Starbucks-Alibaba: Tmall Genie is Born From the Collaboration

The intelligent speaker will allow you to order food and drinks that will be delivered directly to your home

Starbucks fans in China can already order coffee with their phones, but taking a cup now will be even easier with the Tmall Genie smart speaker.

In fact, consumers will be able to order their favourite foods and drinks from Starbucks and see them delivered within 30 minutes. It will also be possible to track the delivery status of the orders in real-time, as well as to connect the smart speaker subscription account to earn Star rewards with each purchase.

Soon, members will also receive personalized recommendations based on their previous orders and trendy items from the Starbucks seasonal menu. All is due to Alibaba A.I. Labs, the artificial intelligence research unit that worked at Tmall Genie.

The collaboration aims to satisfy customers in their delivery experience

Miffy Chen, general manager of Alibaba A.I. Labs, said the collaboration will help both companies to meet the needs of Chinese digital consumers, who are increasingly expecting continuous and on-demand deliveries for everything from ordering food, to products and medicines.

“We are excited to present an even more diverse and enriched experience on our platform through the Starbucks voice sorting, thus offering a direct benefit to Chinese consumers in their daily routine,” said Chen.

Molly Liu, vice president and general manager of the digital business division of Starbucks China, said the new smart assistant marks a new era of digital customer engagement for Starbucks and will help them connect with customers.

“We are focused on ensuring that the Starbucks voice order is truly personal and we look forward to offering our customers more affordable moments and new opportunities to interact with Starbucks on a single integrated platform,” said Liu.

Users can play music from a playlist edited directly by Tmall Genie

As part of the partnership, the Seattle-based chain also exclusively presented a new Starbucks-themed Tmall Genie through its flagship store on Tmall, Alibaba’s B2C e-commerce site. The smart speaker, which comes in the classic green tone of the brand, presents its bear mascot “Bearista” behind a DJ turntable.

Users can play music from a curated playlist by telling Tmall Genie to “play some Starbucks music”, a feature provided by Alibaba’s Xiami music streaming app. About 3,000 Starbucks Genies, priced at 199 RMB ($ 28) each, sold out instantly during a Livestream hosted by the popular Taobao live-streamer Viya Huang. Huang’s five-hour flow attracted over 829 million views.

Tmall Genie’s new feature comes as Starbucks and Alibaba celebrate the one-year anniversary of their strategic partnership to transform the coffee experience in China. Since then Starbucks has exploited the new Alibaba retail infrastructure, such as the collaboration with to expand the coverage of the deliveries or the opening of “Star Kitchens” inside Freshippo, which exploit the evasion capabilities of the supermarket chain to improve delivery speed and scope.

Back in 2017, Starbucks began accepting payments with the Alipay mobile wallet. In December of the same year, Starbucks opened its first roasting plant outside its home market in Shanghai, an action that featured mobile technology and augmented reality experiences designed by Alibaba.

Categories: Business, China, Company, ECommerce

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