Remember that potentially game-changing, order-ahead app Starbucks has in the works? Well, it just got a whole lot more exciting: Sometime in the near future, the app will also include integration with a brand-spanking-new Starbucks delivery service. You heard me — Starbucks on demand, delivered right to your door, or office, or wherever else you happen to be. This can only mean one thing: Higher beings exist, and they like coffee just as much as we do.
According to AP via HuffPo, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced the delivery plans during a conference call on Thursday. The service will be available to those enrolled in the chain’s loyalty program; we won’t see it until the end of 2015, but when it does finally arrive, it’ll be rolled into the mobile app set to debut in Portland, OR next month. So far, the selling points for the app have been the ability to order coffee before you arrive at the store and pay your phone, both of which are great options — but the delivery service? Man. That really takes the whole thing to the next level. Now that I don’t live directly in the city anymore, going to Starbucks isn’t just as easy as walking down the block; usually I make my coffee home, but now I won’t have to worry about driving 15 minutes away when the craving for a specialty drink (hi there, Peppermint Mocha!) strikes.
We’ve been seeing a lot of moves geared both towards drumming up interest in the app and beefing up the enrollment of Starbucks’ loyalty program; with the delivery service being rolled into both of those things, then, it seems that this is the company’s plan of attack for boosting sales. Indeed, said Schultz about the company’s strategy for adapting to changing customer habits, “We are playing offense.” He also referred to it as “e-commerce on steroids,” which is kind of a delightfully hilarious image. In my head, I’m seeing a muscled Starbucks cup running around, yelling, “DO YOU EVEN LIFT, BRO?”
One of the interesting questions floating around, though, isn’t a consumer question — it’s a logistics one. Specifically, what will Starbucks’ delivery model look like from the POV of the person doing the delivery? Will it be like pizza delivery, with each brick and mortar location having a set of employees whose job it is to drive or bike around, depositing coffee into the waiting hands of eager caffeine hounds? Or will it follow the crowdsharing model, making it the Uber of coffee? Forbes has a few interesting things to say on the matter — namely, that yes, Starbucks could use the crowdsharing model, but questioning whether or not it should. Crowdsharing would probably be more cost-effective, but might also result in significantly more dissatisfied drivers. “Which it views as the lesser of two evils will be interesting to find out,” writes Erika Morphy.
In any event, though, prepare yourselves, because, in the words of House Stark, coffee is coming. Er — I mean winter. Winter is coming. But coffee is coming too, so at least there’s that, right?
Play us out, Coop:
You're damn right.