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Starbucks launches wireless charging


Say hello to wireless charging.

Well hello, namaste, qué pasa, howdy.

And that’s the cosmopolitan vibe that consumers get when they make their daily/weekly/monthly visit to Starbucks, prompting the coffee retailer to launch the ‘Meet me at Starbucks’ campaign last October, celebrating the myriad reasons people visit, and now offer a free wireless charging service in partnership with Powermat.

Soon to be available in ten central London Starbucks stores, the coffee chain has just finishing rolling out wireless charging zones across some 2,000 branches in the States and will soon follow suit in the UK.

By collecting a ‘ring’ at the till point and connecting it to their phones, latte lovers will need only to place their device on a table or counter that has the Powermat charging technology built in, clearly marked with a circular ‘spot’, to reap the benefits.

Having introduced free Wi-Fi to all UK customers in 2011, Starbucks now hopes to do for wireless power what it did for wireless data: solve a real problem for customers.

“We’re always trying to remain at the forefront of digital innovation,” Clare Salter, External Affairs Communications Manager at Starbucks tells Retail Gazette. “We were one of the first to launch a bespoke payment app and to accept contactless cards and now we’re the first retailer on the high street to offer free wireless charging.”

It’s easy to make a day out of a trip to Starbucks. A quick glance at the nearest branch will see a sea of people either conversing with friends or colleagues, or alone with a phone, tablet or laptop.

“There’s no time limit for customers,” Salter adds “they are welcome to pop in or stay all day long, that’s where this new service comes in handy”

Around a decade ago, the issue was connectivity, now Starbucks and Powermat are enhancing the digital experience by addressing that ‘missing’ feeling consumers feel when their phone is down. Launched in 2009, Powermat started the wireless charging category, and when 750,000 units were sold immediately, it’s clear that a gap in the market had been filled.

“We’re here to make sure you’re not caught without power” explains Carlo Chiarello, Chief Solutions Officer at Powermat.

“Using Powermat is very similar to plugging your phone into the wall, only easier. That was the thought process around the user experience. We created Powermat to ensure a simple transferral of energy.”

Chiarello added: “Starbucks is global and we are massively excited to be working with them.”

By the end of January, the first locations that will be supporting the service are:

•Princes Street


•Wardour Street

•Pentonville Road

•Harewood Place

•Berkeley Street

•Great Portland Street


•Fleet Street

•Euston Tower

Published on Wednesday 21 January by Veebs Sabharwal

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