Why Is The Starbucks Member and Gift Card Program So Successful?

When it comes to industry-leading cardless membership programs, few companies have achieved the kind of wide-spread success and consumer engagement that Starbucks has with their My Starbucks Rewards program, their own in-house loyalty scheme designed to attract and retain customers in the highly competitive world of chain coffee shops.

Since the company founding on March 30, 1971 in Seattle’s storied Pike Place Market, this iconic coffeehouse chain has grown to become one of the world’s most recognizable brands. At last count, they have over 23,500 storefront and kiosk locations worldwide that serve both their signature dark-roasted coffee blends and a variety of grab-and-go items like sandwiches, premium bottled juices, and pastries.

The Starbucks Loyalty Program

The My Starbucks Rewards program is designed to both attract new customers to the coffeehouse chain and increase repeat business and sales among current customers, and stock analysts agree – it’s worked – revenue increased at the coffee chain by a whopping $2.65 billion in the first quarter after the cardless membership program was launched in 2009, a gain Starbucks executives credited to their wildly popular rewards program.


While the total number of consumers who have signed up for the My Starbucks Rewards programs is continuously changing, at last count, there were more than 10 million register accounts with the program – that makes the coffee chain’s cardless membership program one of the most popular, and successful, customer retention programs in the world.

The Appeal of the Starbucks My Rewards Program

Although loyalty schemes are commonplace among coffee chains and quick-serve food outlets, the My Rewards program stands out as a real leader, making it worth a closer look for anyone looking to setup a member system within their own enterprise.

So, why exactly is Starbucks ‘winning’ at the customer loyalty game?

To start with, the success of the Starbucks cardless membership begins with the fact that they’ve got an incredible mobile app – one that’s easy and intuitive for their customers to use. With this program, there is no card to carry (or lose), and consumers can enjoy instant access to their membership using any data-enabled smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Starbucks also uses their cardless membership program as a customized marketing tool by integrating their multi-tiered star-based rewarded scheme into purchases outside of their coffee shops, like at grocery stores.

They’ve included extra incentives with a ‘Gold’ tier, and they’ve made it easy to purchase and add gift cards through their loyalty rewards program, helping to encourage customers to not only shop at Starbucks for their own coffee and snacks but to use the coffee shop as a type of one-stop solution for seasonal gifts.

Want To Set Up A Member System Like Starbucks?

If you’re interested in harnessing the power of cardless membership for your own business, call or email us today to get started with your own loyalty system.

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