Starbucks could gain an edge with loyalty as they get ready to turn competition into a brawl.

The Starbucks Loyalty program, one of the most notorious of all programs as it is one of the most iconic customer loyalty programs outside of the airlines industry. However, it is not one without controversy, if you can recall the scandalous switch from being visit based to dollars spent based in 2016 that rocked both the coffee and customer loyalty industries. However, according to Thomas Frank, CNBC (follow him on Twitter), Starbucks is facing fierce competition from some of the most fiercest of foes, craft coffee brands. That right… CRAFT COFFEE BRANDS.

Luckily, for everyone, Starbucks is broadening customer loyalty efforts in order to target both new and lapsed customers, as the article states. Now me personally, am glad, as much as I want to support the little guy, the little green lady has my heart. In that spirit, I’ve included a couple of ideas they could include.

  1. Condensing cards onto one profile. Now, one of the things that drives me nuts the most is the issue with payment processing where I end up having six different cards loaded into the app, with a cent here and a cent there, etc. If they could combine the cards onto one profile, where you were able to use a single identifier to process a purchase no matter which gift card, etc. you’ve loaded onto the system, it would make my life and my OCD a lot easier.
  2. Gifts shouldn’t be individual use, but value based. When I redeem a gift one of the most annoying parts about it to me is that the gift is only a one time use no matter what I buy. Once, I accidentally event wasted a perfectly great free drink on a green tea, which has become a top five regret in my life. They should allow you to redeem gifts based on value, because I deserve that twenty-dollar latte, even if I’m not willing to take that type of risk before work.
  3. Careful communications. One of my least favorite things in the world are notifications. Once I receive one, nothing can occur in my life until it’s gone. However, in the Starbucks app they have a knack of randomly giving me a notification without any real sign with what it’s related to. Turns out, it’s typically a message in my Starbucks app inbox. Granted, these messages in my inbox are typically related to some type of new drink they’re releasing, which as a Starbucks drinker, I could be interested in. However, communications with the client should be reactionary, strategic, and personalized towards me and my individual customers journey. Otherwise, I don’t want it.

Overall, the Starbucks program really is a great example of a well crafted customer loyalty program that contains great utilization of gamified features. However, if Starbucks really wanted to change the game, they would utilize SLP’s decentralized exchange platform for bonus points to incentivize customers to use points from other coffee competitors at locations where there are alternative options, but the craft coffee shops can’t gain footing, such as an International Airport Terminal. Just a thought!

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