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Starbucks, the premier coffee chain, has revamped its strategy in the past year by opening juice bars, introducing a blonde roast coffee, and even offering alcohol, live entertainment, and savory dishes at some of its US locations. This strategy appears to be an effective response to McDonald’s efforts to appeal to more coffee drinkers. Where Starbucks really shines, however, is in engaging its customers and improving their online and in-store experiences. New digital initiatives include an improved mobile and tablet website that enables fans to design, customize, and share coffee-related content online. Recent service innovations include Starbucks’ US partnership with Square, an electronic payment service. The partnership will enable mobile payments across the brand's 7,000 US stores, letting customers pay by credit and debit card as cashiers scan the Square Wallet app on their phones. In another sign of Starbucks' commitment to mobile payments, the deal also involves a USD $25 million investment in the startup and a director's role for Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on its board. The brand continues to expand internationally, and entered the Indian market this year — positive steps towards its goal of generating half of its revenues outside the US.
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