While all of Seattle will get the opportunity to use the Starbucks app to order coffee or food for delivery by Postmates car or bike, only New Yorkers working in the Empire State Building will be able to partake in the “green apron deliver” pilot.
“In dense, urban environments like office buildings, we believe we’ve cracked the code on another way to bring Starbucks to our customers, and that’s to have baristas on hand to provide an exclusive service within an office building – this will be great in places like New York City,” said Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ chief digital officer, on Wednesday.
At the Empire State Building, baristas from the ground floor store will deliver beverages and food to customers who work in the building.
There is a lot that Starbucks has to work through before it launches the two pilots. For example: How do you keep the coffee from getting cold before reaching its destination? What about spills? Will there be a time guarantee?
In his presentation, Brotman said more details about the two delivery methods would be available closer to launch date.
“The truth is we’re not sure exactly how it will play out,” he told Re/code the day before the announcement. “Is one the national approach and one for dense urban environments only? We are truly in learning mode right now but we’re excited about them both.”
Bastian Lehmann, Postmates CEO, was more forthcoming in his interview with Re/code.
“We’re actually working with Starbucks on trying to figure out what the best delivery containers are. Is there a packaging that we can develop together? Is there a cup that’s a better to-go cup?” he said.
Starbucks efforts to make buying coffee easier and less time-consuming come at the time when it is competing with the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme to become America’s go to coffee-shop.
Both of the pilot programs require customers to order through the Starbucks app and to pay with their loyalty Starbucks card. For many companies, loyalty cards translate into customers who keep coming back and spend money. Starbucks loyalty program membership has more than doubled in the last three years reaching over 10 million active members, according to Sharon Rothstein, company’s global chief marketing officer. Loyalty program members at Starbucks spend three times what non-members do.
Starbucks first attempt to streamline buying coffee came in December when they introduced an order and pay pilot in Portland, Oregon. App users didn’t have to wait to get to the store to order. Instead, they could enter their order into the app and pay with their loyalty card. By the time they got to the store, the thinking goes, their order should’ve been ready to go. No lines, no fuss.
Just three months later, the program is rolling out in 600 stores.
This article was written by Jana Kasperkevic in New York, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 18th March 2015 22.45 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010