Starbucks Opens the Doors Wider to Loyalty

Starbucks Opens the Doors Wider to Loyalty
Starbucks has some 20 million consumers enrolled in its loyalty program.

One of leading and most influential retail loyalty programs is getting an upgrade.

Starting in fall, stores operated by Starbucks in the U.S. and Canada will offer more payment options for Starbucks rewards members.

Now, Starbucks Rewards members can earn stars on purchases when paying via a Starbucks Card. That will change in the coming months as Starbucks expands the possible payment methods that customers can use on their way toward earning free drinks, which in turn could draw more consumers, more repeat visits and more spending.

Those loyalty program consumers will “be able to scan their app and then pay with cash, credit/debit cards, or select mobile wallets and earn Stars toward free items,” the retail chain said. Members will also be able to save these payment methods directly in the Starbucks app to earn stars when paying.”

The retailer said that Starbucks Rewards members can continue to earn loyalty stars by paying with their Starbucks Cards and within the loyalty app.

“Having a connection with our customers, whether in our stores or digitally, allows us to anticipate their needs and deliver the products and experiences they are looking for. Our customers have shared with us that they would like more options to pay and earn Stars in the app as a Starbucks Rewards member, in addition to the Starbucks Card,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks chief marketing officer. “We expect the expansion of payment options will appeal to an even wider customer audience and deepen engagement with our members.” 

Starbucks Rewards has about 20 million members.

The upcoming change to the Starbucks Reward program comes amid a broader trend — one in play before the pandemic — of loyalty taking on even more importance for retailers.

Recent research conducted by IDC Retail Insights, sponsored by Precima with retailers in the U.S., U.K., France, Italy and Spain, for instance, found that retailers in the five countries have a strong commitment to personalization, with 73% identifying it as a top-three marketing initiative. They view it as contributing to their financial performance, now (72%) and in the future (86%).

Not only that, but personalization and other features are becoming more important parts of retail loyalty efforts. The research found that U.S. retailers ascribed highest importance to auto-replenishment, while online product recommendations rated most important by U.K. retailers. Personalized offers and deals were almost equally valued in the U.S. and U.K.


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