Starbucks launched it's own short code today. (See Seattle Times story.)
It allows cell phone users to send their zip code to MYSBUX. (I'm not sure it's up and running yet. I just tried it and nothing happened.)
There are other SMS services offered by Google, Tellme, et. al. that provide the same service, but they aren't branded.
One could debate how useful the application is at the zip code level. If you live in a city, there could be
a number of Starbuck's in your zip code, and it won't necessarily give you the closest one.
I really like the idea though. I think it's a great time to be training your customers to use both a technology and an address (MYSBUX) to interact with your brand. Sure, it's only Starbucks listings today, but it could be a lot more in the future. The short code can support other key words going forward to promote special offers, music, new authors books, new product launches, etc. Advertisers have been posting their URL everywhere to drive traffic online – why not begin teaching them your short code?
May help them to avoid paying search providers for the same service in the future.
Moreover, it gives Starbucks a chance to learn about how consumers are using the technology and to focus on developing a good user experience. It's a great time to be learning.