Starbucks is a progressive company when it comes to high-tech and started their app back in 2011, and then added mobile ordering in 2014 – it has become so popular that Starbucks is now building a mobile-order and pay only store at their Seattle headquarters. Starbucks has two cafés at their headquarters that caters to over 5,000 employees; in fact, the one café is an employee-only Starbucks that is one of their top three stores for mobile ordering. During peak hours in the morning, during breaks, at lunchtime, and when employees are on their way home, the store becomes bottlenecked with mobile orders. Mobile orders from within the building will be routed to the new mobile-only store where customers will have access to a large window to see their mobile drink orders being prepared. Starbucks is hoping that having dedicated mobile-only stores will cut-down on wait times for the drive-up customers and with no in-store customers to get upset because they have to wait while the barista is bogged down making mobile orders. If this is successful, we can expect Starbucks to start building order-only stores across the country.
The Starbucks app is easy to use and allows customers to look through most of their food and drink selections, although special drinks are not always listed on the app. You can use it just to pay at the window and your app will keep track of your ‘stars’ that you receive for each purchase. When you gather up 125 stars, the customer gets a free beverage of food item. Starbucks will send out alerts each day for specials they are running such as if you buy five drinks within a certain time period, you might earn an extra 75 stars. You normally collect two stars for every dollar spent, so for a Venti sized latte that averages about $5.00, you would get 10 stars. You can also reload your app, which is tied into one or more Starbucks card, by just pressing ‘reload’ and your saved debit and/or credit cards popped up for you to use for the reload, although there is a $25 minimum. Your current balance pops up when you open the app, so you can reload while you are in line if the need arises.
This type of Mobile ordering and paying is reshaping the way Starbucks does business, but they also realize these types of sales are their future. The company’s biggest growth area is in China and they believe the mobile app will grow faster there than it did in the US. Starbucks is now able to make recommendations to customers based on their buying habits. The thought of paying $5.00 for a cup of coffee would make most consumers balk a few years ago, now it seems Starbucks can’t make them fast enough.