Starbucks is testing out a new theory that going cashless will improve user experience.
The experiment is going down at a location in downtown Seattle, inside the Russel Investment Center (Zillow headquarters), which is now only accepting plastic and pay-by-phone orders from its customers.
The coffee behemoth, which tests a lot of pilot programs at its home base in Seattle, have singled out the location to get feedback from customers and employees.
Robert Safian, editor of Fast Company, told KIRO 7 that going cashless is the wave of the future, saying, “The reason is it’s easier. It’s easier for retailers and easier for us as consumers.”
He says the downfall is that paying via mobile device has its own privacy issues.
If you’re paying for everything with your phone as opposed to with cash, you can be tracked. And there is the fear of electronic fraud.
As the Seattle Times reported last January, Starbucks actually blamed the growth of its mobile ordering app for slow retail sales because the stores were getting overcrowded by people who were just there to pick up orders.
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Starbucks executive chairman Howard Shultz recently told CNBC that he has no plans to get rid of baristas, saying, “I don’t see a day where AI or robotics is going to replace the humanity of Starbucks. The equity of the brand is based on that intimacy between our customers and our people. That’s why we invest so much in our people.