The Starbucks Rewards program that already has loyal customers grabbing extra iced lattes on hot afternoons is about to become even more tempting.
The Seattle-based coffee behemoth said in a Tuesday (July 21) news release that beginning this fall, customers who use the Starbucks app to order at company-operated stores will no longer have to pay for their purchases through the app in order to earn stars in the rewards program. Instead, customers will be able to use cards, cash or yet-to-be-identified mobile wallets.
Customers also will be able to have these transactions count toward the accumulation of the stars that once sufficiently amassed trigger free drinks.
“Beginning this fall, all members can choose to pay with their preloaded Starbucks Card and earn two Stars per $1, or earn one Star per $1 spent when they scan and pay with a credit/debit card, cash, or select mobile wallets at participating stores,” the company said.
“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,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks chief marketing officer. “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. We expect the expansion of payment options will appeal to an even wider customer audience and deepen engagement with our members.”
Like nearly every other company with a customer-facing business, Starbucks is scrambling to find ways to recover from the damage inflicted by COVID-19. In June, Starbucks said sales at many of its locations were on pace to be off between 10 and 20 percent year over year for the fiscal year that ends in late September.
Starbucks already has told landlords it will need discounts on lease payments for at least a year.
The Starbucks loyalty program is high on many rankings of similar initiatives. Inbound marketing firm Hubspot says it costs five times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing customer.