One for the Road: Alibaba’s Amap and Starbucks Launch Curbside Service in China

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One for the Road: Alibaba’s Amap and Starbucks Launch Curbside Service in China

  • Nearly 150 Starbucks stores in Beijing and Shanghai are offering the curbside service
  • Work-bound consumers will place and pick up orders without leaving their cars

A Starbucks barista in China delivers an order to a customer's car. Photo credit: Starbucks

Users in Beijing and Shanghai can order their favorite cup of joe with Alibaba Group’s navigation tool Amap and collect the coffee during their morning or evening commute, the platform announced this week.

Customers select their destination on Amap, click on the ‘Starbucks Curbside’ icon and place an order at a store along their route. An employee will deliver the food and drinks to their vehicle.

“Designed to help customers navigate the hustle and bustle of urban lifestyles in China, Starbucks Curbside exemplifies our relentless pursuit of innovation in service of our customers,” Judy Zhang, vice president of digital ventures, Starbucks China, said in a statement.

Watch how Amap and Starbucks coordinate so customers don’t have to wait for their coffees

Some 100 Starbucks locations in Beijing and nearly 50 in Shanghai are offering the curbside service and 850 more across China will join in the coming year.

Amap uses real-time route planning and positioning technologies to guarantee the speed and precision of the service. The program can also pinpoint exactly when users will arrive at the store in order to notify baristas when to begin preparing orders.

“As a ‘to-destination’ service platform, we are committed to improving user experience through consistent and innovative navigation technologies,” Lu Tan, product manager at Amap, said in a statement.

Starbucks operates over 6,000 stores in the Chinese mainland, making it one of the company’s largest and fastest-growing markets.

For more stories on the latest technology developments in China, go to our Tech page

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