Starbucks Will Soon Let You Order via an AI Bot


Starbucks has announced a new feature coming to their mobile apps called My Starbucks barista. In a nutshell, the coffee company built an artificial intelligence chatbot that’ll allow you to order food and drinks without having to experience human interaction. It’ll allow you to either text your order or place it with your voice while you answer specific questions. The service will also launch on Amazon Alexa, a platform the company hopes customers will use most.

Today (January 30), Starbucks is taking the next step toward evolving the digital customer experience by launching voice ordering capabilities within the Starbucks mobile iOS app and the popular Amazon Alexa platform. These features are an extension of Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay, which allows customers to order and pay for their items before arriving at their store, further extending the barista and customer interaction within the company’s digital ecosystem.

Gerri Martin-Flickinger, chief technology officer at Starbucks, had the following to say regarding the new technology which will roll out to around 1,000 random iOS users over the coming weeks as a test.

“The Starbucks experience is built on the personal connection between our barista and customer, so everything we do in our digital ecosystem must reflect that sensibility,” said Gerri Martin-Flickinger, chief technology officer for Starbucks. “Our team is focused on making sure that Starbucks voice ordering within our app is truly personal and equally important was finding the right partner in Amazon to test and learn from this new capability. These initial releases are easy to use providing a direct benefit to customers within their daily routine and we are confident that this is the right next step in creating convenient moments to complement our more immersive formats. We expect to learn a lot from these experiences and to evolve them over time.”

My Starbucks barista comes as Starbucks attempts to make ordering items from their menu easier for folks who may lead busy lives or simply don’t have time to wait in line for their Caramel Macchiato. Chatbots are becoming more mainstream nowadays with the likes of major players such as Facebook and Google who include basic functions in theirs, so it only makes sense to try new things and see where AI can also reach. Of course, you may look a bit weird asking your phone for a cup of coffee, but thank God they included a texting interface as well.

Both iOS and Amazon Alexa users can expect My Starbucks barista to hit their devices through the summer of 2017. Android users can expect the feature later this year.

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