to pay with the “STARBUCKS TOUCH The Drip” system.
So does this represent the future of contactless payments for Starbucks? Keep watching this space.