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Starbucks launches mobile-coupon loyalty program


Seattle Starbucks Coffee is inviting patrons of its Guadalajara and San Luis Potosi-based cafes to participate in a new loyalty program that is only accessible via mobile devices.

Unlike traditional loyalty programs that require shoppers to keep frequent-shopper cards handy to earn discounts, Starbucks’ mobile program sends a text message to participating visitors’ handheld devices alerting them they have a discount or promotion awaiting them. The message also has an embedded two-dimensional bar code.

Consumers use their phone to display the electronic barcode image during checkout. Baristas use a dedicated scanner, provided by Barcelona, Spain-based Codilink, to read the bar code, and the unit electronically sends all stored information to a database.

The chain uses this information to monitor consumer patterns and report on the benefits awarded to the customer. The promotion can be used multiple times and it delivers different rewards with each use, making the coupon a new type of loyalty reward program.

“We are convinced that the technology allows us to be closer to customers and offer benefits that are actually usable,” said Ivan Ahedo, director of marketing for Starbucks Mexico. “The technology allows us to monitor and analyze the behavior patterns of our clients so we can get to know them better and offer them more benefits."

Starbucks expects the program, which launched on March 16, to increase customer traffic and recognize and reward its loyal customers.

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