Starbucks loyalty program_gamification

Starbucks attributes the success of its loyalty programmes to gamification

In Featured on App, Loyalty & CRM by lizhen3 Comments

Starbucks loyalty program_gamification

They’ve got sugar, spice and everything nice; but is gamification the Chemical X that gives the beverage giant its unfaltering loyalty?

Apart from being the largest coffee chain in the world, Starbucks also takes the cake for having one of the top ten most successful loyalty programs in the world for the year 2013 according to BigDoor.

A recent article by Neil Davey, Editor for My Customer.com, explained that the secret behind the glitz of the ‘My Starbuck’s Rewards’ program is not only increased customer convenience through the integration of payment methods and mobile technology, but the golden touch of gamification. Essentially, what gamification does in a marketing context, is add that element of fun to your strategy to capture the attention of the customers; making them want to be engaged with the brand.

In the case of Starbucks, subtle gaming elements are present in the form of a star (point) accumulation system, membership level increments with a sufficient number of purchases and the redemption of rewards in the form of free food, drinks and drink refills. Another really snazzy element of the ‘My Starbuck’s Rewards’ system is the absolutely random jackpot prizes awarded to customers regardless of membership level. Customers under the loyalty scheme are randomly presented with downloadable songs and other freebies, just because. If that’s not awesome, I don’t know what is.

Thinking of introducing gamification to your own loyalty programme? These are the key points we’ve taken away from Starbucks’ success model:

  • Understanding your customers – Create your program with the focus on what your customer’s want, instead of what benefits your company can reap
  •  Shake things up a little! – An element of surprise is always a plus point – nothing bores a customer more than routine rewards
  • Set clear goals and objectives – Fun is great and all, but it is important to make sure that all your gamification efforts lead to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
  • Recognize the efforts of your customers – Constantly reminding customers of their membership status and activity level can act as a natural call-to-action for customers with naturally competitive natures who just want that next level achievement unlocked.

In fact, we sat down and spoke with gamification leaders about how you can effectively integrate gamification into your loyalty reward system.

Want to find out more about the drivers behind customer loyalty and what works? Don’t miss the Hong Kong’s Customer Festival 2014 and Asia’s Customer Festival 2014 visit the website for more information.

[Image – Favim] [Article by: Kimberly Wong]

Comments

  1. Will Young

    Interesting article. Do you think collecting stars each time you buy a drink equates to gamification? Not sure I agree that what Starbucks is doing is gamifying loyalty. Take away the star-earning element and just have points and it really exposes the fact that it’s a digital stamp card, like Caffe Nero, just not as rewarding. Of course the random acts of kindness are a nice touch, but don’t constitute gamification either in my book.

    Doesn’t gamification need to have some element of evolution in earned status for continued participation, either when you’re ‘playing’ against yourself (e.g. Nike Training Club) or if you’re playing against others in a Leaderboard?

  2. Mark Sage

    Hmmm… I agree with Will, sounds like a standard loyalty programme design to me. For true gamification i’d be looking for some element of achievement framework or social currency. Points+tiers+rewards = loyalty. That said, I think the overall customer experience that Starbucks is building is creating a much stronger customer loyalty element than the points programme alone. Building a more frictionless purchase process and the integration of wider interactions into the recognition framework also ensures the programme is more than just a electronic stamp card programme.

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