News Feature | November 6, 2014

Starbucks Explores Delivery Options For Mobile App Orders

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer

Starbucks Mobile Delivery

Coffee retailer Starbucks has already invested in technology to help consumers get their drinks and food efficiently. The company recently announced they're integrating a delivery feature into their existing mobile app, which is currently available for iPhone and Android devices. The option will be available for consumers in 2015. While information on the exact launch date of the delivery feature is unknown at this time, Starbucks has yet to announce what markets will be able to enjoy the service.

“Imagine the ability to create a standing order at Starbucks, delivered hot or iced to your desk daily,” CEO Howard Schultz says.

The present version of the Starbucks allows consumers to place an order and pay for it upon pickup. The app also allows users to manage their Starbucks loyalty card, leave tips, and perform other actions to enhance their Starbucks experience. The news was shared when Starbucks revealed its latest earnings for the quarter, where the retailer shared a 10% profit growth. Currently about seven million orders are placed per week on Starbucks app, and the company has made more than $1 million from customers’ orders made on the mobile app.

The new Starbucks delivery option will likely provide competition for some areas that use GrubHub and Seamless websites that allow users to order coffee from local establishments. Unlike these two websites, Starbucks' home delivery will originate only from the mobile app.

“This our version of e-commerce on steroids,” says Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Starbucks delivery will set it apart from its competitors, but may come with several hurdles. Experts have predicted it may be best for Starbucks to deliver only to office locations, as the average home order will likely be under $10 or $15; some retail analysts have stated the minimum order should be $25 for a delivery to make it worth the time and money for Starbucks.

According to Pew Internet Research Center, nearly 60% of Americans have a smartphone, and a growing sector of retailers is offering quick delivery to meet the demands of consumers. Starbucks is no different offering options similar to those of Macy's or Amazon, only the coffee retailer faces extra obstacles keeping its merchandise fresh for the customer.

As the delivery option will be added to the existing app, Starbucks won't need to start from scratch with new innovations. Instead they will need to invest in the time and expertise needed to make sure orders are received easily and quickly by workers. Order routes will probably necessitate GPS and digital notifications to ensure the local store received the order.  For the customer, if assured they can receive their drink and food in a prompt manner while it's hot, it's a time and technology investment worth making.