Starbucks Brings Artificial Intelligence to Mobile App

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These days, Starbucks is as much a technology company as it is a coffee chain. For years the company has led North America in terms of success with mobile app payments: people buy coffee with the Starbucks app in a way they simply don’t with any other retail chain.

Beyond just allowing mobile payments, Starbucks’ addition of advanced mobile ordering has already been tremendously successful.

And this month the company added to its digital innovation portfolio with some artificial intelligence. The “conversational ordering system” leverages AI to allow customers to place their orders via voice command in the My Starbucks Barista app. A beta will launch early next year.

“Industry-leading innovation is driving our core business and creating further separation from competitors all around the world,” said Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive officer.

Starbucks now has 12 million Starbucks Rewards members, up 18% year over year, and eight million mobile paying customers. In the US, Starbucks’ Mobile Order & Pay represents 8% of transactions for the company. It’s also boosted repeat visits, the company says.

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