Free Soy or Shots at Starbucks

Starbucks recently did a smart business move, I think. If you charge up a gift card and register it online, they’ll give you some free extras when you get your coffee. For me, I get soy milk in my lattes, so that’s now free ($0.40 off). You can also get extra shots or flavors.

This is smart because of a few reasons. For one, credit card fees. If people would use a credit card for each drink every time they go, Starbucks gets charged a transaction fee (maybe $0.30) plus a percentage of the order (about 2%). So on a $3 drink, they get charged by their merchant services company $0.33. So they’re not really losing anything since the cost of soy to them is not $0.40 a drink. It’s less than that. Secondly, they get marketing data. When you register online, they get to know a little bit about you and can also do some extra, personalized marketing to you. Thirdly, they build loyalty and a sense of community.

Besides all that, we save money, which we’re going to spend there anyway. So it’s a win-win.

I’ve been using my card for years and I would even get $5 credited to my account from time to time. I’m not sure if they’ll do that so much now, but that was kind of cool, too.


UPDATE: I found out that the Silk brand soy milk (vanilla) that Starbucks gets is different than what you can buy in the store. It "has less fat and is more delicious."