Starbucks, whose embrace of mobile payments and mobile loyalty in-store has already established the company as a forward-thinker when it comes to new technology, is this morning announcing the expansion of its “Mobile Order & Pay” system to 21 more states, including 3,400 individual café locations across the U.S. The feature allows customers to place their order and pay using the Starbucks mobile app, then skip the line when they arrive at the store, as their drink or other item is already being made.
Mobile Order & Pay first began as a pilot program in Portland in December, and has expanded across Starbucks’ locations in a relatively short time frame thanks to the way it leverages the technology infrastructure Starbucks already has in place. The company said in March the feature was rolling out across the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, as well as elsewhere in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. At the time, Mobile Order & Pay was available in 650 stores.
However, today’s expansion means the feature is much more broadly available, as it now brings mobile ordering to a number of new locations across the Pacific Northwest, southern and central U.S.
Supported states as of today include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.
In total, there are over 4,000 locations that support mobile ordering – or more than half of Starbucks’ company-owned stores. And this year, Starbucks says the program will reach all its company-operated stores, as well as expand to the Android platform. (Today, mobile ordering is only available for iPhone users).
Using the feature is simple enough. From the mobile app, you’ll tap the “Order” option at the top of the screen and select the food and beverage items you want to customize and order. You select the local store where you want to pick up – and it even shows the wait times for each. Then you confirm your order and payment is deducted from your Starbucks Card saved in the app.
The company says the tests so far have gone well, despite some initial concerns about the technology from store managers and baristas. Today, mobile ordering is seeing consumer adoption for everything from quick coffee breaks for office workers to busy moms with kids in tow to commuters hopping off the bus and wanting to grab their drink quickly.
However, Starbucks has yet to release figures that relate to user adoption or dollars spent through mobile ordering. It’s not likely it will do so, though, until the rollout is complete and more consumers become aware that the option even exists. For now, consumers have to launch their app and check to see if Mobile Order & Pay is available in their area.
Update, 6/19/15: Starbucks updated its corporate announcement on its newsroom site today to note that the store counts were correct but there were four states included in the list that should not have been (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota). That means Mobile Order & Pay rolled out to 17 additional states (vs. the 21 originally included).