Barron's cover story: "Starbucks Teaches Silicon Valley a Lesson in Tech: The coffee giant is creating a buzz in digital payments. Why the stock could jump 20%," by Alex Eule:

  • "[T]he company's mobile order-and-pay feature has become a major hit ... The preorders have actually created bottlenecks at Starbucks' counters, as pickups collide with in-store orders. The company is rethinking store layouts and hiring preorder specialists to handle the demand."
  • "In the latest quarter, 9% of Starbucks' U.S. orders were placed in advance. Moreover, nearly a third of all Starbucks' orders were paid for via the company's phone app."
  • "Starbucks has changed consumer payment behavior in a way that should inspire envy in Silicon Valley."
  • "For Starbucks, the mobile opportunity is about driving loyalty and higher spending per customer. ... [M]obile users are required to sign up for the company's free rewards program, called My Starbucks Rewards."
  • "MSR members ... represented just 18% of Starbucks' 75 million customers ... [L]ast quarter, MSR members accounted for 36% of sales."
  • "Starbucks wants to grow the member base and offer more personalization, with triggers like weather and time of day. That might spur a discount on iced coffee during a heat wave, for example, or an afternoon Frappuccino if it's not otherwise part of a customer's routine.".

Why it matters: "The biggest investing story of 2017 is the destruction of value in the retail sector. ... A narrative has taken hold: Bricks-and-mortar outlets just can't compete with digital competition."

Starbucks "plans to have 37,000 stores worldwide by 2021, up from around 27,000 today. About 40% of those new stores will be U.S.-based. Some 5,000 are slated to open in the Asia-Pacific region."

Free link for Axios readers (with lots of graphics)..

Go deeper

33 mins ago - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread


A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.