Can Starbucks delivery deliver?
It might seem like there's a Starbucks on every corner, but the company's executives still want to get those tall, grande and venti pumpkin spice lattes into more hands, more easily.
Amid news that the Seattle-based company's fourth-quarter sales had been \"disappointing,\" Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz revealed on Thursday that the coffee chain will roll out a delivery option in the latter half of 2015 to loyalty-program members in select markets.
\"Imagine the ability to create a standing order of Starbucks delivered hot to your desk daily,\" Schultz said on the earnings call. \"That's our version of e-commerce on steroids.\"
Next month, Starbucks customers in Portland, Oregon, will have access to a mobile ordering app that lets them order and pay for their beverages ahead of time and skip the line for pickup.
Although Schultz did not provide the nitty-gritty on how the company plans to implement the delivery program (Matt Ryan, Starbucks' global chief strategy officer, said on the call that the program is in its \"early days\"), here are some thoughts on how it could -- and could not -- flip consumers' lids:
How it could deliver:
1. You're a creature of habit. You want the same coffee at the same time every day? No problem.
2. Sheer convenience. No more waiting in lines behind indecisive customers debating whip or no whip, or having to carve out time in your busy day for a coffee run.
3. You get to skip the annoyances of coffee shop culture, from the person listening to music out loud to the obnoxious cell phone talker to the chair hogger.
4. You can place a big order for you and your buddies without worrying about having enough hands to get it back safely.
How it could fail to deliver:
1. You lose the coffee shop culture: the free WiFi, the cute barista, the quirky name spelling on the cup. Oh, and the free (usually) clean bathrooms.
2. With an added service often comes an added cost, not to mention a gratuity. Better beef up that coffee fund.
3. Many of Starbucks' drinks are temperature-sensitive. With time for delivery, an iced drink could arrive watered down, and a hot one could arrive lukewarm.
4. Mistakes happen. But if the wrong drink arrives, it's not just a matter of pushing it back across the counter; it's a matter of calling out for another delivery.
What do you think of the plans Starbucks has brewing?