Starbucks Corp. has started a program in China that offers members of that country’s social media service, Jiepang, a free coffee upgrade if they electronically check-in at a Starbucks in the Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Shejiang provinces. When enough people check in, the company will light a virtual Christmas tree at the Starbucks Web page and all those who have checked in will receive a free upgrade to larger size coffee.
To promote the offer, Jiepang has placed signs containing NFC tags on more than thirty commercial buildings near Starbucks stores in Shanghai. When consumers read a tag with an NFC-enabled phone, a message will pop up showing them where the nearest Starbucks store is and the fastest route to get there.
Starbucks is once again taking a lead in using new technology to drive customer behavior. The company has used mobile and payments technology to drive customer loyalty and build additional brand awareness. It will be interesting to see if the company uses this kind of promotion in the United States to drive awareness of new stores.