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Starbucks takes a seat…inside Outlook


The idea of Starbucks serving as a “third place” outside of home and work has been reinforced with a new add-in to Microsoft Outlook.

The Starbucks for Outlook add-in is currently available as a free download to U.S. users of the new, as well as several other iterations of the email platform. Once downloaded, users will have a “Meet at Starbucks” command available in their ribbon when creating a meeting request. They can then search for the nearest Starbucks store and add it as the location of the upcoming meeting.

The feature also allows users to automatically send a $5 Starbucks gift card from their inbox. A Starbucks account is required to send gift cards, but not to set up meetings.

Outlook and Starbucks are both ubiquitous parts of daily life for today’s connected consumers, especially professionals who would be most likely to leverage the add-in. It is not exactly clear how the monetary part of the partnership works, but presumably Starbucks is paying for the privilege of being part of Outlook and hoping for increased store traffic as payoff.

Especially as coffee retailers like Starbucks are seeking ways to increase traffic during what is typically a mid-day lull, finding new ways to embed the notion of visiting your local store into consumers’ daily lives is a smart move. Starbucks for Outlook is not presently available in the Mac or mobile versions of Outlook, but the companies are planning to release compatible versions in the coming months. Considering the general popularity of mobile Web access and Mac devices, adding functionality for these platforms would greatly enhance the value of the add-in.
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