Starbucks Corp. is testing its first order-ahead mobile application this year in Portland, Oregon, in a bid to speed up service and boost sales.
Mobile ordering will be introduced across the U.S. next year, the Seattle-based company said in a statement today.
Starbucks' mobile-payment application, introduced in 2009, has been gaining traction, and the company said in March that it accounts for about 14 percent of transactions in its U.S. stores. The chain also has attracted customers with a loyalty program that offers free drinks, food and refills after accumulating points from purchases.
Everyone is pressed for time and it seems like the world is moving faster, said Jack Russo, an analyst at Edward Jones & Co. in St. Louis. We dont have time to be waiting in line.
The app may boost sales by making visits to Starbucks cafes quicker and less of a hassle, said Russo, who rates the shares hold.
The shares rose 0.4 percent to $72.69 at 3:34 p.m. in New York. They fell 7.7 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 0.8 percent gain for the Standard & Poors 500 Index.
The company has about 12 million active users of its mobile application in the U.S. and Canada, and it processes about 6 million mobile transactions in the U.S. every week, Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said on a conference call in July. Schultz earlier this year handed over day-to-day management duties to Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead so he could focus more on next-generation retailing, as well as digital, mobile and loyalty programs.
For the holiday season, Starbucks is planning to sell a new Chestnut Praline Latte, its first new holiday beverage in five years, according to todays statement. Starbucks also said it will sell 100 different designs of gift cards during the season.
There are about 11,700 Starbucks stores in the U.S.