THE CLARUS Blog

Why Starbucks is Giving Rewards Members New Ways to Pay

Starbucks has always had a loyal following and, given the current global pandemic, company officials realize it’s more important than ever to focus on their best customers.

Listening to your customers should always be a priority and Starbucks officials make that a priority.

Starbucks Rewards, a highly successful loyalty program that had 19.4 million members as of March 29 this year, continues to be relevant.

But one of the ongoing requests regarding the program was to make it easier for members to use the program, especially payment flexibility in its rewards program.

Starbucks Rewards members have always had to use pre-loaded gift cards for payment.

But, beginning this fall, customers can link their credit or debit cards, or PayPal accounts to pay within the app.

If program members want to pay in person, they will be able to also use cash, credit or debit cards, or select mobile wallets and still earn points.

So, why the move away from loading money into the app? And will it increase loyalty?

 

Success Comes from Focusing on Your Loyal Customers

One of the reasons Starbucks has more than 19 million members in its loyalty program is because of its keen focus on its customers.

A customer-centric focus always keeps brands on top of their games and ahead of their competition.

Given this many program members, Starbucks has an inordinate amount of customer data to leverage in a positive fashion.

Through these program updates Starbucks has shown it pays close attention its most loyal customers.

One of the biggest barriers to entry for the program was not enough payment options.

When the Starbucks Rewards program preloaded gift cards as payment, it was restrictive.

Now that members can link their credit or debit cards or PayPal accounts to pay within the app, the program becomes less restrictive, more appealing, and more relevant.

The removal of a barrier to entry allows members to link their rewards accounts to their payment method of choice.

Once again, Starbucks has displayed its customer-centric focus by simplifying its loyalty program to allow for a variety of payment options.

 

If You Want to Build Loyalty, Listen to Your Customers

It might sound cliché, but here’s one aspect of loyalty that is tried and true:

The best thing a brand can do is to truly listen to its customers, address their pain points, and provide relevant and attractive benefits.

Starbucks has always done this and continues to do so.

And the coffee chain has reported increased revenue from its loyalty program members during the pandemic.

In the U.S., 48% of sales in the last week of May came from Starbucks Rewards members, up from 44% in the quarter ended March 29.

Starbucks Rewards members being able to use the program app through various payment card options has been a top request among customers for quite a while.

Some brands might pay lip service to customers by saying they listen to them.

But brands like Starbucks that truly listen and understand pain points are easily identifiable because they stand out among their competition.

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