Starbucks Isn’t Seeing “Any Of The Noise” Expected Over Rewards Program Overhaul

Image courtesy of Ko Fujimura

Despite the backlash from some customers over the recent changes in Starbucks’ My Rewards loyalty program, the company says the overhaul is going quite well, and that it hasn’t heard anything particularly worrisome. Well, not yet, at least.

This month, the Seattle-based coffee chain changed how it bestows rewards points, or “stars,” handing them out based on how much people spend, instead of how often they visit. For customers who buy a regular $2.50 coffee or other small items, they’ll now have to spend more to earn perks.

On the one hand, Starbucks seems confident that the change will drive up sales over the long term, and says that customer spending is up across loyalty program members.

“We are not seeing any of the noise that has been speculated on,” said Matt Ryan, Starbucks’ chief strategy officer, in a call with analysts reported by the Associated Press.

On the other hand, executives warned that there could be “noise” and “bumpiness” on the horizon over the next few quarters as customers adjust.

If all of the above seems to be a mixed message, well, you aren’t alone. When asked about the confusing signals the company seems to be sending, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz chimed in on the call, dubbing the whole conversation “very odd.”

“We’re building something so enduring and so unique I think it’s going to be one of the most significant changes to the equity of the brand,” Schultz said.

Starbucks expresses confidence in rewards overhaul [Associated Press]

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