(Ramesh Pathania/Mint)
(Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

Starbucks doubles its loyalty program customers in India in two years

  • In the last two years, registrations for Starbucks’ loyalty program have doubled from 2,50,000 in 2017 to 5,00,000 now
  • Starbucks is set to add over 25 stores in the country in the next financial year

NEW DELHI : More urban Indians are pushing the demand for American coffee chain Starbucks’ loyalty programme in the country. Starbucks has crossed the half a million-member mark for its loyalty programme, My Starbucks Rewards in India. A majority of these members were added in the last two years, a top executive at the company said.

These members are registered on the coffee chain’s mobile app as well as through physical cards available in stores that offer various benefits to users.

“When you talk about coffee, there is an enhanced and a growing exploration for the beverage among Indians," Veetika Deoras, head-marketing, category and digital, said of the jump in the chain’s loyalty programme members. “Indian consumers have embraced the Starbucks experience and are now making the coffee chain a part of their daily routine," she said.

My Starbucks Rewards was launched in India in 2014.

In the last two years, registrations for the programme have doubled from 250,000 in 2017 to 500,000 now.

Starbucks runs its loyalty programmes across markets. In the US, for instance, active users of the company’s rewards programmes contribute to 40% of sales at the coffee chain.

“Starbucks has developed one of the most talked about loyalty programmes in the world. There is a lot of science behind it, and there is little surprise that consumers in India are opting for it," said Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president, retail and consumer products division, at consulting firm Technopak. Bisen added that the rise in the number of such users speaks volumes about Indian consumers, who are looking for better deals, user experience and customer service.

Deoras declined to share the number of active users for its loyalty progamme in India, but added that the base has become sizeable.

Customers of the coffee chain can typically avail a card from a Starbucks outlet with a minimum top-up of 200. The card then continues to offer various benefits such as free birthday beverages among others.

As of December 31, 2018, Starbucks had 132 outlets in eight Indian cities. It is set to add over 25 stores in the country in the next financial year, Deoras said.

It is also working on bolstering its delivery presence in the country by adding more stores on food aggregators such as Swiggy.

Currently, Starbucks delivers only through some select stores in Delhi, Mumbai and, more recently, Bengaluru through food delivery app Swiggy. Deoras declined to share the company’s plans to add more delivery aggregators to push sales via online apps, but said that it is “committed to bringing this convenience to consumers".

“The rate at which the Indian consumer is evolving, we might see a lot things happening," she added.

Starbucks opened its first store in India in October of 2012. It operates in the market through a joint venture with Tata Global Beverages.

In its December quarter earnings announced on February 5, Tata Global Beverages, the coffee chain’s local joint venture partner in India, said that its Starbucks business in the country clocked 30% growth in revenue driven by new stores and improved in-store performance during the quarter.

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