Customer Loyalty and the $5 Cup of Coffee

Posted by & filed under customers, digital marketing, engagement, loyalty, rewards.

You could buy a cup of coffee before there was ever a Starbucks.  And the only questions you had to answer were regular or decaf and small or large.  Starbucks released their earnings report last week and as I read through the news, I marveled at the results as they continue to outpace all of the competition and turn in astounding numbers.  We are a digital marketing agency so why am I writing about Starbucks’ earnings you might ask?  Because the reason they cite for their success, above all others, is their loyalty program.  We can all use more loyalty in our businesses, can’t we?
I admit, I frequent Starbucks quite a bit and am addicted to using my iPhone to pay.  Yes, Starbucks is in fact a technology company too.  I order my cup of Joe, have the Barista scan my phone, and then check it for my rewards.  Did I reach my Star level to get a free cup next time I come in?  Starbucks has made it so easy for me to use their loyalty program and pay with my phone, I pretty much buy coffee for whomever I’m with just for the sheer pleasure of showing it off.

What lessons can we apply from Starbucks?  It’s not good enough to just have a loyalty program, but you actually need to set it up in a way that makes it easy for customers to use, you actually must want customers to use it, and the program must provide real value. 

There is nothing more valuable to your business than your current customers.  Reward them.  Give them something to talk about.  Turn your customers into brand advocates.  What websites or mobile apps do you frequent that offer compelling loyalty programs?


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