How Much Does It Cost to Create an In-Store Augmented Reality Experience like Starbucks?

Valeriia Kyselova
Account Manager

Besides numerous industries, restaurant businesses also turn towards augmented reality (AR). At the end of 2017, Starbucks presented its in-store solution that started attracting curious visitors from all over the world.

In its Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Starbucks provides its visitors with a chance to get an X-ray vision of what’s going on in a giant copper vessel using augmented reality. With the Roastery’s AR mobile app, customers can look behind the scenes and get a more in-depth experience of the coffee magic.

starbucks reserve roastery

If you point your mobile device camera over the vessel, you will see this magic. You will be able to virtually penetrate inside the copper cask and see how roasted beans fall into the vessel.

You can see everything that is going on inside the cask before those beans travel to a coffee bar through twisted copper pipes.

Pop-up banners will explain to you the whole process inside. Thus, you will understand the way beans have to go through before they get turned into a cup of flavored coffee.

The functionality of the Starbuck’s AR app

The main value the Starbuck’s AR app provides is educating customers how coffee is made. With augmented reality, the learning process becomes more interactive, entertaining, and exciting compared to just reading information on a brochure or even a web page.

Once a user scans a necessary object with the app, virtual roasted coffee beans start filling up an image of the copper vessel. Then users can observe how these beans are virtually roasted.

By tapping the More Information option, customers can see animation and textual explanation of how the giant cask works.

The Starbucks AR app offers a number of great features. Let’s discuss how it works in detail.

In-store navigation

The app provides a detailed map that can help users find scannable objects at the restaurant.

By tapping the augmented reality scanner hint, users can learn where exactly they should go to reach the necessary destination. It helps visitors save their time walking around the Roastery in search of a certain coffee machine to scan.

Contextual information

For those who didn’t download the application, Starbucks still left a possibility to experience virtual content through a QR code reader. By scanning these codes situated around the Roastery, customers can reveal data unavailable to other visitors’ eyes.

If customers want to learn more how baristas brew a certain type of coffee including the one ordered, they can point their mobile device camera at an icon of, for example, espresso or latte, and read detailed information right on their smartphone screen.

Virtual menu

The Roastery AR app allows users to check the restaurant menu and pick the desired options. To check the menu, users also can point their smartphone camera with the app launched at specific icons at Roastery bars.

To make an order, customers may approach one of the baristas. Having their order placed, they can pay for it with either Alipay or WeChatPay. When it’s complete, users receive a notification where they can pick up their order.


In addition, the app also can generate electronic invoices (fapiao). This is a useful feature for those who work in China-based organizations and want their employer to reimburse an invoice.

To use this function, you should select the “Apply for electronic invoice” option and enter your company name, tax code, and email address. In a moment, you will receive an invoice via email.

augmented reality apps development srarbucks

How much does it cost to build an augmented reality app like Starbucks?

The augmented reality app development cost depends on the time needed for creating a solution and hourly rate of a chosen augmented reality app development company.

Therefore, the higher an hourly rate and the longer the time estimate the more money you will have to spend on your AR solution.

The good news is that an average AR app development cost in 2019 will be cheaper compared to previous years due to released software development kits by Google and Apple.

ARKit and ARCore help developers significantly reduce the time required for augmented reality app development and simplify the process. This all cuts the overall AR app development cost.

When it comes to choosing a mobile platform for your application: iOS or Android, you should always keep the preferences of your target audience in mind.

Jasoren recommends starting with one platform to get a proof of concept since parallel development for both iOS and Android is much slower and more expensive.

Once your AR app proves to have great potential, and you make sure your audience appreciates your solution, you can proceed to build your mobile application for another operating system.

If you’re stuck in-between two platforms, you can take into consideration the fact that building Android-based solutions takes typically more time than iOS since applications based on the Google’s platform have different screen resolutions and are more complicated to develop.

In the case where you need to create an augmented reality mobile app for both platforms simultaneously, you should consider cross-platform development with special technologies such as React Native.

The augmented reality app development cost varies from agency to agency. However, their location may significantly influence how much they charge besides other factors such as experience and professionalism.

So, usually an AR app development time estimate is three months, it means that you will have to spend about $72,000 assuming a 40-hour work week.

Some big-name software development companies charge even more. Therefore, you should wisely choose a service provider.

Price, however, shouldn’t be the main criteria in choosing an augmented reality app development company.  You should check out a given company’s expertise in developing augmented reality solutions to make sure they can deliver a quality product.

Too low rates can mean low quality. Pay attention to guarantees, skills, and feedback from other clients when choosing an AR app development company.

With timely product delivery, high quality of code, and perfect realization, you will be able to save much more in the long-term.

By choosing a low-rate software development agency, you may end up spending more money because of missed deadlines, the necessity of extra code reviews, and incorrect realization of your requirements.

augmented reality companies starbucks

How long does it take to create an AR app like Starbucks’?

Detailed graphics play a significant role in how users will estimate your augmented reality application. The design is the very first thing they pay attention to when they first download and install your mobile app.

Starbucks Roastery AR app has simple flat graphics. So, to save your budget, you can use the same approach.

An ordinary augmented reality mobile app can take from 8 to 10 weeks. The whole AR development process involves building both user experience (UX) and interface (UI) design.

Therefore, creating an augmented reality ecommerce app like Starbucks usually takes from 550 and 680 hours.

The stage of writing code includes the implementation of all app features and their design. This phase involves back-end and front-end development.

The back-end development implies implementing the main logic of your mobile app: how a solution processes data, where it stores these data, and how it manages them – all processes that are invisible to a user.

The front-end development is about implementing features a user interacts with on their mobile screens.

We at Jasoren divide programming into multiple two-week-long iterations. For each iteration, our team plans to implement a particular part of your AR app in advance.

At the end of each iteration when planned features are implemented, we accurately test the written code to make sure everything works perfectly well. For quality assurance (QA), we use both manual and automated testing methods. The QA cost is included in the overall mobile app development price.

Then we provide our customers with a demo to allow them to do a test-drive of the complete functionality planned for a specific iteration.

After that, we form a backlog for the upcoming two weeks. In this backlog, we prioritize required functions and start creating them. This cycled process never stops until your augmented reality app is complete.

Thus, we deliver a ready-to-go augmented reality application within 900-1100 hours without any delays.

augmented reality app for starbucks

How can retailers benefit from the AR app like Starbucks’?

Across the globe, most retailers implement augmented reality to increase their customer engagement.

Walmart created interactive augmented reality campaigns to attract more visitors to its offline stores.

Tesco, a worldwide known British grocery, implemented an in-store augmented reality experience to bring a customer shopping experience to a brand-new level.

Augmented reality ensures an extraordinary customer engagement and significantly improves the way how consumers interact with products. It increases customer loyalty and provides retailers with a wide range of important advantages.


See also: How Much Does It Cost to Build an Augmented Reality App like Domino’s Pizza?

The fantastic news is that augmented reality can be applied in numerous ways. Whatever retailer’s focus is – grocery, furniture, or automotive – both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar stores will significantly benefit from this immersive AR technology.

With augmented reality, consumers can see how a particular item would look in their homes or on them personally (when it comes to clothes) without the need for visiting an offline store or ordering a last-mile delivery.

Besides generating more sales, augmented reality provides improved customer service by offering additional opportunities, which usually are unavailable in the case with typical online shops.

Moreover, according to a survey conducted by BRP Consulting, almost half (46%) of all retailers are going to implement augmented reality solutions in the next five years.

How Jasoren can help you

You always can rely on us. With Jasoren, you can be sure that your AR solution will be completed on time and will satisfy quality requirements. We test the functionality every time we finish working on a particular logical component like a feature or a design element.

We have successfully developed numerous solutions based on augmented reality technology for our clients from all over the world. Jasoren has been building mobile apps for a wide range of industries including retail and restaurant businesses.

You can read more information in our case studies.

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