Starbucks to test mobile ordering

Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is once again exhibiting leadership in mobile as the coffee chain readies to test an app that will allow customers to order ahead. The app will allow customers in one as yet undisclosed test market to start ordering ahead via the Starbucks app later this year, according to the company's Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman.

"We will do this and we will get it right," Brotman told Re/code at Fortune magazine's technology conference in Aspen, Colorado.

But the program is only a test in that Starbucks simply wants to iron out the kinks before rolling out the feature nationwide. Customers have been requesting such a feature for years he said, but only recently did the chain feel the technology was in place to deliver.

More than 14 percent of all Starbucks purchases in the United States are paid through the company's app and as of last summer, more than 2.1 million mobile payments were being made at Starbucks locations, each week. Therefore, the ability to order through mobile will be an extension of the company's existing app capabilities.

Current purchases made at Starbucks with credit or debit cards run through Square's payment platforms, but the transactions using the Starbucks app do not.

Brotman believes the new app will make current customers more loyal by giving them another alternative to waiting in long lines during busy hours. Of course there's the remaining risk of a hot beverage sitting out too long and getting cold. Therefore, the company is testing different beverages to gauge how long it takes for them to cool to keep services satisfactory.

"We're trying to get things down to a science," said Brotman, who is working with a team of employees from different store divisions to perfect the process.

"It's the most cross-functional team I've ever worked on and the most important project I've ever worked on," Brotman said.

Although no partnerships were named, Brotman told Re/code that talks of a digital wallet for Starbucks customers is in the works. There are also plans to extend the wallet option to let shoppers make payments at additional outlets beyond Starbucks.

*An earlier versions of this story appeared in FierceMobileRetail's sister publication FierceRetail.

For more:
-See this Re/code article

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