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Microsoft Outlook Users Can Set Up Meetings At Starbucks’ Locations

This is how messaging apps will drive consumers to offline marketers' places.

Microsoft Outlook’s email system may be as old-school as it gets compared to Snapchat, Kik, and Facebook Messenger, but its embed of a Starbucks extension in its dashboard may point the way for how the upstart communication apps connect local places to consumers.

In an official Microsoft video announcement posted to YouTube on Wednesday, the company tells Outlook users that they’ll be able to make their meetings “more personal and productive” by downloading the Starbucks for Outlook add-in.

schedule meetings at starbucksOnce the “Meet At Starbucks” extension is downloaded, the coffee chain’s icon appears in an Outlook email dashboard. When a sender clicks on the icon, a pop-up map appears in the message with pindrop locations for nearby Starbucks locations.

“You can now schedule meetings at your favorite Starbucks location right from Outlook and meet your customers, business partners or study group over coffee,”  Microsoft tells users.

On top of choosing locations, Outlook users can also place a detailed order via to a local Starbucks before you arrive, Engadget‘s Billy Steele reported.

While there will also likely be additional loyalty/rewards-based marketing uses for the Starbucks email extension, among the other use cases the add-in has is the ability to email a Starbucks gift card to someone.

Starbucks is viewed as a particularly successful pioneer when it comes to mobile payments and loyalty/rewards. And as Microsoft completes its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, the ability to connect professionals and Starbucks has a certain appeal, particularly if it helps promote Bing as part of the store locator and discovery process.

As the idea of loyalty and rewards programs become more fully evolved as customer relationship management strategies, Starbucks partnership with Microsoft could influence the way messaging apps include location-based marketing as a resource for brands and their users.

The operative word for most online-to-offline marketing is “personalization.” And messaging, whether the through old school email or image-based app platforms like Snapchat, is a singular form of one-to-one marketing.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.