If you always have a caramel macchiato on Mondays, but Tuesdays call for the straight stuff, a double espresso, then Starbucks Corporation (SBUX) is ready to know every nuance of your coffee habit. There will be no coffee secrets between you, if you're a Rewards member, and Starbucks.
This fall as Starbucks rolls out more of its new cloud-based Digital Flywheel program, backed by artificial intelligence (AI), the chain's regulars will find their every java wish ready to be fulfilled and, the food and drink items you haven't yet thought about presented to you as what you're most likely to want next.
So targeted is the technology behind this program that, if the weather is sunny, you'll get a different suggestion than if the day is rainy. Or expect suggestions to vary on the weekend or a holiday, as opposed to a regular workday. If it's your birthday, Starbucks will offer a personalized birthday selection. If you patronize a Starbucks other than you're regular haunt, Starbucks will know that too.
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Like it or not, what Starbucks has developed represents a smart melding of technology into e-commerce tools that will pay off long term for the company and drive sales, Brian Solis, a principal analyst and futurist at Altimeter, told TheStreet in an interview.
"Starbucks is one of the best companies in the world that connects brand, user and consumer experience between digital mobile and the real world," said Solis. " They are still pushing forward, rolling out their Digital Flywheel strategy to be more dynamic to further integrate digital and real world."