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Radically redefining the Starbucks experience


Portland will be the proving ground this fall for a new mobile commerce initiative from Starbucks called Mobile Order and Pay that is part of the company’s broader effort to radically transform the retail experience.

The Mobile Order and Pay initiative will enable customers at Portland area stores to place orders in advance of their visit and pick them up at their selected Starbucks location. The company believes mobile ordering will deliver convenience, frequency and speed of service and over time, become the fastest and easiest way for customers to order, pay and pick up their purchases. Portland may be the first market to receive the service, but Starbucks is planning to launch Mobile Order and Pay in 2015 across the United States – a feature likely to be appreciated by time-sensitive customers averse to waiting in lines.

The mobile initiative was announced at Starbucks annual Leadership Experience conference in Seattle. Attended by 2,000 of the company’s district managers, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz offer some observations of an evolving marketplace and other key initiatives this holiday season.

“Holiday 2013 witnessed a seismic shift in consumer behavior in which many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers experienced a decline in foot traffic compared to significant growth in online shopping,”Schultz said. “Customers researched, compared prices, and then bought the brands and items they wanted online, frequently utilizing a mobile device to do so. Since that time, we have been focused on radically redefining the Starbucks retail experience for our partners, customers and stores.”

In other noteworthy news coming out of the event, the company announced a marketing initiative called, “Starbucks for Life,” in which a select number of customers can win free coffee when they pay with their Starbucks Card or mobile device.

“This is the first time we have ever offered customers something of this magnitude and what better way than to anchor it with our renowned Starbucks Card program,” said Sharon Rothstein, Starbucks EVP and global chief marketing officer. “This giveaway is poised to bring great excitement and fun to our customers during this special time of the year.”

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