Starbucks new mobile ordering service, which allows customers to skip the line by ordering in advance from their phone, is launching nationwide today to bring on board some of the Seattle coffee giant’s most crowded stores.
Nine months after rolling out Mobile Order & Pay in one market, Starbucks says it is now live across the entire U.S., covering more than 7,400 stores. Today’s launch alone covers 3,400 stores in some of its top markets, including San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Boston.
As part of today’s launch, Starbucks is also pushing out an update to its Android users that will allow them to be able to order using their phone for the first time. Between the two roll outs, thousands of new customers will be able to save time by ordering a cup of coffee and a pastry from their phone, and in theory, provide a huge jolt to a service, which is already being considered a breakaway success.
The nationwide roll out comes three months ahead of schedule, and was fueled by its success in the early test markets, according to Starbucks digital chief Adam Brotman.
“It’s been going better than we thought in terms of the results, both from the customer standpoint and and partner execution,” he said. “Customers are loving it and understanding it, partners are executing well in terms of making orders for customers, so the actual process of rolling out has gone better than we thought.”
At a Goldman Sachs conference in New York earlier this month, Starbucks CFO Scott Maw told the crowd that the roll out was ahead of schedule, but the specific date was not disclosed. He was particularly bullish in his comments, adding “We have a winner and it’s running ahead of our expectations.”
Although he declined to provide specifics, Brotman said adoption is exceeding the company’s predictions. In part, he said it is doing well because it is resonating with so many consumer segments. Besides busy professionals, he said other popular user groups include parents with young children and time-crunched workers, like admins or hospital workers, who only have a limited amount of time for breaks. Another segment is customers, who may be hearing or speech impaired. They can place their order on their phone, knowing that it will be understood.
“We are seeing all of these really neat opportunities and occasions where they are using it,” Brotman said. “It ranges from the worker who is using it on on their way to their meeting, but there’s other fun examples, where we are seeing adoption.”
In December, Starbucks launched its first test market in Portland, Ore., but quickly followed up by launching in four more states across the Northwest in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. In June, it covered 4,000 cafes, covering 21 states. The remaining stores launched today weren’t supposed to live until the end of the year.
Due to the acceleration in the U.S., Starbucks said its international plans are also being sped up, with the UK and Canada coming on board in October. Non-company owned stores, located in airports or in grocery stores, are the last remaining segment in the U.S., and Brotman said to expect those online next year, along with some additional features, such as the ability to set an order for a particular time.
Next up Starbucks will be tackling the insanely popular delivery business. Brotman confirmed that its two pilot programs are still on track for launching this year, including one in Seattle through a partnership with Postmates, and another in New York, with baristas hand-delivering orders to clients who work in the same building.