Always on the cutting edge, Starbucks just launched My Starbucks Barista, a voice-activated “barista” baked into the coffee chain’s existing iOS mobile app that uses artificial intelligence.
An extension of the brand’s My Starbucks service, select customers can now use Amazon’s Alexa to order “on command.” A reorder skill enables Alexa to repeat previous favorites.
Announced at Starbucks Investor Day, customers simply need to say “Alexa, order my Starbucks” from wherever they have an Alexa device.
“The Starbucks experience is built on the personal connection between our barista and customer, so everything we do in our digital ecosystem must reflect that sensibility,” said Gerri Martin-Flickinger, CTO Starbucks. “These initial releases are easy to use providing a direct benefit to customers within their daily routine and we are confident that this is the right next step in creating convenient moments to complement our more immersive formats.”
Currently in beta testing, My Starbucks Barista will be available to 1,000 select US customers initially, with a planned rollout through summer 2017 and an Android version to follow.
— Starbucks News (@Starbucksnews) January 30, 2017
“We expect to learn a lot from these experiences and to evolve them over time,” added Martin-Flickinger.
Similar to Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri, My Starbucks Barista can function as a voice-enabled assistant and a chatbot.
Starbucks already leads the pack in offering the largest mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world with 13 million Starbucks Rewards members in the US and more than 27 percent of transactions occurring via mobile device. Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay currently accounts for more than 7 percent of transactions in US company-operated stores.
Whether in mobile devices or smart home speakers, virtual assistants are becoming smarter, more useful, and increasingly popular, notes Macworld. “And Starbucks has always been on top of emerging trends by adopting mobile payments and ordering ahead in their apps. It’d be interesting to see if after this beta test, Starbucks might bring these capabilities as a third-party developer for Siri.”