If you want your morning java and croissant with as little hanging around and human interaction as possible, Starbucks (SBUX) has you covered.
The company has launched a new app.
Specifically, it’s trialing an online-ordering app at 150 stores in Portland, Oregon that will allow customers to place orders before they enter the store.
But don’t think you can order your week’s worth of pumpkin lattes and schedule pickup for 8:30 each morning. Each order is fulfilled separately and on the spot. The customer’s name is printed on a label, and the app displays the time for the order to be fulfilled and the pickup time, within a few minutes. Payment is taken within the app.
Hail the revolution!
There isn’t actually that much new here.
The only surprise is that it’s taken a ubiquitous company like Starbucks so long to offer an app like this. After all, many places offer digital ordering and pickup these days. And the firm’s existing mobile payment app in stores has steadily built momentum since it launched in 2009. There are 12 million registered users in the United States and Canada, who make six million mobile transactions per week and account for 14% of Starbucks’ sales.
The wait is also surprising, given the potential big benefit that the new app promises for the company – more money…
Coming Soon: Shorter Lines… Faster Service… More Sales
With its shares down around 3.2% this year, compared to a 6.2% gain for the S&P 500, Starbucks believes this technology will “increase our sales and through-put in our stores,” Chief Digital Officer, Adam Brotman, tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
There’s a precedent for such a sales boost, too.
Data shows that consumers actually end up spending more when they order online, versus ordering over the phone, where the order could get messed up. They also have the luxury of avoiding talking to a real person! The popularity of online-ordering companies like GrubHub (GRUB) is testament to this trend.
Not to mention the fact that placing orders online leaves a digital trace – data that companies like Starbucks can use to their advantage in terms of marketing and sending special offers. Indeed, the app will display a customer’s recent purchases for easy reordering.
As Starbucks tries to cut down on waiting in line to speed up service – and thus, increase sales – Starbucks spokesperson, Linda Mills, proudly tells Bloomberg BusinessWeek that the app is the “fastest and easiest way to order and pay at Starbucks.”
Except she doesn’t offer any details about just how fast and easy it will be, compared to the conventional point-of-sale method!
In any event, Starbucks-goers that don’t live in Portland won’t be able to experience the app for themselves until nearer the end of the year and into 2015 when the app is rolled out across the country.
Guess I’ll carry on waiting in line until then.