The increasing trend of incorporating voice-based computing in businesses has not gone unnoticed by Starbucks which is all set to be up there in the technology race by launching a new feature to its My Starbucks barista App.
The feature provides more flexibility to customers allowing them not only to place and pay for their orders by just speaking but also allows them to customize their drink orders as if speaking to a real-life barista. Should they choose to, customers also have the option of just typing in their Starbucks orders, a feature similar to the famous chatbots in apps like the Facebook Messenger.
Additionally, the company is launching a skill for the Amazon Alexa platform, which lets customers reorder their favorite items by speaking to their Echo speaker or other Alexa-powered device, reports Techcrunch. The “Starbucks Reorder Skill” for Amazon Alexa devices will allow customers just to say, “Alexa, order my Starbucks.”
However, for the reorder skill to work it is mandatory that the user installs the My Starbucks App with an existing account that has a favorite order in place – how else will the app determine what the user’s favorite order is.
At its annual investor conference held in December 2016, Starbucks had revealed what it termed an “innovative conversational ordering system” to be incorporated in its My Starbucks App.
In a build up to the investor conference, Starbucks had said in a press release:
“Today, Starbucks will unveil an innovative conversational ordering system, My Starbucks Barista, powered by groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Starbucks Mobile App. Starbucks Mobile App customers will be able to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface, delivering unparalleled speed and convenience, enhancing customer loyalty and engagement and further extending the accessibility of the Starbucks app. The My Starbucks Barista feature will roll out first on iOS in limited beta in early 2017 and be made available to more iOS and Android users in subsequent releases.”
In the beta test phase, launched on January 30, 2016, the App. will be available to only 1000 iOS customers across the United States to be made available on the iOS platform on a much larger scale in summer this year. Later in 2017, the Android version of the app will be introduced in addition to the aforementioned skill for the Amazon Alexa platform.
According to Techcrunch, it has been estimated in a recently held forecast that “24.5 million voice-first devices would ship in 2017, with platforms like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home leading the way. Customers are also getting more comfortable speaking to assistants on their mobile devices, like Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, as a means of accessing information or performing tasks.”
A video demo of the Starbucks app was shown at the annual investor’s conference where a customer spoke to the virtual barista which responded by asking relevant preset follow-up questions and was able to take and process a pretty confusing order accurately.