A look at the top 3 ideas on My Starbucks Idea right now.
I thought it would be fun to take a look at the top three most popular ideas currently on My Starbucks Idea right now. For those who do not know, Starbucks has an idea suggestion website called “My Starbucks Idea.” It was launched to the world on March 19, 2008 – and when it was new, there were only “up votes” and a person could not vote an idea down. From what I know, Starbucks got the idea for My Starbucks Idea from Dell’s IdeaStorm website. I have a very old blog post (ugh – the blog was really new and I was still getting the hang of this) on the history of MyStarbucksIdea.com here.
Today, I glanced at the MyStarbucksIdea, and noticed that top three current ideas are all great topics and worth talking about:
The first idea is “Star Milestone Incentives.”
I love this idea! I think, to some degree, Starbucks has quasi-launched this idea with the many “Star Dash” competitions that have been offered over the course of the last twelve months. There is a current fall “Star Dash” going on right now. If you don’t know what I mean by “Star Dash,” I wrote an article about them when they were brand new. There was an August 2012 Star Dash which I wrote about here. There is a current fall Star Dash going on right now.
And well, the other fantastic thing about this idea is that the person who created it, “Diele” is an awesome partner who just got promoted to Store Manager! Congrats on having the number one MyStarbucksIdea idea and promoting to store manager this week! I really wanted to give her a shout out!
The second idea is “Notify barista on-screen of card reward.”
The touchstone of this idea is that customers would like to be prompted of when there is a reward available to use. I don’t think this is a bad idea at all. I think that people (both partners and customers alike) sometimes think that every customer is the same.
Actually, when I think about this idea, I am reminded of the 80/20 rule of business. About 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. I think this fits Starbucks well. In fact, this Business Insider article mentions that 20% of Starbucks customers come in more than 16 times each month. For the 20% group of customers, they know how to access their rewards. If you are visiting Starbucks 16 times a month, you are likely use either the iPhone or Android app to help track your rewards. And by the sheer fact that you’re going to Starbucks that much, it is likely that you have a company-operated location nearby and can easily redeem your rewards. By the way, if Starbucks loses one of these customers, they are much more costly to lose than the 80% group. It’s possible you’ll have to have many customers walking in the door before you’ll find another 20%-er. By using Google, I found that 20% statistic, but to bolster that, I say that have heard similar statistics from Starbucks by listening to events posted on the Starbucks Investor Relations page. And this reminds me, when I worked retail briefly (at Eddie Bauer), I never assumed much about a customer from one snapshot in time. You never know how much a customer is spending elsewhere, when not at your specific store.
Now, getting back to this idea: if you are in the 80% group of customers, the fact of the matter is that you’re earning rewards at a much slower rate than the 20% group. It’s possible that you receive only a few Lucky Dozen rewards each year. For this group of customers, the rewards program probably can feel bewildering. They don’t come in to Starbucks often enough to really understand what’s going on. They may not be tracking rewards with a smart phone app. I can easily understand how this group can easily “miss” rewards. They slip right by. It would be a very nice courtesy if Starbucks found a way to notify customers that there is a reward available. In addition, that courtesy will go a long way to create goodwill. What Starbucks really hopes to do is take some of that 80% group and convert them into more frequent customers – like the 20%-ers. People, generally speaking, have an extremely high internal sense of reciprocity, when “given” something (“here’s your reward!”), that can go a long way into enticing them to return more often.
Lastly, the third most popular idea is “Stars for EVERY purchase.” I don’t really want to say all that much about this. All I do know is that people have a very strong sense of tit-for-tat. Sure, people might say “Oh, I’m not a score keeper,” but even if we don’t want to admit it, deep inside there is a bit of tit-for-tat in most everyone. That strong sense (which is indeed related to the strong sense of reciprocity) nags at people, and they think, “This isn’t right. It’s not a fair score if I buy5 coffee mugs, I should get more back than the same one star, as if I bought one cookie.”
If you are going to debate how stars are earned in the comments, I quickly delete your comments that are over-personalized, nasty, and rude. If you can’t intelligently argue and articulate your thoughts without attacks, maybe this isn’t the blog for you. 🙁
All I know is this: This area will forever be an area of confusion, angst, and anxiety until Starbucks comes with some alternative means of earning stars. And, Starbucks is no small business. They make billions in profit annually. I bet someday that the card program will change again. Someday – but it might be years down the road.
I have heard somewhere that they might start rewarding stars on a price scale. Not sure how true but thought it was interesting.
@Crystal – The “Star Dashes” are by invitation – Starbucks selects some subset group of MyStarbucksRewards members (there are millions and millions of them) and invites them by email. I will be totally honest: I do not know how people are selected. I have heard it said that it is just random. But I have also heard it said that it’s a technique those to Starbucks who have not been in a while. I don’t know. I have received most of the email invites over the past year, but not all.
@Leiza – Doesn’t surprise me at all! I have heard that there have been tests of that kind of thing, but all I know is gossip.
Great post! I totally agree that Starbucks should find a way to notify customers of when they have reached the Lucky Dozen. Even though I have an app to keep track and notify me when I have a reward, a lot of people don’t. Also, it’s SO frustrating when I go in and buy a drink and pastry in the same order but only get 1 star. I’ve learned to just do separate transactions to get the 2 stars. Why can’t Starbucks find a way to acknowledge the 2 different items in 1 transaction, and reward the customer accordingly!?
Definitely excited about this current Star Dash too! On my way to my local store to get an iced mocha for myself 🙂
Melody: Love this post. A few comments from @LivingUnited
1.) I’m no longer receiving STAR DASH from Starbucks even though I get other emails — sales promotions, new products, “you’ve got a star on your card,” etc. I’m one of the 20% of customers that goes 16+ times/month, so they’ve got me hooked & perhaps yanked me off the promotions & are aiming at the 80%? Redbox did the same thing — my husband & I were getting different emails (I purchase a lot more & he was getting the free offers; I wasn’t).
2.) Yes, it’d be nicer if stars were based on # of items purchased or dollar value — a $1.25 bagel = a free star just like my expensive venti frappuccino ($5+), and often I treat 2-3 people in one purchase so am disappointed to get one star for $15. Oh well, I’ve found ways to work around that as best I can. I love Starbucks & am glad to have the free drinks.
@AmandaP – Glad you like! As for the star dashes – you might get more in the future! I can definitely say, I personally seem to have received a random number of them!
@K9_mama – Good luck on your star dash. 😉
I always get an email telling me that I have gotten a reward AND to let the barista know I’m using it. So one doesn’t need a phone to keep track of it. The only thing the email doesn’t tell you is that the reward does have an expiration date…not that I EVER let any of mine expire. lol
I also get a lot of the Star Dash, and just got this latest one too. And I am in Starbucks Every. Single. Day. Gotta have my Starbucks! 🙂
@Sharl – I appreciate that you notice your emails and you are in the 20% group. But for someone who receives maybe 3 or 4 of those emails in a whole year, that one email just might be enough. It’s so easy to miss one email in your email-deluged in box. And, if it went to your junk mail, even easier to miss. Sharl, you are a 20%-er! 🙂
I got my very first star dash a few weeks ago, and I went nuts going out of my way to earn it! I’m certain I’m the type of person they count on when they send those things out. I would love it if the barista could tell you about your current rewards and offers like they do at Panera. I think they would get more people taking advantage of them if they did that. As for the stars, while I’m perfectly okay with they way they are now, the only reason I’d like to see it changed it so the star grabbers would stop torturing the baristas and holding up the lines to ring their items up separately. Although I suspect most of the people asking for that don’t recognize that is SBux gives you one star per item instead of one star per purchase, they will surely double or even triple the number of stars you need to earn a reward.
In regards to the last idea, it’s currently one star for every TRANSACTION. So, really, you are able to rack up multiple stars in one visit. It does get frustrating as the barista ringing up 10drinks for one customer during peak hours. But to answer the question, yes – you can and should be rewarded for 3 mugs (~$60+) as you would for a $2.25 cookie.
Melody another wonderful post! I got the fall star dash promotion and was quite surprised to get it because I just completed the other one. I really wonder why they are using these promotions so often? Have they lost customers when they switched pastries? I certainly have not been impressed with the pastries I have tried. I also wish for all the purchases I make at SB that they would return to a star per item rather than the whole purchase.
I’ve signed up for my first dash, I have never been able to go to Starbucks that often in a short amount of time because I need to watch my budget, but we will see how it goes.
I’m surprised that one of the “top 3” was not “bring back the soy” or “give me almond milk” because I constantly see that on MSI.
I got the latest star dash promotion and I love that they remind me via text message on my phone and by email.
I wonder if some emails from Starbucks are going into folks’ spam folders. Starbucks does use, unintentionally, some trigger words that will trigger a dump to spam, particularly if they are using free email services like Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook/Hotmail.
This link gives just a few examples of spam triggers:
100 Spam Filter Trigger Words
I just love Diele!!! She is going to be an awesome manager and has had some of the best ideas ever 🙂 It has been a pleasure working shifts here and there with her. 🙂 Go Diele!!!!!
I saw “Stars for EVERY purchase” and my heart skiped a beat, don’t do that to me Melody!
If Starbucks had started with a program that was say, one star for every $10 spent, then people would think of this current program as weird. I think it’s important to remember that if Starbucks wanted to reprogram registers to make it so that you could only earn a specified number of stars within a time period, they could. The fact that they haven’t is interesting.
All we can really do is look backwards for guidance. Since 2008, there have been 3 possible loyalty programs a person could have been enrolled in. We know Starbucks can change! We know they can give out a lot more stars – there have been several bonus stars promos this year, and numerous star dashes. Those Starbucks dashes probably cost the company millions – way more than a few extra stars. If even 200,000 people make it to the finish, there would be like a million dollars spent. That’s probably a conservative number.
I often say that with Starbucks the more I know, the less I know. And, with Starbucks it’s really hard to say that anything ‘should’ be one way or another. In fact, it’s hard to know what Starbucks >really< intended.
I am disappointed I haven’t heard of the Star Dash before! My partner is in Starbucks daily (and sometimes multiple times a day) so maybe that’s why. He has been loving the stars on bags of whole beans bought at Target promo, though we bought one recently& the code had already been stolen, so that was a huge disappointment.
I suspect the star dash is an attempt to boost sales from regular customers and maybe have them increase their frequency. I got the most recent star dash. Essentially I’ll be spending between $31 to $42.50 for the $5 e gift card(I usually get either a tall refresher or a tall frap when I do buy with an occasional venti mocha coffee slurpee for the spouse). Seems like it would be more cost effective for myself to continue my routine and buy the $5 card myself(I gift myself $15- $25 a week for my Starbucks habit). May or may not get what I consider an extra bonus drink depending on spousal schedule. As good as Starbucks is I don’t see myself getting multiple drinks on multiple days to get to 10 without someone else getting the caffeine. I’m probably one of those cusp customers you talk about. I found out I was eligible for the dash when I reloaded my card on the 23rd in the evening. The promo probably was already a week in. I frequent Starbucks a bit but I don’t have an app tracking my purchases. I generally find stuff out when I go to put more money on my card.
@Cwalt – Hi there! I think fundamentally, the Star Dash is designed to drive frequency. It goes back to that 80/20 rule. The super-frequent customers drive a lot of business.
Though from all the many comments I’ve read about Star Dash promotions, I am starting to believe it is just random who actually gets them. I know that if it were aimed at less frequent customers, I would never see one, and I have received most all Star Dash invites.
One more thing, subscribe to this blog and it will be easier to keep up with what Starbucks is doing. 😉
I didn’t realize there was an ideas page. Very cool. At my own work we have an Ideas at Work to help improve processes and policies. I like how that is also used at Starbucks. The rewards notification sounds great for those customers who may not realize and may use their card more when learning they can use their reward for being a frequent customer. I go often but sometimes forget I have a reward waiting to use.
I have one basic drink I get on each Starbucks visit. I’ll mix it up on occasion but usually stick with my regular. Is there a way to create a bar code for my drink that I could keep on my Iphone app? I could then put it under a scanner at the drive thru so it would automatically print out a sticker for the barista and save them a bit of time or guessing how many sugars I want.
Thank you for the shoutout Melody! Trying to ponder my next great idea. Also, thank you Mick for the lovely comment! I truly inspire to uplift both the partners and customers I see on a day-to-day basis.
@Diele – I was happy to see your idea landed in the #1 spot! Congrats! And congrats on your promotion too!
I had an idea concerning a breakfast drink. My son likes Strawberries and Cream . You could put instant breakfast in it and you would have all your vitamins. Ready for the day!
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Where do you find out about the star dash?