On Monday, Starbucks announced that it had officially launched voice ordering capabilities within the company's mobile iOS app and Amazon's Alexa. The features build on the success Starbucks has had in getting more customers to place orders on their phones. Mobile order and pay represented 7 percent of transactions at U.S. company operated stores in the latest quarter, up sharply from 3 percent in the prior year. Voice ordering will allow customers to order and pay for food and drinks at a Starbucks store simply by using their voice. The messaging interface would allow a user to speak or text just as if they were speaking to a human barista.
Total Retail's Take: Starbucks has been widely celebrated for its industry-leading mobile app, particularly getting users to pay for in-store purchases via the app, and now it's looking to add another innovative element to the app that figures to transform the in-store experience. Voice ordering will be made available to 1,000 customers nationwide via a beta test, with plans for a broader roll out throughout the summer. An Android version will be added later in 2017. Starbucks has fully embraced the notion of connecting online and offline experiences, with its mobile app being the bridge between the two, and its tech-savvy customer base have responded by downloading and using the app in record numbers. In fact, the overwhelming popularity of the app among consumers is beginning to become a bit of a problem for Starbucks. I guess that's a good problem to have.