Starbucks is giving away $1M in gift cards

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Starbucks is giving away $1M in gift cards

By Gina Acosta - 12/05/2017

Retailers could learn a marketing lesson from Starbucks, which is launching an exciting new incentive to get people through its doors all holiday season long.

The retailer is arming its baristas with 50,000 $20 gift cards — roughly $1 million — instructing them to give them away to shoppers throughout December.

Starbucks hasn't revealed where and when these giveaways will take place — only that its "Give Good" squads of baristas will be handing them out in stores and at "community celebrations" across the country. 

“The inspiration behind Project Give Good is simple, we want to brighten the holidays and delight our customers,” said Kris Engskov, executive vice president of U.S. Retail for Starbucks. “We hope the gift of a Starbucks Card will give customers the opportunity to take a break or catch up with a loved one over coffee.”

In addition to the giveaways, Starbucks is doubling down on perks via its loyalty program.

Customers who make a purchase at Starbucks using their mobile app or a registered Starbucks Card in December will automatically earn Gold status in Starbucks Rewards for a year. Gold members earn rewards by collecting Stars, that are redeemable for free food and drinks.

Starbucks is also giving Rewards members an opportunity to win prizes, including Starbucks for Life, Starbucks for a Year, Starbucks for a Month, Starbucks for a Week, and millions of Bonus Stars. This year, there are new ways to earn bonus game plays with new challenges and ways to instantly win prizes such as food, beverages and select merchandise. Also new this is year, Starbucks customers who are not Starbucks Rewards members can enter their email for a chance at one Starbucks for Life prize.  

Starbucks Rewards members accounted for 36 percent of sales last quarter. Making it easier for people to get gold status and boosting perks could be an effective way for Starbucks to boost sales through the end of the year.