Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can You Be Bought With a Cookie?

Following up on my earlier Starbucks post, The New York Times discusses SB's new loyalty program.

I'm not a huge fan of loyalty programs, although I know many folks who use these programs to save big bucks. The only loyalty programs I use are frequent flyer programs with airlines.

If you are a SB regular, does it make sense to sign up for the loyalty program? What do you get?

You get: two hours of free wireless Internet service a day. The other freebies include syrup and soy milk additions to its drinks, refills of drip coffee and a tall beverage of any sort for people who buy a pound of whole bean coffee.

What does Starbucks get?

The point of a loyalty program is, first and foremost, to grab a bigger share of customers’ spending. Tracking customers through loyalty program account numbers offers companies an additional advantage.

While a couple of syrup pumps doesn't seem like much, according to the article it doesn't take much to get customers to take action in response to a freebie.

What he has found is that it doesn’t take a lot to get diners, for example, to do what restaurants want. One Chockstone gambit involves using the customer’s receipt to make an offer. Return within 10 days, perhaps, and you can get a free dessert, the slip says. “It’s amazing this stuff works so well,” Mr. Lipp said. “What we’ve found is that people can be bought for a cookie.”

What do you think? Can you be bought for a cookie?

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