I stopped at Starbucks yesterday morning en route to the office, and since the drive-thru was more crowded than the inside of the store (which alone made me think about blogging about how the “convenient” mode of commerce sometimes becomes the least so) I parked and went inside.
While waiting for my coffee I noticed a small brochure advertising “Starbuck’s Gold” which is apparently a new loyalty program Starbucks is embarking upon. I grabbed the leaflet and my coffee and was on my way.
So while drinking this AM’s coffee – I paged through the details of Starbuck’s Gold. It has some nice perks: 10% off store purchases, free wi-fi access, free refills on regular coffee, etc.
BUT – here’s the kicker – it requires a $25 annual membership fee.
This is not American Express. While membership has its privileges, as they say, in this economy, I think Starbucks is a tiny bit out of order here.
Sure, there are upsell loyalty programs out there. But to attempt to upsell customer loyalty around a product that is already a premium, just reeks of arrogance to me. And Starbucks is not in the kind of position to expect loyalty – according to this report.
I am all about creating loyalty programs. From a CRM perspective, they increase satisfaction, and also the data in a CRM system – as rewards programs tend to make customers a lot better about providing the right contact information. But to demand that customers spend to “prove themselves” loyal is a little over the top, if you ask my opinion…