Starbucks Teams Up with Ford and Amazon to Offer Voice-Activated Ordering

Starbucks is aiming to make ordering coffee easier than ever. 

By teaming up with Amazon and Ford, voice-activated Starbucks mobile ordering will soon be available through Ford’s newest vehicles. 

Last week in its annual shareholder meeting in Seattle, Starbucks announced that Ford cars with Sync3 infotainment systems will be able to order and then pay for their coffee through the Amazon Alexa voice assistant.

"It only takes a little imagination to think about where conversation ordering will show up next," said Gerri Martin-Flickinger, Starbucks’ chief technology officer.

Amazon and Starbucks announced a partnership in January. Amazon echo or dot owners can download a “skill” for the voice assistant Alexa, where she can order and pay for their “usual” order through Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay feature.

Ford has also partnered with Amazon to incorporate Alexa into their new vehicles. Later this year, drivers of these cars will be able to place Starbucks orders while operating the vehicle. Ford also has a similar partner with Domino’s.

Ford isn’t the only car company to partner with Amazon. Volkswagen and Hyundai will be giving an Alexa a home in their vehicles in the near future. While other car companies like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are partnering with Amazon’s competitor, Google.

Starbucks mobile ordering and payment app is wildly popular and accounts for 8% of the chain’s total transactions. The coffee chain receives so many orders, that the busiest stores have had trouble keeping up with the orders. 

"We are now laser-focused on fixing this problem, but the nature of it—too much demand—is an operational challenge we have solved before and I can assure you we will solve again," said Howard Schultz, Starbuck’s CEO on a conference call back in January. 

The chain combated the problem by adding one or two more baristas to strictly focus on mobile orders.

As the chain makes ordering more accessible through vehicles equipped with Amazon Alexa, mobile orders will only increase. But let’s face it, this is a good problem to have. 

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