Retail

Starbucks To Shut Down Online Store This Fall

Starbucks is planning to permanently shut down operations for its online store, effective Oct. 1. In preparation for the eCommerce closure, the website is offering discounted items up to 50 percent off, Business Insider reports.

Products from the company's eCommerce shop, which include coffee brewers, espresso makers, mugs, glasses, coffees and teas, will be available from other retailers, including grocery stores and Amazon after the company closes its online portal. In addition, Starbucks aims to stay in contact with its most loyal online shoppers to apprise them of product inventory information and which items are sold out, Starbucks' spokesperson Maggie Jantzen told Business Insider.

Starbucks is hoping to replace its online store format with new experiences by forging key partnerships with digital firms.

"These partnerships, we believe, will enable us to leverage our brand, our global retail footprint and the customer base in order to extend our reach," said CEO Kevin Johnson to investors last month, according to Business Insider.

The company is also expecting to roll out expanded artificial intelligence technology to members of its rewards program this fall as it enhances its cloud-based Digital Flywheel program. The technology will identify patterns in customers' orders, then suggest new products or ensure consumer favorites are available. The program is also expected to send customized offers to customers based on the weather, day of the week or holidays.

“Starbucks is one of the best companies in the world that connects brand, user and consumer experience between digital, mobile and the real world,” Brian Solis, a principal analyst and futurist at business management consulting firm Altimeter, told The Street in an interview last month. “They are still pushing forward, rolling out their Digital Flywheel strategy to be more dynamic and to further integrate digital and real world.”

The company has also invested significantly in its mobile capabilities. Earlier this year, Starbucks integrated iMessage-based gift cards into its system. Mobile payments currently comprise 30 percent of the company's US orders, Business Insider reports.

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