Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

Starbucks transforms seasonal sales strategy via mobile event reminders

Starbucks is driving springtime sales with a new microsite for its Happy Mondays events that lets visitors add the special offers to their mobile calendars, ensuring that fans will not miss any of this month’s weekly promotions.

The beverage giant is promoting its weekly March sales events via social media, encouraging followers to join the My Starbucks Rewards program to take advantage of the special sales occurring each Monday afternoon. Once consumers reach the promotional microsite, they can add the events to their mobile calendars, signaling a new customer engagement strategy for Starbucks.

“This tactic not only drives consumers to the store for these exclusive offers, but perhaps even more importantly, it draws more consumers to its app, which is ultimately where Starbucks has the opportunity to engage on a larger scale with both longstanding and new customers,” said Mary Beth Keelty, chief marketing officer of PM Digital. “Because interested customers also need to join the Starbucks Rewards program to access the special offers, it creates even greater potential to build up customer loyalty and advocacy.

“With its program already being one of the nation’s most successful – with over 11 million active members – a revamp with Happy Mondays and other enticing rewards are likely to garner more sign-ups, and more potential relationships for Starbucks to nurture.”

Easing into spring
Starbucks, well-known for its seasonal promotions and beverages, is easing customers into the warmer weather by rolling out a series of weekly events, called Happy Mondays. Each Monday in March, My Starbucks Rewards members can stop by their local store after 2 PM and enjoy a special offer.

Last Monday’s offer gave consumers a 50 percent discount on any Frappucino blended beverage, while next week’s promotion will invite individuals to stop in for an afternoon drink and receive half-off any food item.

The March 21 event is specifically geared toward Starbucks mobile application users, as it will give each customer 3 bonus stars – Starbucks’ version of rewards points – when they order and pay ahead using the brand’s app.

Starbucks has been promoting Happy Mondays across its social media channels, with a heavy focus on Twitter. The coffee chain’s current Pinned tweet encourages followers to “Become a Monday person and join Starbucks Rewards to celebrate Happy Mondays each Monday in March from 2-close.”

Users can then click on the accompanying link to be taken to the mobile-optimized Happy Mondays microsite, which can be accessed at

There, Starbucks fans can peruse each week’s special deals on their smartphone, and tap the “Add to calendar” button if they want to make sure they do not miss the promotion.

Clicking on the button will give consumers the option of adding the event to their Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar or Yahoo accounts.

Individuals who already have these calendar apps downloaded can simply tap a few buttons and store the date on their mobile devices. This way, their smartphones can alert them prior to the start of each week’s event.

The catch is that consumers must be members of the My Starbucks Rewards program to participate in Happy Mondays. If users are visiting the microsite and are not members, they may click on the “Join Now” button in the top right corner.

Consequently, Starbucks is well-poised to experience a surge in rewards memberships, as well as sales. As consumers look for ways to put the winter behind them and welcome the beginning of spring, Starbucks is ensuring its brand stays at the forefront of mobile users’ minds.

“It’s clear that the goal for Happy Mondays is to extend an olive branch to consumers as they transition to this new rewards program which begins in April,” said Joseph Anthony, founder and CEO of HERO Group. “On its own, an ‘add to calendar’ button is far from innovative.

“However, with this ‘members only’ promotion being limited to consumers using the Starbucks mobile app, incorporating an events-adding button to sync to a user’s iPhone or Android calendar is a smart way to close the loop and keep the user experience confined to the mobile ecosystem.”

Differentiating from past promotions
Starbucks has previously leveraged a plethora of campaign microsites, Tumblr pages and social media marketing strategies to drive awareness of its seasonal beverages and sales.

Last month, Starbucks brought consumers out of their post-Valentine’s Day slumps by sharing a love-themed music playlist with Snapchat followers, highlighting how the brand keeps its Spotify partnership at the center of its mobile marketing efforts (see story).

Additionally, the brand, which has put the focus on SMS for its seasonal promotions in the past, made a big push on social media last fall as it engaged in a marketing blitz for the return of its Pumpkin Spice Latte that included official accounts for the drink on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr (see story).

However, the Happy Mondays events are differentiating themselves from previous tactics, thanks to the addition of the mobile event reminders. Diehard Starbucks fans will undoubtedly appreciate having their smartphones remind them of upcoming afternoon discounts, which in turn will drive more sales for the retailer.

Other food and beverage marketers may soon take to offering similar functionalities for their limited-time events.

“Like any multichannel campaign, it’s crucial for Starbucks to get the message out consistently across all mobile channels, particularly because this initiative is linked with Starbucks’ mobile app,” PM Digital’s Ms. Keelty said. “To access the rewards, Starbucks-goers must pay via their Starbucks mobile application, and so having the campaign top-of-mind via social media or even mobile email will help create more awareness.”