The international chain of coffee houses Starbucks announced changes to the rules of the current loyalty program in the US market.
Starbucks Rewards needed a makeover amid the growing importance of mobile apps and loyalty programs for fast food customers around the world.
The new Starbucks Rewards program eliminates tiered membership status, which gives coffee shop customers more opportunities to earn stars. Now, to receive bonus drinks, there is no need to reach a certain status in the program. If earlier the status and the corresponding rewards had to be earned with each purchase, now bonuses can be received instantly: for example, an additional shot of espresso for 25 stars, or coffee products from 400 stars. At the same time, Starbucks noted the rule according to which the accumulated "stars" burned out after six months. True, the innovation applies only to the use of prepaid cards, as well as special Starbucks Rewards' Visa cards launched last year.
The new program has already received a number of negative responses from regular customers of the network, who believe that the accumulated points are artificially devalued. Although the program theoretically allows you to earn small rewards faster, it requires significantly more spending to get truly large bonuses for "stars".
Thus, innovations can lead to a decrease in popularity among the permanent Starbucks audience, which is an important channel for the company. According to Starbucks, a loyal customer base spends three times more on average than the rest of the chain. If the updated version of Starbucks Rewards fails, the company will be forced to look for new ways to attract its most active audience.
By January 1, 2019, Starbucks Rewards has increased by 14% to 3 million active members, according to the company's own estimates. Recall that the last changes to the Starbucks loyalty program were made at the beginning of 2016, when the main criterion for accruing rewards was not the number of purchases made, but the amount of money spent by the client. Whereas previously a "star" was issued for every purchase, since 2016, Starbucks Rewards customers have received two "stars" for every dollar spent. In Russia, the rules of the program remained the same - "stars" continued to be credited for each purchase, regardless of its amount.