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Starbucks convenient in-app, order-ahead service goes live across the U.K.

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Shutterstock / Kritchanut
Are you fed up with going to your local Starbucks only to stand in line? Well fret no more because you can now place your order via your smartphone at any of the 7,400 locations across the U.S. and the U.K., using both iOS and Android.

Updated on 01-21-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of mobile order ahead feature going live throughout the U.K., and an update adding the feature to Android.

Where to try the order ahead feature?

The service was previously available in limited areas, but Starbucks executives said the feature was so popular that they accelerated the expansion. Initially only available in the U.S., Starbucks launched mobile ordering in London at the beginning of October, then expanded it to all non-franchise branches throughout the U.K. in January 2016.

Easy to use

To try it out, open the app and choose the Order option from the main menu, then scroll through the list of food and drink options, customize your choices, and pay accordingly. You’re given an estimate on how long it’ll take before the order is ready for you to collect.

The order ahead service was tested in a very limited number of stores, and expanded to about 4,000 in June 2015. Starbucks restricted mobile ordering to central London stores in the U.K. at first. These trials were only available to Apple devices, but with today’s full expansion, Starbucks has added the feature to the Android app as well. In the UK, the service is only on the iPhone at launch, but on January 18, it updated the UK version of the app as well.

Customers already had the ability to pay for orders via the mobile app on both iOS and Android. These mobile payments represent about 20 percent of all Starbucks’ U.S. transactions. The problem was that while customers didn’t have to fumble for their wallets, they still had to stand in line, which defeated the purpose. Now with the addition of ordering ahead, customers don’t have to wait in line or fumble for their wallet. That’s a win-win.

RBC Capital Markets estimates that about 15 percent of all sales during the trial in the Pacific Northwest were from mobile ordering. Even more interesting is the fact that mobile orders are typically 15 percent higher than nonmobile orders. Seeing how these customers are willing to spend more, it’s no surprise that Starbucks plans to add suggestive selling features to the app to entice more purchases.

What’s next for Starbucks? The company is already testing deliveries from faster express stores in New York City. Now that would be the ultimate form of convenience. Download the Starbucks mobile app from either the App Store or Google Play.

Previous updates:

Updated on 10-01-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of mobile ordering launch at Starbucks in the UK

Article first published on 09-22-2015

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