retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

It generally is conceded by most experts that Starbucks has been one of the most progressive companies around when it comes to mobile marketing, using its smart phone app to allow people to order and pay for coffee and food remotely and even accumulate stars that go toward free products and other rewards.

Now, Starbucks has gone one step farther. Engadget writes that the company "is continuing its efforts to stay on top of technological trends by adding new voice-ordering functions to its iOS app and Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. Called 'My Starbucks barista' on iOS, the service is being rolled out to select customers today as an extension of the company's Mobile Order and Pay feature ... At the same time, the company is launching a Starbucks Reorder Skill to the Alexa platform."

According to the story, "You'll be able to speak your order, and customize your food and drink to your personal preferences, according to Starbucks. On Alexa, users will be able to re-order a standard, pre-defined order by saying, 'Alexa, order my Starbucks.' They will be able to pick up their food and beverage at a pre-determined outlet."

Now, I have to be honest here. I'm traveling, so I don't have my Echo with me. But I did immediately check a recent update of the Starbucks app on my iPhone to see if I'm one of the lucky ones to be enabled. Dammit, I'm not.

But I can't wait.

This is totally cool. Not necessary, but it sounds like an awful lot of fun. (I just hope, since Starbucks said that one of the reasons they had a tough quarter recently was because there were so many people using the app that it created slowdowns and walkouts in the stores, that they add enough baristas to keep up with the work.)

As other companies try to figure out what their digital strategies should be, Starbucks is proving itself to be ahead of the game.

It is an Eye-Opener.
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