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Starbucks to test pickup orders from its app

A decade after the idea was first sketched on the proverbial drawing broad, Starbucks is poised to finally let its customers order their coffees from their phones. And the company’s plans for building on its wildly successful mobile app don’t stop there.

The Seattle-based coffee giant, which said in March that more than 14 percent of purchases in its U.S. stores are paid for through its app, will allow customers in one undisclosed geographic test market to start placing pickup orders from the Starbucks app later this year, according to the company’s Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman. This should not be confused as an experiment, Brotman made clear. Starbucks is determined to eventually roll out the technology nationwide, no matter how long it takes.

“We will do this and we will get it right,” Brotman told Re/code in an interview following his onstage appearance on Wednesday morning at Fortune magazine’s technology conference in Aspen, Colorado.

The initiative comes at a time when Americans are increasingly turning to apps on their phones to order products and services to be picked up or brought to them. Cab-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft have taken major cities by storm, while food chains like Chipotle enjoy high usage for their order-ahead feature. Then there are apps from companies such as GrubHub, Tapingo and Square that allow people to order food and beverages from a variety of different smaller food and drink establishments. Purchases made in Starbucks stores with credit or debit cards run through Square’s payments platform, but transactions in Starbucks’ app do not.

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