Caribou Coffee wanted to surprise and delight its customers in a big way. Mission accomplished. Since the launch of a new coffee loyalty program called Caribou Perks on Jan. 2, about 100,000 customers have signed up to become members.

New members are asked to complete a profile online and then use their Caribou Card for purchases at any location. Subsequently, Caribou Coffee will notify members when they receive a reward, which can be redeemed at any Caribou Coffee location. New members receive a free medium drink after they register for the program and fill out all the optional questions in their profile.

Michele Vig, Vice President of Marketing for Caribou Coffee, told Loyalty360 the company wanted to take a unique approach to the new customer loyalty program and differentiate it from the punch-card system that many other companies use. Vig and her team spent 18 months speaking and listening to customers during the research and pilot phases.

Vig said Caribou Coffee wants to build an emotional bond with its customers.

“We had this in the market in various stages for 18 months and the surprise and delight really matches up with our brand,” Vig explained. “Because we’ve come out of the gate strong, there is a lot of interest and we wanted to deliver something that was differentiated and represented our brand in a fun, engaging and unique way.”

Included among the perks, members can earn size upgrades, baked goods, complimentary drinks and more. Vig said every Caribou store will take part in the Caribou Perks program except for the ones that are slated to be converted into Peet’s Coffee & Tea locations in the very near future.

“We’re thrilled to have 90 of our franchise partners join us in the program come February,” Vig said.

Vig mentioned that Caribou Coffee tested a loyalty program about five years ago, but it didn’t resonate well with customers.

“Our previous programs were transaction-based programs that offered the same reward after the same number of visits,” Vig explained. “Our guests told us those programs were no different than all the other programs they saw every day. This feedback helped us decide to offer a more surprise and delight program to keep things fun and exciting for our guests. So far, the feedback from our guests regarding Caribou Perks has been extremely well-received. The main thing for us is to thank them for their loyal business and provide them with perks along the way. The more they engage, the more perks they receive.”

Vig said it’s too early to tell how Caribou Perks will evolve, but for now, attracting members to the program is the main goal.

“In the future we’d like to be able to tailor the program to our customers’ needs,” she said. “With so many loyalty programs out there, a personal connection with each of our guests is very important. This personal connection allows us to customize our loyalty program to meet the needs of every guest on a unique level. No more ‘one size fits all’ approach to loyalty. Caribou Perks is a unique, surprise and delight program that rewards guests for just being our fans.” 

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