Starbucks is one of the most popular coffee chains in the world. From its secret menu to “Happy Hour” deals, the Seattle-based coffee chain knows how to engage its customers — time and time again. Perhaps, the most innovative campaign that Starbucks has implemented is its customer loyalty program. Starbucks Rewards has become a model for other businesses looking to create effective loyalty programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic shifted how consumers got their coffee. Many people started to make coffee at home early on in the pandemic, but this trend is now starting to change due to the return to work. The customer journey for coffee lovers has changed, but to what extent? Are customers still loyal to the Starbucks brand? We analyzed return visits within 3 days to Starbucks stores between January 3 and June 6, 2021 to determine exactly how loyal their customers are.
Starbucks Customer Loyalty for 2021
In 2021 (so far), an average 21% of Starbucks visitors return again within 3 days. A significant number of Starbucks customers return even more quickly: 10% of Starbucks visitors return again within 1 day and 16% within 2 days. Only 1% of Starbucks visitors are seen at another coffee shop during the same time. This indicates that Starbucks visitors are not only regular coffee drinkers, but extremely loyal to the Starbucks brand.
Starbucks Customer Loyalty by State
Customer loyalty to Starbucks varies by state in the U.S. Consumers in Washington D.C., Rhode Island, and Nevada return to Starbucks the most often. In contrast, people living in Mississippi, Vermont, and Maine do not return to Starbucks as frequently. Why might this be the case? Some states have more Starbucks locations than others. California is known to have the most Starbucks locations while Vermont has the fewest. In some areas, like Washington D.C., you can’t go a block without running into multiple Starbucks (sometimes even on the same street). If customers don’t have access to a Starbucks near them, then they are more likely to go to a different coffee shop.
Viewing the same data on a map, it’s clear that Starbucks customers in western states are a bit more loyal to Starbucks than customers in eastern states. Could this be due to the number of Starbucks locations within the state or consumer fatigue? Perhaps a bit of both. Las Vegas, a popular tourist destination in Nevada, beat Seattle and Bellevue, Washington as one of the cities with the most Starbucks locations. On the East Coast, consumer fatigue might have kicked in, causing some coffee lovers to switch up their morning (or afternoon) routines.
Building a Customer Loyalty Program
To keep up with Starbucks, brands will need to build out better customer loyalty programs. Improving a customer loyalty program takes time, but it can be a worthwhile investment. When brands are conducting market research in support of a loyalty program, they should rely on both online and offline data. Real-world data solutions such as location intelligence provide information on where consumers go in the real world. This data provides companies with insights into true customer behavior, preferences, and interests. By using location intelligence, businesses can create loyalty programs that resonate with their customers.