Samsung Bixby Can Now Order Starbucks in Korea
Ford made news last year when it announced Starbucks could be ordered through Alexa while driving. Now Starbucks is making news by enabling Korean coffee drinkers to order by voice through Samsung Bixby.
With the launch, Starbucks Coffee Korea is the first retailer to leverage Samsung’s Bixby to allow for end-to-end ordering and payment.
This is good news for Samsung given that Bixby had a rough start in its English-language debut. The Korean version of Bixby seems to be more popular and it may well be more capable. Samsung revealed in October 2017 that Bixby had 10 million monthly active users many of whom are likely using the AI voice assistant in Korean. The Starbucks integration is a vote of confidence from a company that is aggressively adopting voice. A Samsung senior executive said that over 800 companies were testing the Bixby 2.0 SDK and it looks like Starbucks was among that group. The new feature claims to be similar to speaking to a barista at the coffee shop.
“Bixby allows My Starbucks Rewards™ customers in South Korea to place an order and pay through voice recognition ‘on command.’ The feature allows customers to speak just as if they were talking to a barista in-store, including modifying their beverage to meet their personal preference. Bixby users who are not registered on the My Starbucks Rewards™ program will be prompted to first enroll and then continue to place their order.”
Voice, Convenience and Commerce
Starbucks is at the forefront of voice commerce adoption, but it isn’t alone. Target was in the news the past week for introducing the first voice-activated coupon that was available on devices such as Google Home and smartphones using Google Assistant. Voice shopping is attractive because it is convenient for users. They don’t have to search for what they want through a browser or app, but instead simply speak to place the order. OC&C Strategy Consultants recently forecast that voice shopping will rise from about $2 billion in 2017 to $45 billion in 2022. Starbucks clearly agrees that voice ordering has a bright future and that Bixby will be a player, at least in Korea.