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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

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.