Starbucks pilots new loyalty card
Starbucks has begun a pilot program in Denver and Vancouver, Canada of a new version of its loyalty card.
Called Starbucks Gold Card, the scheme encourages customers to register their new card by inviting them to sign up to get perks such as a free birthday drink and friends-and-family discounts.
The Gold Card introduction in July came on the heels of a nationwide push that offered customers incentives to register their prepaid Starbucks cards that previously have been anonymous.
Starbucks also recently began a “Treat Receipt” program to encourage return visits. Afternoon customers get a discount by showing a receipt from a morning purchase.
Starbucks has been struggling to maintain momentum in today’s market, due to stiff competition from rivals, and a worsening economic situation that is forcing customers to cut back on luxuries. It seems the daily latte comes into that category.
Starbucks’ first quarterly loss and the announcement of about 600 store closings were clearly triggers for a reevaluation of its customer retention strategy.
Brad Stevens, Starbucks vice president for customer-relationship management, said loyalty programs play a big part in creating better value for customers to ensure that they keep coming in.
“I think there’s a lot of pressure on our customers’ pocketbooks right now, and they’re looking for promotions as a way to still be able to take advantage of life’s little luxuries but save a little money while they’re doing it,” Stevens said.
The Gold Card pilot has seen more than 50 percent of invitees in Denver and Vancouver take the offer, Stevens said. He added that Starbucks has several pilots in other markets that will run indefinitely until the company can gauge how customers respond.