Starbucks to lure shoppers with wireless charging

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is already the go-to spot for many people to get that extra jolt of energy during the day. Now it's aiming to be the place they can easily get some extra juice for their phones as well.

The popular chain announced plans on Thursday to start putting Duracell Powermats in its stores, cutting out pesky cords and letting customers simply set their phone on one of the mats to recharge while they eat and drink.

"From WiFi and the in-store Starbucks Digital Network to mobile payment and digital music downloads, we have always tried to anticipate our customers' needs early in the adoption curve and provide a world-class solution," Adam Brotman, Starbucks' chief digital officer, said in a statement.

Not only do the charging stations put Starbucks ahead of the tech curve, but they also give customers another excuse to come into the store, or stay a little longer than they might otherwise. Brotman estimates that most customers will use the chargers for about 15 minutes, but some could use them for as long as two hours. That's plenty of time for an extra cup of coffee or that tempting brownie.

The mats will require phones capable of wireless charging, or at least attachments that allow it, which most phones don't currently have. Then again, most devices didn't have WiFi capabilities when Starbucks made that standard in 2001, and the chain has proven itself as one of the only retailers to use mobile payments with any success. Starbucks stores may even sell the necessary tech themselves until it becomes prevalent. 

The new powermats are rolling out in San Francisco Bay Area stores first, but over the next three years the plan is to deploy more than 100,000 table chargers to the retailer's 7,500 U.S. stores, coming to about a dozen at each location.

For more:
-See this Starbucks press release
-See this USA Today story

Related stories:
Starbucks tests dinner market
Starbucks' Secret Menu beckons a younger customer base
Starbucks to add 1,500 more stores, expand menu options
Starbucks expanding La Boulange Bakery
Starbucks' sales hit record-high but growth slows

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