Starbucks-themed Tmall Genie

Starbucks Launches Voice Ordering On Alibaba Tmall Genie Smart Speaker in China

Starbucks has launched a new voice ordering option through Alibaba’s Tmall Genie smart speaker in China. The new voice skill enables customers to order Starbucks for delivery. Alibaba is also selling a new novelty Starbucks-branded version of its popular smart speaker.

Virtual Barista Voice

Starbucks and Alibaba first partnered a year ago, integrating Starbucks into several of Alibaba’s offerings, such as the Star Kitchens in Alibaba’s Fershippo supermarkets. The Starbucks voice order skill works via Alibaba’s food delivery platform launched earlier this month. Tmall Genie users can place their order with a nearby Starbucks and arrange to have it delivered to their location. The payment runs through the user’s Starbucks account, so they can get the membership rewards. The voice skill also enables users to listen to Starbucks playlists through Alibaba’s Xiami Music service.

“The Starbucks feature through Alibaba’s Tmall Genie ushers in a new era of digital customer engagement for Starbucks, leveraging ground-breaking digital technology to create an unprecedented experience that elevates our connection with customers to new heights,” said Starbucks China Digital Ventures vice president and general manager Molly Liu in a statement. “We are focused on ensuring that Starbucks voice ordering is truly personal, and we look forward to offering our customers more convenient moments and new opportunities to engage with Starbucks on a single integrated platform as they move throughout the day.”

Alibaba’s Coffee Genie Wishes

Alibaba’s Tmall Genie isn’t the first voice assistant to connect with Starbucks. Amazon’s Alexa Starbucks skill debuted more than two years ago and users can even order it through Ford cars built with Alexa. Google Assistant also offers a Starbucks voice action, as does Samsung’s Bixby in South Korea.

There are some improvements unique to Alibaba’s partnership, however. In the U.S., people can only reorder based on past orders by voice. The Tmall Genie skill has no such limitation as long as what they order is on the delivery menu. Another difference from the U.S. implementation is that users can only order for delivery. If they want to pick up their coffee at Starbucks, they need to use the app.


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