Starbucks to start rewards scheme
Coffee retailer Starbucks is rolling out a customer loyalty programme that gives customers free coffee refills as well as free add-ons such as soy milk or flavoured syrups.
The programme will be launched in stores in the US and Canada in Apri to combat declining sales, and be available to users of Starbucks prepaid cards or credit cards who register online.The scheme will aim to reward regular customers and increase sales without the need to open more stores.
The refills in the new scheme cover drip coffee, the company said. Users will also receive a free small beverage of their choice with each pound of coffee purchased, chief executive Howard Schultz commented.
The company is also planning new espresso machines, fresh-ground coffee, and a “third place” website for online java drinkers to commune??Starbucks has been hit by a slowdown in first quarter sales growth to 17%, the smallest gain in two years. It has increased its prices and is also facing competition and brand erosion from such as McDonald’s which is offering lattes and cappuccinos. ??
The retailer has already been using its prepaid card to offer deals to customers, saying in February that it will give out two hours of free AT&T wireless Internet access a day to Starbucks Card holders. ??Starbucks expects to open 2,150 new stores by September, 350 fewer than previously planned. It will also close 100 locations.