Starbucks Expands Loyalty Program to Grocery Aisle

Rewards Program Will Include Packaged Coffee Sold in Stores, Teavana Brand

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Starbucks customers will soon be able to earn loyalty points at the grocery store.

Starbucks packaged coffee
Starbucks packaged coffee

Starting in May, customers can put their Starbucks packaged-coffee purchases bought in grocery stores toward their MyStarbucksRewards, allowing them to redeem points for food and beverages at Starbucks locations. The program is expected to expand further into the grocery aisle with other Starbucks products --presumably Frappuccino bottles and the like -- later this fall.

Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks, announced the program at the company's annual shareholders meeting, calling it the world's first "cross-channel multibrand loyalty program."

Newer Starbucks brands, such as Teavana, a tea retailer it acquired in December, will be part of the loyalty program starting next month. Registered customers who make purchases with a Starbucks card or through its mobile app at any of Teavana's 300 retails locations can earn Starbucks rewards points.

Mr. Brotman said the coffee-chain giant expects the program to increase membership to about 9 million members by the end of fiscal 2013 from 4.5 million active members at the end of October 2012. Starbucks currently has around 6 million members.

"From leveraging and expanding our strong global business partnerships to bringing innovation to our customers and each of the markets and channels in which we operate to expanding our broad array of digital customer touch points and deepening our ethical-sourcing model, Starbucks is continuing to grow with passion and intent to become one of the world's most relevant, admired and trusted brands," said Starbucks president-CEO Howard Schultz in a statement.

Earlier this week, Starbucks announced the purchase of a 240-hectare coffee farm in Costa Rica as part of its "ongoing commitment to ethically source 100% of its coffee by 2015." The company said the move is part of its efforts to "mitigate climate-change impact and ensure long-term crop stability" and expand its existing $70 million ethical-sourcing program. The new farm in Costa Rica will act as a farming research and development center.

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