Starbucks lets customers order a coffee via a chatbot

Starbucks is launching a “conversational ordering system” dubbed My Starbucks Barista that will be powered by artificial intelligence.

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Starbucks is launching an artificial intelligence-powered ordering system, allowing customers to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface.

The coffee brand says the new My Starbucks Barista system will deliver “unparalleled speed and convenience” and enhance customer loyalty and engagement. The 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. It is unclear when the system will come to the UK.

Besides the My Starbucks Barista, the company is also launching one-on-one personalisation in its emails and app. So far, Starbucks says its personalised e-mail reward offering, which has more than 400,000 variations, have more than doubled customer response rates over previous segmented email campaigns. It has also delivered personalised offers to customers directly on the homepage of the mobile app.

By early 2017, the company expects to complete the rollout of suggested selling and recommendations for additions to a customer’s order during Mobile Order and Pay checkout, which the company believes will further fuel engagement and growth.

“With Starbucks Rewards, the company’s new spend-based loyalty program, customers are finding increased value when being rewarded for bigger purchases. This enables the company to boost ticket, create greater marketing flexibility. With a 94% programme retention rate and new international markets on the horizon, the programme is stronger than ever before,” says the company in a statement.

Earlier this year, the brand’s global chief strategy office Matthew Ryan said the company’s investment in this new technology will “catch customers in the moment” so that messaging becomes more targeted and more personalised. It should also help Starbucks managed its offers and deals “more economically” he claimed.

Starbucks has invested heavily in digital technology over the last few years, launching a digital loyalty programme and services such as mobile order and pay. Johnson said loyalty remains the “cornerstone of our digital flywheel” and the company has made changes to its scheme in the US to “reward its most loyal customers” by basing rewards on how much they spend, rather than visits.

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