SHANGHAI, China – Starbucks Corp. said Wednesday that it has partnered with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to launch voice ordering and delivery to its customers in China with Alibaba’s smart speaker, Tmall Genie. Customers can now order their favorite Starbucks beverages and food simply by using their voice for delivery within 30 minutes.
Leveraging Alibaba’s on-demand food delivery platform, Ele.me, the voice ordering capabilities for Starbucks further extend the customer experience within Starbucks digital ecosystem.
The launch of the new service marks the one-year anniversary of Starbucks and Alibaba’s strategic partnership which advances the New Retail infrastructure and digital power in China — one of the fastest-growing markets in the world for coffee consumption.
The announcement also builds on several significant collaborations between the two companies that enable a seamless Starbucks Experience for Chinese customers, such as establishing back-of-house kitchens, Star Kitchens, within Alibaba’s Freshippo supermarkets in China.
“We are thrilled to provide our cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence technology through Tmall Genie to serve Starbucks digitally-savvy customers in China,” said Miffy Chen, general manager at Alibaba A.I. Labs which leads the development of Tmall Genie. “Earlier this year, we launched food order and delivery service through Ele.me in response to our users’ needs for on-demand local services. We’re excited to introduce an even more diverse and enriched experience on our platform through Starbucks voice ordering and provide a direct benefit to Chinese consumers within their daily routine.”
“The Starbucks feature through Alibaba’s Tmall Genie ushers in a new era of digital customer engagement for Starbucks, leveraging ground-breaking digital technology to create an unprecedented experience that elevates our connection with customers to new heights,” said Molly Liu, vice president and general manager, Digital Ventures, Starbucks China. “We are focused on ensuring that Starbucks voice ordering is truly personal, and we look forward to offering our customers more convenient moments and new opportunities to engage with Starbucks on a single integrated platform as they move throughout the day.”
Through Alibaba’s Tmall Genie, customers place an order using their voice and can track their order in real-time within the 30-minute delivery timeframe.
Starbucks® Rewards members also can earn Stars and receive membership updates, including benefits, on the Tmall Genie. Soon, members will be able to receive personalized recommendations when using voice commands to place orders that are tailored to previous order preferences and popular items from Starbucks seasonal menu. As another added benefit, Starbucks fans in China can also listen to the latest Starbucks in-store playlists through Alibaba’s music streaming app, Xiami Music.
Powered by Alibaba’s speech AI and voice print payment technology, Tmall Genie orders help expand the high-quality Starbucks Delivers experience that is consistent with the Starbucks standards, including specially-designed splash-proof lids for both hot and cold beverages, tamper-proof packaging seals and individual hot and cold delivery containers to ensure orders arrive at the optimal temperature for enjoyment.
An exclusive Starbucks-themed Tmall Genie is available through the Starbucks virtual store in China, which unifies Starbucks offerings within Alibaba’s mobile apps, including Taobao, Alipay and Tmall.