Starbucks Corp., the world’s largest coffee-shop operator, is teaming up with Duracell Powermat to let customers recharge mobile devices wirelessly instead of hunting for available wall outlets in stores.
Customers can place their compatible devices on so-called Powermat Spots on counters and tables to recharge them, Seattle-based Starbucks said in a statement. While shops in Boston and San Jose, Calif., already offer the service, a national rollout in company-operated Starbucks stores and Teavana outlets began in San Francisco Thursday. The company operates more than 20,500 stores worldwide.
Coffee-selling chains have long experimented with ways to encourage customers to stay longer, using music, comfortable seating and earth-toned walls. More recently, free Wi-Fi and mobile payments have been key to wooing customers attached to their smartphone devices. Starbucks began offering free Internet in 2010 and started testing a service this year that allows customers to order items ahead of time.
Duracell Powermat is a venture between Procter & Gamble Co.’s Duracell brand and closely held Powermat Technologies. Its Powermat Spots comply with the open standard set by the Power Matters Alliance, whose members include AT&T Inc., BlackBerry Ltd., HTC Corp., Huawei Technology Co. and Microsoft Corp., among others, according to the statement.
Starbucks, which operates about 4,500 stores in the U.S., fell 1.1 percent to $73.96 Thursday. The shares have dropped 4.6 percent so far this year.