Starbucks uses Microsoft tech to personalise the customer experience

Starbucks uses Microsoft tech to personalise the customer experience
Coffee giant is leveraging the Azure cloud, IoT and blockchain to connect bean to cup

Elly Yates-Roberts |

Starbucks is using Microsoft technology such as Azure, the internet of things (IoT) and blockchain to give customers a personalised experience and holistic view of the company, from bean to cup. 

According to a recent Microsoft news story by Jennifer Sokolowsky, Starbucks has been using reinforcement learning technology, a type of machine learning, to customers who use the Starbucks mobile app tailor-made order suggestions. These are created through an Azure-based platform using local store inventory, popular selections, weather, time of day, community preferences and the user’s previous orders.

“Just like their relationship with a barista, customers receive the same care and personalised recommendations when it comes from our digital platforms,” said Jon Francis, senior vice president of Analytics and Market Research at Starbucks.

The coffee merchant is also taking advantage of IoT, connecting each branch’s machines to the cloud to get insights from the thousands of data points they produce each day regarding type of beans used, the coffee’s temperature and water quality. The insights can then be used to predict machine failures and avoid expensive downtime and repair costs by preventing the problem before it occurs. 

Starbucks is also furthering its efforts to connect the supplier with the customer. Using blockchain Starbucks is developing a feature for its mobile app to show customers where their coffee was grown and roasted, how the firm is supporting its farmers and more. 

This transparency is enabled by Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service. It records each state change in the supply chain to a shared ledger giving all parties greater visibility of their product’s journey.  

“While high-quality, handcrafted beverages are so important, it’s the stories, the people, the connections, the humanity behind that coffee that inspires everything we do,” said Michelle Burns, senior vice president of Global Coffee and Tea at Starbucks. “This kind of transparency offers customers the chance to see that the coffee they enjoy from us is the result of many people caring deeply.”

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