Starbucks(March 20) – Starbucks announced the launch of a brand new retail channel in China – Starbucks Curbside – created in partnership with Amap, a leading provider of digital map content, navigation, and location-based solutions in the market. Featuring human-centered design that translates the unique Starbucks Experience for customers on the road, the innovative service offers customers in Beijing and Shanghai a customized and hassle-free way of enjoying their coffee routines amid rush hour traffic.
Starbucks Curbside leverages real-time route planning and positional tracking technologies to deliver the convenience of a drive-thru with minute precision. The technologies not only estimate customers’ arrival times at designated pick up points, but also automatically calculate the right time for Starbucks partners (employees) to craft and deliver the beverages. All customers have to do upon arrival at the designated pick up point is to roll down their car window to pick up their orders, without having to step out of their cars, thus enjoying the convenience of a drive-thru, minus the wait.
Inspired by customer insights and designed with their needs in mind, Starbucks Curbside was made possible through the ingenious combination of Starbucks extensive store network and strong operational muscle, with Amap’s precise route planning and time estimation technologies. A groundbreaking extension of the Starbucks third place from “in-store” and “at home” to “on the road,” the service is now available in 150 stores in Beijing and Shanghai, with plans to roll out to over 1,000 stores across China over the next year.
“Designed to help customers navigate the hustle and bustle of urban lifestyles in China, Starbucks Curbside exemplifies our relentless pursuit of innovation in service of our customers. We have created a revolutionary new retail channel, offering customers elevated convenience enabled by Amap’s precise geographical positioning and time estimation technologies,” said Judy Zhang, vice president of digital ventures, Starbucks China. “On arrival, customers only have to roll down their car windows to receive their favorite handcrafted Starbucks coffee on time and with the same quality, along with a warm greeting by our waiting Starbucks partner, just as if they were enjoying it in-store.”
Before the journey starts, customers can key in their destination on Amap, click on the Starbucks Curbside icon and place their order at a Starbucks store along the route. A customized backend system will constantly update customers’ arrival times to the store in real time. It also automatically calculates the right times for partners to craft the beverages, and deliver to a designated pick up point, so that customers receive their beverages freshly brewed upon arrival with virtually no time wasted. Meanwhile, customers can also receive real time voice messages during their journey, updating them on the preparation status of their orders. The service has been launched in 100 stores in Beijing, covering most of the city, and is also being piloted in nearly 50 stores in Shanghai.
Since opening its first store in the Chinese mainland more than 20 years ago, Starbucks now operates more than 6,000 stores in the market, with close to 60,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron. Starbucks China is one of Starbucks largest and fastest growing international markets, and continues to drive innovations that integrate and elevate physical and digital customer experience.