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Report: Starbucks to test mobile ordering

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle – Starbucks Coffee Co. is planning to pilot mobile ordering in an undisclosed U.S. market by the end of 2014. According to Re/code, the pilot will let consumers place orders through the company’s mobile app.

Starbucks definitely intends to roll out mobile ordering chain-wide at some point, and has created a cross-departmental team to work on issues such as how long a hot beverage can stay warm, the report said. The retailer expects the program to boost customer loyalty.

In addition, Starbucks is reportedly considering allowing other companies to use its mobile app for in-store ordering, although that initiative is currently in the discussion phase and is not a definite plan yet.

“We want to get mobile ordering right first, but you could be hearing more about us in the mobile wallet or universal loyalty space sooner than later,” Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman told Re/code.

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Survey: Speed of delivery key to holiday shopping

BY Dan Berthiaume

Ann Arbor, Mich. – Almost nine-in-10 (88%) of consumers consider speed of delivery to be more important during the holiday season than at any other time of the year. According to the Holiday Fulfillment Report from CFI Group and EBay Enterprise that surveyed more than 500 consumers, 96% of respondents said guaranteed delivery dates are important when choosing which online retailer to purchase from.

Another 46% indicate late delivery will cause them to look elsewhere before making another purchase from the retailer. While promotions will encourage approximately one-third of consumers to make a future purchase after a late delivery, the damage done is enough to push 11% of shoppers to completely abandon the brand.

More than 40% said offering two-to-three-day shipping is the tipping point that encourages them to purchase. Also, 94% of shoppers who use in-store pickup of online purchases count unavailability as important when deciding which retailer they’ll shop.

With 57% of shoppers noting that customer service call center wait times are longer during the holiday season than at any other point in the year, providing other ways to have issues resolved is crucial. Interactive chat is a popular option, with consumers calling out speed (39%) and convenience (30%) as benefits. In addition, nearly half will try self-service options, when available, to resolve customer service issues.

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Report: Actor settles discrimination suit with Macy’s

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Rob Brown, an actor best known for his role on the HBO series “Treme,” has reportedly settled a discrimination lawsuit against Macy’s and the city of New York. According to Reuters, Brown’s suit accused three Macy’s security guards in a New York store of handcuffing him, publicly accusing him of credit card fraud, and marching him through the store before harassing and mocking him in a detention cell for an hour in a June 2013 incident.

The incident happened following Brown, who is African-American, presenting his mother with a $1,300 gold watch he had just purchased in the store. Brown’s suit also alleged that once the guards learned who he was they changed tone and offered to get him a police escort to his mother’s college graduation. The suit also charged New York City with racial profiling violations.

Settlement was for undisclosed terms. Three other similar discrimination suits are currently pending against Macy’s. In a statement, the company said it has zero tolerance for racial profiling by its personnel.

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