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Starbucks expands loyalty program beyond cafes

4:02 PM, Mar 20, 2013   |    comments
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NEW YORK (AP) - Starbucks is offering a perk to get more people to sign up for its loyalty program: letting members earn points when they buy bags of its coffee at supermarkets.

The company said at its annual meeting Wednesday that the new perk will roll out in May. Adam Brotman, Starbucks' chief digital officer, noted during a presentation that the loyalty program is important because it helps the company collect "good customer insight" that can be used to tailor online ads.

Starbucks had announced last year that it would let customers earn points through branded retail products, but it didn't say when it would be available. Customers would have to go online and enter a code on Starbucks coffee bags to get their points.

The program will expand in the fall to other Starbucks products sold in supermarkets, but the company hasn't specified which products.

Starting next month, customers will also be able to earn points at the company's recently acquired Teavana shops.

Brotman said the company is adding about 80,000 loyalty members a week. By the end this fiscal year, he said it plans to push membership to 9 million, which is the number it had at the end of October. Currently, he said there are about 6 million members.

A Starbucks spokeswoman did not have details on how spending patterns change when people join the loyalty program.

The My Starbucks Rewards program was launched in 2009 and gives people free drinks and food based on the number of points earned. Customers earn one point for every purchase, regardless of how much they spend.

There is no fee to enroll. The company's previous loyalty program cost $25 a year and gave members 10% off purchases.

(Copyright © 2013, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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