A good friend is loyal. They remember your birthday. They know your favorite color, your ring size, your shirt size. They buy you great Christmas presents that are a perfect fit for you – because they know you.

The Starbucks Card could be quickly turned into a Loyalty Card if Starbucks used data to understand better customer likes and preferences at Starbucks. (Maybe they’re working on it?)

Here is how it would work…

For example, let’s say you typically buy a mocha or caramel flavored latte at Starbucks. Starbucks would know this from your purchase habits. The holiday season arrives, and Starbucks sends a personalized message announcing the Gingerbread Latte is coming soon! Or perhaps they provide you a cardholder-only taste preview of the new flavors Cherry Jubilee Mocha or Chestnut Praline Latte based on your preferences, not just what their promotion is.

Starbucks sees you purchased a Verismo coffee brewer last summer. Knowing this, they could email and offer for a trial pack of the holiday blend pods. Starbucks benefits in creating a sampling opportunity of these coffee flavors, and may drive an incremental visit. But, the real reward is being highly relevant to customers.

Like that loyal friend, they would understand customers enough to know what they like and prefer.

  1. You first identify what you have in common (they like sweet coffee drinks, you sell coffee drinks),
  2. Then you show genuine interest in them (how can I make you happy?), and
  3. Continue to nurture the relationship by building a bond over time (if you value the relationship don’t be afraid to show it!).