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Starbucks Set to Combine Mobile Payments With Delivery

March 20, 2015         By: Steven Anderson

We all know the incredible power mobile payment systems have in connection with making it a lot easier to order food.

Place an order from a mobile device, pay for it from that same device, have it delivered or pick it up later on.

The idea hasn’t been lost on Starbucks, either, who has been seen getting into mobile payments on a routine basis over the last several months. Now, though, reports suggest it’s about to be possible, at least in some places, to buy, pay for, and receive Starbucks beverages without ever setting foot in a Starbucks location.

Right now, the pilot program of what amounts to Starbucks delivery will take place in Seattle—which really isn’t a surprise at all—and in New York’s Empire State Building, which is only slightly more of a surprise than Seattle.

The Seattle service is set to turn to Postmates for delivery, a delivery startup that uses contractors to handle the delivery runs getting people from one place to the other, and will assess a flat delivery fee whether it’s one drink delivered or a hundred.

A likewise test will be run for Empire State Building denizens, allowing customers to have drinks brought in for a delivery fee, though in both cases, the exact quantity of the fee is unknown.

As Postmates noted—and this is a development that will almost certainly prove universal—speed is the big component here, as a coffee ordered is meant to be enjoyed hot (iced frappa-whatchamacallits, notwithstanding).

That’s actually got Postmates considering how to package coffee for delivery, and reportedly, Postmates is turning back in Starbucks’ direction to determine how best to ship coffee for delivery in the space of several minutes to ensure that mocha latte arrives with steaming foam.

Eventually, between the delivery system, the mobile payments system, and the order-ahead system, it will be technically possible in some locations to order, pay for, and receive a Starbucks beverage without actually setting foot in a Starbucks.

This is a development that’s got to stagger some coffee lovers, and if we can get the FAA to stop sitting on its hands and let us use drone quadcopter for deliveries, this is a development that will likely only continue.

It’s a lot easier to keep an order hot when it’s whipping along at a 24 mile an hour airspeed or better—the Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 will make that speed at least, without having to stop for traffic, and in all likelihood, such a thing could be offered in a wider range.

Drone delivery systems are excellent for delivering food; the weight is commonly low, it can be sent in insulated containers, and it’s extremely difficult to break an order of fettuccine carbonara.

But regardless of whether the order is delivered by contractor or by drone aircraft, one thing is clear: we may be reaching a point where going into a restaurant or a coffee shop or anything like that is largely unnecessary, and those things which we once hit a drive through for, may no longer need the drive part.

Mobile payment systems are making it all possible, and when you’re at work—or even at home!–one day craving a skinny harmless mocha and it’s a mobile transaction away, you’ll have mobile payment systems to thank.