Starbucks launches My Rewards loyalty scheme

Starbucks has confirmed the launch of its My Starbucks Rewards loyalty programme in the UK, as first revealed in Marketing Week last year.

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The My Rewards programme offers customers the opportunity to become a “Gold Level member” after 50 visits, which results in additional benefits.

Brian Waring, newly promoted vice president of marketing for the EMEA region, says that the scheme could potentially be extended to offer bespoke offers to members and additional levels in the future.

My Starbucks Rewards will replace the current prepay members cards and all existing cardholders will automatically become Gold members.

The launch coincides with the introduction of Starbucks’ transactional iPhone app that allows customers to pay via smartphone. An Android app will be added later this year.

Starbucks says the scheme, which awards one “star” per purchase, “rewards loyalty, feels personal, and is easy to understand”. Members receive a free drink for every 15 stars collected.

The launch will be promoted by a “significant” press, digital, and social media campaign using the schemes black and gold star creative as well as in-store activity to attract new members.

The programme has already been running in the US and Canada and is the latest initiative Starbucks has introduced to “add further value and give customers more reasons to choose Starbucks” and follows the introduction of free wifi and downloads.

Ian Cranna, the new vice president of marketing for Starbucks UK, says: “We’ve listened carefully and we know that now, more than ever, customers are looking for extra value. This scheme also allows us to be more personal, rewarding the most frequent customers with extra benefits. We also know that fewer customers want to use cash, so putting My Starbucks Reward on mobiles offers a faster, easier way to pay.”

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Just what is it marketers are meant to do?

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Is the role of marketing, as Mark Choueke’s editorial suggests (MW 15 December), to dupe consumers into buying inferior products when he asks: “Whose job is it to build the sort of brand power that sees McDonald’s and Coca-Cola as market leaders despite losing out in blind taste tests?” Bruce HarrisCustomer research managerJeyes

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