The Great Starbucks Giveaway

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How to incentivize employees and customers is a constant question for many oil and lube shop owners. Though there are a seemingly endless number of potential answers, most miss the mark in one way or another. Maybe it’s too complicated, expensive or there’s some other issue, but it always seems to be something. Perhaps this is one problem, though, that does have a silver bullet.

A certain national chain of coffee shops based out of Seattle may have the perfect solution for rewarding employees and/or customers for their service and patronage. Admit it, everyone goes to Starbucks at least once in a while, and it’s certainly nice to not have to spend money on that pumpkin spice latte, iced peppermint white chocolate mocha with soy or other long-winded caffeinated beverage.

Starbucks has done for premium coffee what McDonalds once did for the hamburger, and now everyone has their favorite drink. Chances are you’ve already given or received a Starbucks card as gift at some point. It’s something nearly everyone will appreciate and use, which is unusual in today’s polarized world.

Starbucks offers a variety of card options to fit every need and budget. If you’re considering purchasing Starbucks cards to use as a promotional give away to promote your business, there are some things to keep in mind. First, it’s important not to use Starbucks as an incentive for new customers to come to your store. In other words, a free Starbucks card should not be the cause or motivation for a potential customer’s first interactions with your shop. However, you can use them as a gift for existing patrons. There’s going to be some overlap, which is fine as long as your intentions are clear. The primary thing to remember is Starbucks won’t let you use their name or logo to draw in new customers.

If you wanted to run a promotion giving away a Starbucks card with a premium oil change, for instance, you still can. The catch is that you have to leave the Starbucks name out it in your advertising. All you have to do is say something like “Receive a $10 gourmet coffee card with the purchase of a premium oil change.” The important thing is your business should be front and center as the one offering the services and promotion. Thankfully, just about everyone will know exactly what you mean.

Provided the target of your campaign is existing customers and you use language that describes the Starbucks card as a complimentary gift or treat for your customers rather than just a free offer, you are allowed to use the Starbucks branding or an image of the card itself in the promotional materials.

Another great use for Starbucks Cards is as part of an employee incentive program or as an end of the year gift. As previously mentioned, just about everyone appreciates free coffee so offering Starbucks cards as a reward for exemplary performance, a prize for your employee of the month or in some other way as a gift to your employees is a great idea.

The Green Siren offers a wide variety of card options. These include an assortment of standard cards with a wide selection of artwork and messages like “Thank You,” “Happy Holidays, ”It’s On Me This Time,” and more. In addition to traditional plastic gift cards, e-gift cards are an option. If you really want to take things up a notch, Starbucks offers co-branded cards. This option allows you to upload your business logo for printing on the plastic gift card itself. This is a great way to build your brand cache and remind people of who you are every time they swing by the local Starbucks for a treat. You can also add a custom message in addition to the logo. As you likely guessed, co-branding is the most expensive route. Starbucks requires a minimum order of 15 cards (each must have at least $5 loaded onto it), there’s a one time set up fee of $150 to enter your logo into their system and a customization charge for cards with a value of less than $25. For example, a bare bones order of 15 $5 cards would cost a total of $255 ($75 card value + $150 set up fee + $30 customization fee). The good news is you only have to pay the set up fee once so after your logo is in Starbucks’ files any subsequent orders will be much cheaper. Again, it’s important to remember just because the cards are co-branded doesn’t mean a promotion using them can be. Any campaign using the cards must be clearly coming from your business and your business alone. All references to Starbucks must play second fiddle to what your shop is offering.

There are a few other things to be aware of. Whether you’re ordering a co-branded or standard card the minimum card value is always $5 and the maximum is $500. Starbucks does offer some discounts depending on the quantity of cards you order, but the bottom tier goes all the way up to $50,000. Starbucks cards can only be loaded with U.S. or Canadian currency, but they can be used in a variety of other countries.

Ordering Starbucks cards, even co-branded ones, can be accomplished entirely online. Shipping is free for orders of at least 15 cards. All of these things combined make Starbucks cards an attractive option for any business looking for an affordable and easy way to tell their customers, employees or anyone else thank you.

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