Lyft and Starbucks are mixing up the customer loyalty world with a new partnership that combines the businesses under the Starbucks customer loyalty program. With the new contract, Starbucks loyalty members will receive points for each Lyft ride they take and Lyft drivers will automatically receive Gold Member status in the program. Other features in the works include a functionality giving riders the option to gift Starbucks cards or drinks to their drivers and a ride program for Starbucks employees who need transportation to work.
This partnership comes as part of Starbucks’ effort to grow their “digital loyalty ecosystem.” “Our digital loyalty ecosystem can help strengthen Lyft’s ability to attract and retain customers, while at the same time accelerating the incrementality of redemption of rewards,” says Adam Brotman, Chief Digital Officer at Starbucks.
The Lyft partnership is not the only one Starbucks has cooked up. They also recently announced deals with Spotify and The New York Times in which loyalty members can earn points for purchases made through the companies.
Customer Loyalty has been picking up strength for years, morphing from numerous, obnoxious keychain cards to rewards tied through email to apps. Retailers should take notes from this latest development, the ways companies can work together under a mutually beneficial loyalty program, and the seemingly unlimited ways customer loyalty can be implemented.
Retailers could follow a similar idea and partner with companies whose products or services work in tandem with their own. Sporting goods retailers could consider loyalty programs combined with gym memberships, beauty manufacturers could partner with salons and spas, and so on. The benefits lie in the fact that these sorts of partnerships don’t foster competition but instead encourage customers to use both companies’ products and services even more.
As customer loyalty continues to grow, retailers should consider the value in creating a creative program that fits the needs of their business and the lifestyles of their customers.