Starbucks aims to win back customers with mobile ordering service
Starbucks, the coffee giant, is investing £30m on a technological revamp of its UK business to lure British caffeine-lovers back to its stores following a consumer backlash over its tax arrangements.
The company, which provoked widespread anger in 2012 over its low British corporation tax payments, has since turned a profit in the UK and is now aiming to win back customers with a mobile ordering coffee service.
“Today what we’re focused on is the customer and evolving the coffee shop experience”, Kris Engskov, Starbucks president of Europe, Middle East and Africa said.
The company’s mobile ordering app will offer consumers a click and collect service that allows them to order and pay for their skinny, no foam cappuccinos on the way to their nearest Starbuck café. The business is also investing in having the fastest Wi-Fi on the high street to improve the experience of its average customer who spends 40 minutes online per visit.
Starbucks is also attempting to provide the answer to drained batteries – the biggest bugbear of most iPhone users – by installing charging mats in the furniture in its stores. The wireless charging points originally trialled in January, initially focusing in City sites and then rolling it across stores.
Starbucks is installing charging mats in the furniture in its stores
The last step of the technology drive is a new agreement with music streaming service Spotify which will run a jukebox function in stores as well as using people to use their Starbucks loyalty points on the service.
“The role of the coffee shop is fundamentally changing across the world but particularly acute the UK because it is just so competitive, most competitive espresso markets in the world and it’s changing because people are increasingly busy that’s well understood but the business I think is either accentuated by this move to digital where so much of your life is led through a device.”
"We're evolving the coffee shop experience”, says Kris Engskov, Starbucks president of Europe, Middle East and Africa
“It’s the little details about how do we eliminate the barriers to a great experience, whether it’s a queue, a click or giving someone secure Wi-Fi” Mr Ensgkov said. Mr Engskov also hinted at Starbucks potentially opening new cafes in UK supermarket chains including the German discounters Aldi and Lidl. Starbucks, which recently moved 230 of its 500 European staff to new UK headquarters in Chiswick, west London, is “now paying more UK corporation tax than we ever have”, the coffee boss said. “Our customers are very loyal and as the UK business is as healthy as it’s ever been”, he added.