I am not a member of the cult of Starbucks. For some reason I want to rebel against being someone who defines part of their personality by the string of options they have assembled to create their personal Starbucks coffee. On the days when the darker part of my sense of humor takes over I find amusement in arriving at Grand Central Station, making my way to the front of the Starbucks line and then take my time in deciding what to order. The fact that you don’t have your order at the ready will cause the 30 year stock broker who is wound too tight and on track to have a heart attack by 45 and is line behind you to lose his mind.
My sense of humor aside, you can’t ignore the fact that it is the trick all brands are searching for in how they can get consumers to invest something of themselves in their product so it becomes personal. The reaction from the people in the line behind me is a testament to the Starbucks brand as they have been able to get their product to become one of the global metrics that people use to define themselves. Cat or dog? Coke or Pepsi? Mac or PC?
Starbucks feels that the answer to the last question is Mac as they have already partner with them so when you walk into a Starbucks here in New York you can use the iTunes application on your iPhone to see what song is playing and purchase it right then and there. The evolution in the partner ship was announced a few weeks ago as you will be able to order your coffee through your iPhone before you even arrive at the store.
It is a very interesting concept and marriage of technology and brick and mortar retail. I had a lot of question about how it would work and I got a link today to a design shop called GENOCO which has comps and a Flash animation of what they are claiming is the Starbucks QuickOrder iPhone application. Based on the quality of the design usability I am inclined to believe that it is real.
You can go through and choose a beverage from the menu or pick from saved combinations in the My Favorites section. Choose a size, add-ons and even write a note on how to customize it the way you want it and it is sent on to the store. When you arrive you hold the iPhone up to a scanner which reads a semacode and rings up the order. It looks like if this is the final version then it will be an easy to use experience that will drive revenue for Starbucks in orders and Apple in another reason to be among the growing masses to buy an iPhone.