Although using the Starbucks mobile app can get you a grande latte faster, many of the coffee chain’s customers don’t seem to be in much of a rush to give up waiting on line just yet.
Reuters interviewed more than two dozen Starbucks customers and discovered that while everyone interviewed appreciated the faster service, many also enjoy the ritual of waiting in line and chatting up their barista while visiting the coffeehouse.
“I don’t mind standing in line. I like to chat with the baristas,” said Los Angeles business consultant John Mishler, 30, who visits a Starbucks virtually every day, but only uses the mobile app about once every three weeks.
“I have an excuse to be doing nothing,” Mishler said, referring to his wait in line. “It’s part of my morning routine and I don’t want to change it.”
San Francisco Bay Area marketing consultant Diane Schreiber, 49 believes that “if my life is so complicated that I can’t wait 5 minutes for a cup of coffee, I have to realign my priorities.”
And when Starbucks announced its earnings miss in February, one of the key takeaways was that its mobile app isn’t performing as well as the company hoped. While the mobile order ahead platform is still functioning as a sales driver, it’s a far less powerful one than it was 18 months ago, as its new and active user growth has slowed.
So what can Starbucks do to make the app more attractive for those who aren’t concerned with faster service? The company’s chief executive Kevin Johnson told shareholders this week that Starbucks can attract both customers in a rush and those who want to take it easy.
“Some in the industry believe that you must either focus on a retail experience that is about community or a retail experience that is about convenience, you cannot do both,” he said at the company’s annual meeting in Seattle. “We do not buy into the false trade-off.”