Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks is expanding its reach to customers across China by introducing its mobile order and pay feature "Starbucks Now" to multiple platforms in the Alibaba Digital Economy including Taobao, digital mapping and information provider Amap, local services app Koubei and Alipay.
By activating "Starbucks Now" through any of these apps, users can pre-order and pay for their favourite Starbucks beverage and food online, and then pick up in-person at most Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland. Previously, this service was only available through the Starbucks China mobile app.
The extended service enables Starbucks to engage with more Chinese consumers through multiple channels that tap into the Alibaba Digital Economy's user base of nearly 1 billion. It also gives China's growing number of coffee lovers the added convenience of having their online orders ready for pick-up at the store location of their choice whether on the way to the office or on an adventure in an unfamiliar city.
The latest announcement spotlights Alibaba's ability to help brands of all sizes unlock new growth using the Alibaba Business Operation System (ABOS). Through the ABOS, with the support of a cross-functional team at Alibaba, brand partners can access all the tools available in the Alibaba Digital Economy to help accelerate their digital transformation to innovate and become more competitive.
"The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of digitalisation, which is the cornerstone for any successful brand in China. Alibaba is committed to bolstering businesses' digital firepower through ABOS. Through this partnership, we will continue to support Starbucks in expanding its digital service offerings across China to meet ever-evolving customer preferences and create long-term value," said Toby Xu, vice president of Alibaba Group.
Merging Online Ordering and Offline Dining
Earlier this year, the COVID-19 lockdown severely disrupted much of China's offline retail. As the country bounces back from the pandemic, retailers are seeing an uptrend in foot traffic while online business remains robust.
With more consumers heading back to the stores, the extended "Starbucks Now" services available via Alipay, Taobao, Koubei, and Amap make it easier for them to enjoy their daily cup of coffee at their favourite Starbucks locations.
This latest service expansion follows the successful strategic partnership entered into by Starbucks and Alibaba in 2018 that helped create a seamless Starbucks Experience. Alibaba's local services platform Ele.me began to deliver Starbucks coffee to consumers' doorsteps in September 2018.