Coffee lovers could get their daily java jolts delivered in the near future, thanks in part to a new effort that Starbucks announced today. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that the company plans to begin delivering food and beverages in select cities in the second half of next year, part of a larger effort by the Seattle coffee company to conquer the mobile payments arena.
“Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot or iced to your desk daily,” Schultz said in a conference call with analysts. “That’s our version of e-commerce on steroids.”
The company isn’t offering many details about delivery, just yet.
But Schultz is dead serious about Starbucks’ role in trying to become the dominant player in mobile commerce — saying that the company is “uniquely positioned” to changes occurring in consumer behavior.
“We are playing offense here. We understand that there is a macro issue, and a consumer shift. We are playing offense,” Schultz said. “And we began that last year right after holiday, and come this holiday and calendar (2015) we are going to be in a position to win. End of story.”
Earlier this month, Starbucks announced that it will begin testing its new mobile pre-ordering service in Portland, allowing customers to order their favorite coffee drinks before arriving at a store. Delivery of those beverages to a customer at a nearby office would be a natural extension, and a direction where Starbucks is clearly headed.
A number of online food delivery companies have sprung up in recent months, including services such as Postmates, Grubhub and Caviar. However, none have Starbucks’ brick-and-mortar footprint, or its loyalty card program.
The move to mobile ordering and delivery is part of what Schultz dubbed “a massive cultural shift in consumer behavior,” one in which he believes the coffee company is positioned to dominate. In fact, Schultz said they are taking a page out of the company’s successful drive-thru business — trying to find the “analog” for urban stores in terms of how people order drinks and get them delivered.
“These investments are going to pay off big time, and we already know that mobile-order-and-pay is going to drive traffic and comp growth,” he said.
Schultz also said that mobile-order-and-pay — which he dubbed a “totally and unique technology” that is the single most important innovation that Starbucks will introduce this year — is different from other players in the market. The service will debut in Portland in December, and then roll out to other markets in 2015.
The company did not disclose in which cities coffee and food delivery will be made available.