Starbucks to Offer Ultimate Recharge

David ByrdI’m not sure if the following will increase Internet or Wi-Fi traffic, but it will certainly increase competition for seating at your favorite coffee shop. In conjunction with Duracell, Starbucks will roll out special charging stations built into tables to wirelessly charge your cellphone. The obvious twist here is that with a table and a cup of coffee, you can recharge your batteries as well as your cellphone’s.

 Over the next three years, Starbucks intends to install more than 100,000 Duracell Powermat charge pads into tables in all of its Starbucks and Teavana locations. Duracell and Starbucks found that having a dead battery in your cellphone is one of the most stress-inducing situations, particularly for iPhone users.

If you are unfamiliar with wireless charging, it’s actually quite a simple process that uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy from one object to another. In this case, the user will need a compatible smartphone, or a special backing for their smartphone, in order to receive the energy. The case for an iPhone 5s can be purchased for $39.99, and the Samsung 5 case for as low as $24.77. So, the price to enable your smartphone to take advantage of the wireless charging capability is quite reasonable. It does take a bit longer — perhaps an hour or more — and since inductive charging (the technical name) is less efficient, it also requires a bit more energy. But isn’t that the price of convenience?

With this announcement, has Starbucks become another entrant into consumer electronics, as they claim they may sell the required smartphone cases? Unclear, but it is an acknowledgement that by keeping their customers in the stores longer, or providing a service beyond beverages and food, they will increase their value proposition and improve the customer experience.

David Byrd is chief marketing officer at ANPI and leads marketing programs for SMBs, enterprises and carriers. Prior to joining the company, Byrd was chief marketing officer and executive vice president of sales at Broadvox where he built a nationally recognized channel partner program and award-winning SIP product offering.

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