Leveraging voice to combat the line

Starbucks engaged RAIN to develop a voice-first ecosystem that encourages users to preorder easier than ever before


We’ve all been there. Blurry-eyed and in need of coffee, we enter our neighborhood Starbucks only to be greeted by a line that’s busting out the back. Beyond being an annoyance, it’s also a huge business problem. During peak times, Starbucks loses as much as 20% of business simply because the line’s too long. Not ideal.

To help combat this problem, RAIN developed a voice-first ecosystem that encourages users to preorder easier than ever before. By looking through existing behaviors, we uncovered a cornerstone insights: 73% of users order the same thing every visit. Rather than force users to go through a multi-screen process, users could simply say "order my regular." That required helping them re-architect their product APIs to better support conversational experiences, laying the foundation for the most transformative future touchpoint: voice in the car.

“In terms of conversational experts, I would only hire RAIN. They are ahead of everyone else in the space”

Leigh Anne Dunkin
Former Director of Emerging Technologies, Starbucks



higher monthly cart-size than non-voice shoppers.


Completion rate


also explored additional content


who ordered through voice in-app often stopped pressing buttons, defaulting to 
voice for all interactions.

Voice is becoming the preferred input mechanism for all things mobile (30% of mobile search is being done through voice).


Crawl. Walk. Run. This is often a good way to think about building voice experiences. With Starbucks, the road to the car was built on a single feature.

What is the biggest friction point for your brand?
What is the smallest element of that problem?

Let's talk.

Read more about this project


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