Starbucks Expected to Play Loyalty Card
About the biggest news that could come out of Starbucks’ annual shareholders’ meeting today would be if the company didn’t introduce a new loyalty program using its prepaid Starbucks Card.
Analysts, including Howard Penney with Friedman Billings Ramsey, widely believe that Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ CEO, will announce a program that rewards customers for their repeat business with free coffee, discounts or other perks. The intent is to keep Starbucks’ customers in its cafes and not off at some other foodservice alternative.
“Clearly the Starbucks Card is going to be an important component to getting people in the store and keeping them coming back,” Mr. Penney told Bloomberg in a phone interview last week. “You want your most loyal customers to come back more often.”
A formal loyalty program with the Starbucks prepaid card seems to many to be a logical next step for the chain. The company, the Bloomberg report noted, has used it to offer special deals to customers including a recent promotion that gave two hours of free AT&T wireless internet access to card holders.
Discussion Questions: What are the keys for Starbucks or any other company to make a loyalty card program work? How do you think Starbucks could best use its card to create a more meaningful relationship with the company’s customers?