App glitch, low inventory puts a damper on coffee giant’s holiday promotion launch

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App glitch, low inventory puts a damper on coffee giant’s holiday promotion launch

By Deena M. Amato-McCoy - 11/05/2018
Starbucks’ mobile app has the company feeling some heat from customers.

The same day Starbucks launched its holiday beverages and cups, including a new free, reusable red cup, the coffee giant’s mobile app wasn't able to accept or place mobile orders.

Many users eager to get their Friday morning coffee fix — and free reusable red cup — received a message stating, “We are currently down for scheduled maintenance. Check back soon.”

Unhappy customers took to social media, especially Twitter, to complain about the app and the long lines the outage caused at stores. “@Starbucks scheduled maintenance on #redcup day? Seems like poor timing,” according to @OneTiredMomma1

Meanwhile, @serennognos tweeted, “I feel like @Starbucks should extend their #RedCup giveaway cause with the app down you couldn’t place mobile orders to ensure you could get one, it was too busy on my lunch break, then they’d run out by 4 p.m.”

Starbucks apologized on Twitter, saying, “Our sincere apologies. This was not a scheduled maintenance and we are aware of the difficulties customers are experiencing. We're working quickly to resolve them!”

The coffee giant’s mobile order and pay transactions represented 14% of U.S. company-operated transactions for the company’s fiscal fourth quarter.

Customers also took to Twitter to complain about selling out of their anticipated holiday cups. For example, one customer tweeted, “Very disappointed that my Starbucks was a hot mess this morning and made my drink and did not put it in the red cup! I waited 30 minutes for my drink. Only reason I went this morning was to get a #reuseable #RedCup #starbucks I want my cup please!

The coffee giant’s holiday cups and beverages launched on Friday, Nov. 2, which is anywhere from seven to 10 days earlier than in past years. Starbucks first debuted its holiday cups in 1997 and, over the years, some of the designs have sparked controversy among critics on the right for not being Christmasy enough.