Starbucks will soon be launching a delivery service to help people in China get their morning coffee fix.
Partnering with e-commerce giant Alibaba, Starbucks will be delivering from as early as September, using Alibaba-owned Ele.me to deliver orders to customers.
Launching at 150 stores in Beijing and Shanghai, Starbucks plans to roll out the delivery service to 30 cities and more than 2,000 stores by the end of 2018.
Kevin Johnson, President and Chief Executive Office of Starbucks Coffee Company, said: “Starbucks is growing and innovating faster in China than anywhere else in the world.
“Our transformational partnership with Alibaba will reshape modern retail and represents a significant milestone in our efforts to exceed the expectations of Chinese consumers. Starbucks China is one to watch, and I have full confidence in the team that will bring the new innovation behind the Starbucks Experience to life.”
Ele.me currently has over three million registered delivery drivers, with Alibaba owning stakes in Hema supermarkets, which will be used as ‘Starbucks Delivery Kitchens’ to fulfil orders.
Starbucks also has plans to launch its first virtual store, allowing consumers to interact through smartphone apps, using the online payment service Alipay for a seamless experience.
“We’re going to integrate a Starbucks virtual store into all of the Alibaba Group properties,” Mr Johnson told American news channel CNBC.
“This means that a customer that uses Alipay or Taobao or Tmall or Hema has an integrated Starbucks virtual store similar to the mobile app embedded right into that experience. That opens up 500 million or more active users of those apps that will have access to Starbucks.”
At the time of writing, no word has been released as to the costs of delivery, or how long customers will expect to wait for their coffees to arrive.
— Bloomberg (@business) July 27, 2018
Will Starbucks deliveries come to Australia?
Australians are partial to a cuppa in the morning, with figures released from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission showing that we’re collectively spending more than $1 billion on our hot drinks of choice, with independent research from SquareUp showing that the latte and flat white are the most popular orders.
While a popular option for many, Starbucks doesn’t offer a delivery option in Australia, with the caffeine giant also not available on delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo, meaning it might be a little while yet before you get your barista-brewed order hand-delivered to you here.