Is there truly any greater gift than caffeine? Starting in April, you can bring your friends joy by texting Starbucks gift cards to them via iMessage. Your best friend had a terrible day at work? Send her a latte! Your coworker covered for you when you took a nap in your office? Text him a cappuccino! Your sister got lost her wallet? Send that lady a double shot! You’ll be like everyone’s favorite fairy godmother, only instead of giving people uncomfortable shoes, you’ll be giving them complicated coffee and tea-based beverages.
Teen Vogue reports that Starbucks gift cards via text are already available in China through WeChat. When the feature hits American shores next month, you’ll be able to send coffee to friends with a few taps on your smart phone. If someone sends you a gift card (lucky you), you’ll be able to use the credit directly from your messaging app or import it to your Starbucks app to use later.
This new feature seems to be part of a broader effort by Starbucks to technologize its business. Many Starbucks drive-thrus already have two-way video screens, and more than 21 percent of Starbucks orders are transmitted via the company’s mobile app. (In February 2016, that translated to about 7 million orders per month.) Last year, Starbucks’ Chief Digital Officer, Adam Brotman, suggested that, in the space of a few years, more than half of all Starbucks orders could travel via the app.
At the annual Starbucks shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday, the company announced that voice ordering on the Starbucks mobile app will be offered across the country by the end of 2017; Starbucks will also offer voice ordering via the Amazon Alexa and certain Ford cars. If that weren’t enough, Starbucks is also testing out a system in which customers who’ve made mobile orders will receive text messages when their orders are ready.
I can only assume that the ultimate goal of these efforts is to eventually create a technology that would allow customers to skip the café altogether and simply order, pay for, and receive Starbucks beverages via their smartphones. It could be sort of like a replicator in Star Trek. You would say, “Latte. One shot. Hot,” and your drink would simply swirl into existence. A girl can dream, right? But until Starbucks-Trek (Trekbucks? Startrucks? Help me out here) is a reality, sending gift cards through text is a pretty sweet way to give someone a pick-me-up.