Mobile customer engagement has been a high priority at Starbucks for many years now, and something that is becoming increasingly popular with its brand loyal consumer base.

Although Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will soon step down as company chief on April 3, 2017−to be succeeded by current president and COO Kevin Johnson−those same innovative forms of mobile customer engagement will carry on in a bigger and better way.

During this week’s 25th annual meeting of shareholders, Starbucks chief technology officer Gerri Martin-Flickinger and China digital vice president Molly Liu addressed growth plans for the company’s digital flywheel around the globe.

“Starbucks continues to offer the largest and most robust mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world, with over 13 million Starbucks Rewards members, approximately 9 million mobile paying customers, with one out of three now using Mobile Order & Pay, and more than $6 billion loaded onto prepaid Starbucks Cards in North America during 2016 alone,” they explained.

Starbucks announced the expansion of its Mobile Order & Pay platform to give customers more options to order their favorite Starbucks beverage while on the go, by leveraging its skill for Amazon Alexa announced earlier this year. Given the planned integration of Amazon Alexa and Ford vehicles later this year, Starbucks customers with a Ford car equipped with SYNC 3 will be able to order their favorite Starbucks beverage on the go by saying, “Alexa, ask Starbucks to start my order.”

Starbucks also shared more details on the expansion of My Starbucks® barista, now available to more than 100,000 customers across the U.S. Powered by groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence for the Starbucks Mobile App, customers can now place their orders via voice command or messaging interface, delivering speed and convenience. Starbucks continues to deliver innovation that enhances customer loyalty and engagement and further extends the accessibility of the Starbucks® Mobile App. The My Starbucks® barista is currently rolling out to iOS customers with Android™ users being added in subsequent releases.

Starbucks digital flywheel continues to gain momentum with the launch of true 1-to-1 personalization.

“While still early in the evolution of this service, Starbucks has delivered personalized offers to customers directly on the front of the screen of the mobile app, including the complete rollout of suggested selling and recommendations,” they added. “Total Starbucks Rewards member spend is up over 20 percent versus last year, driven by member growth and higher spend per member, reflecting a more engaged member base that takes advantage of Mobile Order and Pay and personalized marketing offers and recommendations.”

What’s more, Starbucks offered more details on the important role that social gifting is playing in the overall customer experience. With the introduction of the Outlook add-in, customers can gift a favorite beverage to friends, colleagues and loved ones through Microsoft Outlook. Starbucks also unveiled the availability of gifting through Apple’s Messages app with Apple Pay beginning in April, expanding the platform and offering customers new ways to share the Starbucks Experience.

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