Ecommerce may be all the rage everywhere else, but for brick-and-mortar mainstay Starbucks, selling online isn’t as good as selling in stores. On Sunday, the caffeine empire officially shuttered its online store, which means that you can no longer purchase your favorite Starbucks products online or by phone. The change took effect October 1, and spelled the end to your ability to make a pumpkin spice latte at home with Starbucks’ special syrup (yes, you could only buy the brand’s flavored syrups online, and no, Starbucks is not bringing the product to stores — for now).
While you’ll still be able to by coffee and Starbucks merchandise like mugs and coffee makers, you won’t be able to click a button and have it all delivered to your doorstep. The Seattle-based chain actually first made public its plans to kill its online operations in August, as a way of “simplifying” its sales operations.
Mind you, this doesn’t mean the end of all of Starbucks’ digital offerings. For example, you’ll still be able to buy coffee using the Starbucks app, though you’ll have to pick up that cup of coffee in a physical store. Indeed, the closing down of the online business comes amid an attempt to focus more on the company’s many physical locations. Maggie Jantzen, a company spokeswoman, told the New York Times, “We’re continuing to invest in amplifying Starbucks as a must-visit destination and are looking across our portfolio to make disciplined, thoughtful decisions.”
The decision could spell some inconvenience for Starbucks customers, however. Products that you bought online cannot be returned to physical stores, though you do still have 30 days from your date of purchase to get a refund from Store.Starbucks.com (though all merchandise and drinkware sales are final). Moreover, Starbucks stresses in an FAQ that it “cannot guarantee availability of any product in stores,” though it urges customers to check out their local grocery aisle.
So, if you were looking forward to celebrating fall with all your homemade Starbucks lattes, it looks like you’re going to have to settle for going into a store to create that experience.