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The Starbucks app is so popular it may be bruising their business

(BUSINESS NEWS) Many look up to the Starbucks brand as a trend setter, but they’re rethinking their mobile innovations as sales suffer – what now?

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The magic of virtual ordering

I never understood coffee memes until I started working retail and it became my lifeblood. When it’s too busy where I’m working for any of the employees to duck in the back to make coffee or wait in a line, we love the Starbucks app.

It’s great for Saturday mornings when there’s already a line outside of the door. Instead of completely panicking, my fellow employees and I turn to the magic of virtual ordering.

bar
I can’t be gone long enough to wait in line, but I can dart to the nearest Starbucks and back in record time.  It’s like I’m going for the gold in speed walking. I walk in, grab extra sugar packets and straws, shout thanks to the lovely baristas, and power back to home base. It feels like having a Disney FastPass — I get to zoom past the line and get my treats while everyone else is stuck in line.

Balancing customers’ needs

With the Starbucks app, you can customize things that you’d normally feel too needy to ask about in person. I can get two pumps of vanilla instead of the regular four without feeling like I’m annoying the baristas. However, the convenience of the app means people are zipping in and out of the store quickly, which isn’t good for business.

There have also been problems balancing the needs of in-store customers with those who ordered through the app.

Last quarter, baristas had trouble keeping up with the massive influx of orders from the mobile app. This caused backups, leading some walk-in customers to leave due to the extended wait time.

Additionally, the less time customers spend in the store, the less likely they are to make impulse purchases.

As one of the first adopters of a mobile payment system, Starbucks is pioneering the industry. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like it’s entirely working out for them quite yet.

Sales took a dip, now what?

Last quarter sales were abysmal, partly due to a change in the company’s loyalty program.

With the previous system, customers received rewards for each transaction, leading some people to break up huge orders into individual transactions. Starbucks switched from a transaction-based system to a dollar-based one to root out those who were backing up lines with multiple transactions. Apparently people were pissed about their new star earning potential, contributing to a slump in national sales.

However, changes to the app may help increase customer satisfaction and keep people buying things in-store and via app. Too much demand is actually a pretty good problem to have. In fact, according to Reuters, AB Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore describes it as a “high-quality problem.”

Starbucks figured out how to get people into its stores and hand over their money. Now they just need to sort out the volume problem with the app.Click To Tweet

So far, several stores have added one or two baristas specifically focused on mobile orders and payments during peak hours. Starbucks’ spokesperson Linda Mills also noted that executives are considering testing out notifications alerting customers when their orders are ready. This would alleviate some of the back up at the in-store counters that are often filled with people who over or underestimated what “ready in 3-7 minutes” really means.

While I’m not always a fan of Starbucks’ business practices, I’m a huge fan of hybrid ordering. So I hope Starbucks works out their app issues so other companies can successfully follow their lead.

#SBUXapp

Lindsay is an editor for The American Genius with a Communication Studies degree and English minor from Southwestern University. Lindsay is interested in social interactions across and through various media, particularly television, and will gladly hyper-analyze cartoons and comics with anyone, cats included.

Business News

Ending a dismal year, Samsung says goodbye to CEO

(BUSINESS NEWS) Following a tumultuous year, Samsung now must face their CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun, stepping down.

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Among exploding phones, recalled washing machines and an indicted former chairman, Samsung has had a rough year. Just as they start to get back on track, they have one more crisis to deal with.

Kwon Oh-hyun, Samsung CEO, has officially announced his departure.

In a letter to the employees, Kwon announced his plans to leave the company by March of next year. His words touch on all of the typical sentiments, like that he “had been thinking long and hard about (leaving) for quite some time,” and that he wants to “move on to the next chapter in his life.”

What Kwon doesn’t make clear are his exact reasons for leaving.

He mentions that Samsung is in an “unprecedented crisis inside and out,” without sharing any specifics. Via his own words, Samsung needs to reshape their company to keep up with the ever-changing IT industry.

Kwon believes that young, fresh leadership could be the answer that Samsung needs.

Though Kwon’s departure may seem like another hit for the company, it could be a new chapter for Samsung as well.

And it is a change they desperately need. Recently, Samsung has made the headlines with scandal after scandal.

Earlier this year, Jay Y. Lee, former Vice chairman, was found guilty on multiple charges of bribery. The charge, which Lee is now serving five years in prison for, also resulted in the impeachment of South Korean President Park Geun-hye.

Samsung also lived through two major recalls this year. They officially took the Galaxy Note 7 off of the market after various accusations of batteries overheating led to fires.

Samsung also recalled 2.8 million washing machines because their “violent vibrations” caused some users to be injured.

Major scandals like these are enough for any company to flop. However, Samsung is still in the game. Kwon’s letter calls for the company to start anew, which is exactly what they need to do to stay afloat.

Of course, creating devices that do not cause injuries and fires will be a start. In addition, new leadership will keep the company relevant and hopefully, revive their reputation.

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Business News

Identity-protecting roller stamps are a must for any office

(BUSINESS NEWS) Your identity is one of the most valuable things, that’s why Guard Your ID has created a stamp for when shredders won’t work.

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The massive Equifax hack made nearly everyone feel vulnerable, but the truth is that every day we knowingly engage in activity that puts our privacy at risk.

Just think of how many times you give up your telephone number when signing up for a new magazine subscription. Or the numerous times you thoughtlessly threw away mail containing confidential information.

There are so many opportunities to accidentally reveal private information but luckily, there are an equal number of ways to prevent it. Though you may think that identity theft could never happen to you, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Of the various tools invented to help you protect your identity, one of the newest is actually very simple. The company Guard Your ID has recently introduced privacy protection rollers and stamps. These gadgets are simple, quick and effective to help shield your identity on virtually anything.

The oil-based ink works on both glossy and non-glossy surfaces without smearing or rubbing off. These stamps work by creating an encrypted pattern which makes text unreadable.

Though shredding is another effective way to protect your identity, the rollers and stamps are more environmentally friendly. At some centers, shredded paper cannot be accepted as recyclable material. In addition, you can stamp more things that you can shred.

For example, you may want to cover up a label on a prescription bottle. The protection stamps are more versatile than shredding, and also more cost effective.

An Identity Protection Stamp can be purchased for under $20 and has a shelf life of 2-3 years. A wide format roller is also available for larger surfaces. In addition, refillable ink can be bought for the wide rollers.

It may seem like a nuisance to start stamping every label, bank statement and mail that contains any piece of private information on it, but in the end, it may be worth it. Just think of how much time you will spend freezing your accounts and recovering your identity if it is stolen.

It may seem silly, but today even a simple stamp goes a long way in protecting your identity.

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Business News

Zuckerberg used VR to highlight hurricane Maria destruction

(BUSINESS NEWS) Mark Zuckerberg tapped into his Occulus VR conference abilities to highlight the damage Hurricane Maria did to Puerto Rico.

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We know at this point that Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, but it can be difficult to understand the true extent of the damage without being there. We’ve seen some images and some video but Mark Zuckerberg is taking it to another level.

In a new partnership with the Red Cross, Zuck is taking to virtual reality to assist relief efforts.

In a presentation from Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, Zuckerberg took Facebook users on a 360-degree tour of the hurricane destroyed island, using a combination of artificial intelligence and satellite imagery to determine areas with the most significant need.

Explaining his use of technology and its purpose, Zuckerberg said, “We use artificial intelligence to build what we call ‘population maps’ so you can look at satellite imagery of an area and get a sense of where it is that people actually live and the density of different places and where there’s infrastructure going to in those places. That’s going to help the Red Cross figure out where people are who need help.”

He also went through Facebook’s plans to restore internet connectivity on the island, which has been struggling to get power and resources back after the category 3 hurricane slammed the island with 125 mile per hour winds last month.

Zuckerberg said his company has already sent employees to the island to investigate damage and get networks working properly.

Speaking on the importance of internet and its integral role in the island’s ability to communicate domestically and abroad, he said, “When you are in the middle of a disaster like this, it’s really important that people have access to the internet. But it’s also important so that when relief workers go down there, they can coordinate with each other and know where people need help.”

There has been a bit of blowback from the VR tour though. A few of Zuck’s critics are calling him “tone deaf” saying that having the avatar chit-chat in front of flooded and destroyed home made it seem like he was cashing in on a natural disaster to plug his Occulus brand.

While his intentions were probably in the right spot, no matter how it came off, this is the first time that VR has been used for disaster coverage and we’re sure it won’t be the last.

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