I’ve never signed a contract to drink a warm beverage

Actually this was the first time I had used the Starbucks app, so I had to agree with terms of use before I ordered (but weirdly not before I had added my debit card details to the app’s wallet).

It’s testament to confidence in mobile technology in 2015 that I hurriedly agreed to the terms thinking ‘come on, I need to order a hot drink on the internet’.


Ordering is more fun in the app (and changed my perception of the brand)

The app is slick, everything went smoothly on 3G with the possible exception of the store finder. The app will locate your nearest Starbucks but if you want to use the map functionality to select a different store, my experience was a little slow and was frustrating enough I might have abandoned purchase.

However, the Starbucks app will save favourite stores, making them easier to select and the fact is that most users will want to order at their nearest store, as they do so from their place of work.

Another thing to note about the Starbucks in-app menu is the lustre it adds to coffee. Every item is photographed at its best and when customising a drink, amending size, shots, flavours, toppings and milk, it does make one reevaluate the art of the barista.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say the experience using the app changed my perception of the brand, reminding me Starbucks does great coffee and is a place I enjoy visiting (cynical comments on a postcard, please).

starbucks order and pay menu starbucks order and pay app

But every drink defaults to grande (medium)

My only bugbear with the Order and Pay experience was the fact that drink size defaults to grande (medium). Yes, once I’ve changed this to tall (small), the app will save my preference, but only for that particular drink.

Given the drink sizes could be understood as cryptic (or at least obfuscatory), new users might make a mistake here (indeed, I did).

Heck, even McDonalds asks you if you want to make it large. Of course, the app is designed for loyal customers, so perhaps I’m a special case.

Starbucks order and pay starbucks app menu edit

The app looks great, including the GPS coffee tracker

Each drink listing comes with handy nutritional information, sure to please the life loggers that input each food or drink into their iPhone. Once I’ve ordered, the app tells me how to get to my chosen store and when the drink will be ready.

Inevitably, customers will be late, so it would be interesting to know how Starbucks will deal with this.

map to my coffee in starbucks app order ready - starbucks app

And I was greeted by a Starbucks welcome party

It’s early days for Order and Pay, which explains why the baristas seemed quite excited to be doling out a web order when I arrived. Two of them excitedly said my name as I approached the counter. The drinks were ready and I didn’t have to queue.

Here they are, looking sheepish when I decided to take a photo.

baristas at starbucks 

Order and Pay will be a boon for multiple orderers

Think of all the people in London who are tasked with going out and grabbing four or five coffees to bring back to their bosses. In the fashion industry alone, that’s a lot of coffee (forgive me for stereotyping).

The Starbucks Order and Pay functionality can be loaded with the company card (so receipts are emailed to you for every top up, not every order) and he/she can order from the office, saves time and is less likely to get an order wrong.

All hail mobile payment and loyalty!

Mobile Order & Pay is available in more than 150 stores across London – the first trial phase of the technology in the UK.

For more tales of great customer experience, attend the Festival of Marketing in London, November 11th to 12th.