Launching in a test market before the end of the year and planning a nationwide rollout soon after, Starbucks will soon allow consumers the ability to place an order at their favorite store using the mobile app. Assuming the consumer has a credit card number on file in the app and likely enrolled in the Starbucks Rewards program, payments will also be handled at the time of purchase. Interestingly, 14 percent of all orders at Starbucks are paid for using the mobile app already, basically when checking out at the register after placing an order in person.
Hypothetically, launching the ability to place an online order for pickup will reduce wait times, ideal for anyone that needs to get in and out of Starbucks quickly. It would also be useful for extremely large orders, possibly placed by office assistants or basically anyone that’s on a coffee run for a large group of people.
Of course, Starbucks will face the same problem that Taco Bell is attempting to address in the online ordering process, quality of product. If a cup of hot coffee sits too long at the counter, the customer may be displeased when picking up their order. The same goes for iced coffee and blended Frappuccinos which have the potential to melt away while waiting for pickup.
Taco Bell is attempting to fix this problem by using the GPS location of the customer’s mobile phone to trigger the creation of an order. Starbucks could try something similar, but would have to factor in how the customer is traveling to the store. Many Starbucks consumers in large cities simply walk to the nearest location while a suburban location will see more consumers driving to the store.
In addition to mobile order, Starbucks is also looking into the ability to use the Starbucks application as a digital wallet for purchases at other stores. The company is currently in talks with potential partners about this option and may extend the Starbucks Rewards loyalty program to purchases at other stores, assuming it’s financially beneficial to both the consumer, Starbucks and the third party company.