Starbucks announced on Friday that it’s partnering with Uber to launch on-demand delivery at 2,000 locations. The partnership is a sign of the “near me” local search era for retail, one in which proximity and convenience have become paramount, outweighing even loyalty.
The partnership will go into effect by summer 2019 and will be accompanied by mass renovations. The coffee giant is revamping its brick-and-mortar stores for new digital capabilities, enabling delivery and mobile orders.
CBS reports that economists have called into question the exact nature of the delivery partnership, wondering if Uber Eats will eat at profits with the service charges it will append to Starbucks delivery orders.
But Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has reportedly offered a more optimistic narrative, pointing out that customers tend to spend more when they order via delivery, a trend that could boost margins even in the face of growing operational costs.
Joe Zappa is Street Fight’s managing editor.