Starbucks has aggressively pushed its mobile ordering platform in the last year attempting to get fewer people standing in line and more ordering directly from their phones for a seamless pickup. The next level of that expansion is voice-only ordering, which Starbucks is now rolling out on iOS and will hit Android soon. At the same time, Starbucks is pushing into the oh-so-popular Amazon Echo with the ability to order drinks directly from the connected speaker.
The primary voice control interface is part of the new "My Starbucks barista" product, which breaks down the ordering process inside the Starbucks app into a messaging-like conversation with artificial intelligence. You tell it what you want, building your order piece by piece, and it'll ask you to confirm before passing it along to your nearest store so you can walk in and pick it up. The new feature is arriving in a beta test for a thousand customers to start, but will expand through the summer as an Android version arrives as well.
You can just shout at your Echo as you walk out the door with your hands full.
The ability to walk through the ordering process with your voice may not seem that appealing when you can just order on the same phone (and probably quicker) by tapping a few buttons, but with the Amazon Echo that isn't an option. With a new "Starbucks Reorder" skill on the Echo, you'll be able to order your "usual" drink on the speaker by simply saying "[Alexa,] order my Starbucks" and have it dispatched to your store of choice right away. This could be useful to shout as you're walking out the door with your hands full, so long as your local Starbucks is only a few minutes away — otherwise you'll be coming up to a cold drink when you drive up 15 minutes later.
If you're someone who's extremely particular about your drink order, chances are you won't be swayed by the voice interface that introduces more opportunity for mis-ordering. But for those who get the same basic drink over and over again, and are in such a hurry that they can't (or just plain don't want to) wait in line, these are some neat new ideas that could potentially smooth out the ordering process.
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