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Starbucks' Holiday Strategy: Deep Discounts, Loyalty Programs

Starbucks' Holiday Strategy: Deep Discounts, Loyalty Programs

Amid slipping sales, Starbucks Coffee has unveiled several plans to boost holiday consumer spending.

This year, the coffee titan will sell five $20 gift cards for the discounted price of $80 — the first time ever that Starbucks has offered a gift card for less than face value. These gift cards, available only at discount retailer Costco, have been flying off shelves. In the promotion's first month, the company has sold nearly 1 million gift cards.

Starbucks is also rolling out its new gold-card loyalty program. The gold card, which can be purchased for $25, allows cardholders 10 percent off most items except gift cards and digital downloads. The company anticipates that millions of gold cards will be sold to customers who are existing cardholders of the regular Starbucks card, as it will save them more money.

Holiday gifts will also be at a lower price point this year. Many stores will also have $10 or less gift tables, and some items, such as CDs and coffee samplers, will retail at a price that is roughly 13 percent lower than similar items last year.

Do you think these promotions will increase sales, or is Starbucks trying too many different things at once? Will you be signing up for the gold card, or racing to Costco for the discounted gift cards?


Join The Conversation
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Since a lot of people forget to use gift cards, I'm sure Starbucks will get there monies worth. But, I would never buy a loyalty card. I know I wouldn't get enough use out of it for it to be worth the $25.
corcar86 corcar86 8 years
I think their ideas are decent but I def wouldn't go for the gold card. I just MIGHT make up what I spent for it in a year but because of tightening my belt a little on spending I have been trying to make all my coffee at home (o how I miss my caramel lattes, white chocolate mochas, and caramel machiatos :( ) but it also irks me on principal to pay for a discount membership from places (the main reason I switched from barnes and nobles to borders although it's tough to stick by this cause barnes and nobles is closer lol) I mean borders gives great discounts and coupons for free plus they have an additional free perks program on top of that makes me feel like a valuable customer who wants to shop at a specific place
dootsie dootsie 8 years
Why not make their coffee just a bit cheaper? I drive by every day, but I only treat myself to it once in a great while. It it were just a bit cheaper, I'd stop by on the regular. And it's not as if the economy's to blame--I've always been a bit shy to drop $4 on a drink! I know they made a name for themselves by being a little elitist, but it's time to get real.
Treowth Treowth 8 years
You ask if Starbucks trying too many things? I think not. Opportunity knocks. Purchase $100.00 of gift cards at Costco for $79.99. The savings will pay most of the $25.00 Gold Card membership. The Gold Cards savings will soon be gravy.
mlen mlen 8 years
o yea i prefer dunkin coffee definitely but i prefer starbucks lattes- and i've been trying to have more lattes than coffee cause of the milk- gotta get calcium some how!
Dr-No Dr-No 8 years
If I knew someone I could give a starbucks gift card to for the holidays I would go to Costco and pick some up now! But everyone I know prefers Dunkin... Now if DUNKIN does that, I'd be all over it...
hippiecowgirl hippiecowgirl 8 years
I like seeing them do stuff like this rather than all their gimmicky "new" foods and coffee.
Renee3327 Renee3327 8 years
I think the Starbucks gift card discount is great, especially around the holidays, I just wish that they weren't being sold only at Costco. As for the gold card, $25 is a lot to spend up front for 10% savings. You would have to spend $250 to recoup the cost of the card and that works out to about a latte a day, 7 days a week for 2.5 months. Not really worth it in my opinion...
eadavenp eadavenp 8 years
i'm telling my dad about this one, he buys starbucks cards for lots of people (like me) as gifts... plus he likes to go to the bucks himself. I would use a gold card if someone gave it to me but not buy one for myself.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that it can't hurt to try this. it's funny - this morning my mom told me that one of the websites that she can redeem points at had the starbucks card for a discount - so she could buy $20 cards for $18 - or something like that. not as big a discount but still something at least right?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
people are realizing that a 5 dollar cup of bitter coffee is crazy! I prefer dunkin doughnuts myself
mlen mlen 8 years
i like hte gift cards idea- except i don't have a costco membership. but my friend does so i can have him buy it for me. cause i easily spend 100 bucks at starbucks over a 3 month span- so getting 20 of that for free would be nice
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I wouldn't get either, since I only do Starbucks once a month at most, but they both seem like decent ideas.
JaeB JaeB 8 years
They may get me with the gold card, but I don't know. With my usual spending, if I have to buy one, it'll take me about two months to recoup the cost of the card, and by then it'll be the holidays--the whole point, right?--but then I won't be buying nearly as much coffee because I'll be off and not up every morning! Now, if the card were 15% off, then I'd be more likely to go for it. I would save as much as the value of the card in about a month, not two. I'm not spending money just because I get a 10% off card, and I'm not spending money on the card if it's going to mean I'm at a loss for a couple months, lol. Having cash in your pocket is more important than ever nowadays. What I think would work best for Starbucks is what bookstores do...offer 25% - 30% off occasionally, in coupon format. That almost always gets me in a store.
laurlee laurlee 8 years
good for my eggnog latte addiction and not quite as bad for my bank account:)
javsmav javsmav 8 years
nice. the only time I find starbucks irresistible is during the holidays. it's something about the red cup!!
hanako66 hanako66 8 years
I think that it is a great idea and will totally try to pick one up at costco
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