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Why Starbucks’ Loyalty Program Is So Successful


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Starbucks, which is one of the largest coffeehouse chains in the world, also happens to have the most successful loyalty program in the US. Millions of consumers worldwide drink coffee on a daily basis, and Starbucks continues to cash in on the popularity of this energizing drink. The more people go to Starbucks to drink coffee, the more they are rewarded, thanks to “My Starbucks Rewards,” which is Starbucks’ famous loyalty program.

Starbucks’ previous loyalty program, which was known as the “Gold” loyalty program, had a $25 membership fee and provided members with a 10% in-store discount across the board. However, Starbucks ditched their old loyalty program in the face of dwindling sales. Their new loyalty program, “My Starbucks Rewards,” has proven to be a raging success.

How It Works

It is free to enroll in Starbucks’ loyalty program. Customers can load any denomination onto a gift card and then register the card to protect the balance and start collecting stars. Because customers load cash on the card, it makes them feel as if the drinks are practically free when they go to Starbucks and redeem their credits.

Every time a customer purchases coffee at Starbucks, they earn one star. The more stars they earn, the bigger the rewards are. When customers register for the Starbucks loyalty card, they are at the Welcome Level, which includes a free birthday beverage.

Once customers earn five stars on their Starbucks loyalty card, they reach the Green Level. At the Green Level, customers get free refills of brewed coffee or tea, free select syrups and milk when they order a beverage off the menu, a free beverage when they buy whole bean coffee, and free trial offers.

When customers accumulate 30 stars, they reach the Gold Level. Customers at the Gold Level receive a free drink for every 15 stars, a personalized Gold Card that recognizes them as preferred customers, and customized offers and coupons.

Mobile Rewards App

The success of Starbucks’ loyalty card program can also be attributed to its mobile rewards app. Over one million mobile users have Starbucks’ mobile rewards app. With this app, customers can use their phones to pay for their orders. They can also check their loyalty program account information in real-time on their phones. Additionally, the app delivers special promotions to users and locates stores.

Initially, critics were skeptical about Starbucks’ new loyalty program because they thought that it was too complicated and difficult for baristas to promote at the register. However, Starbucks effectively trained their baristas to up-sell the loyalty program, and many customers hopped on board. Making membership in the loyalty program free certainly helped.

Additionally, the mobile rewards app further contributed to the loyalty program’s success because when other customers in line see people using their mobile phones to purchase coffee, it arouses curiosity and encourages more sign-ups. The Starbucks loyalty card program has also been successful in encouraging repeat business because many customers go to Starbucks and order drinks, just so they can earn additional stars.

To learn more about how to build a successful loyalty program like Starbucks download our FREE eBook and have one of our loyalty experts contact you to develop an customized loyalty program.

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