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Brief Published: 29 Jul 2015

Content Meets Commerce: Starbucks x NY Times Loyalty Scheme

Starbucks partners with New York Times

Affirming the ongoing trend for marriages of content and commerce, American coffee-shop giant Starbucks has announced a mobile-first digital news and rewards partnership with global media company the New York Times (NYT).

Epitomising an era in which retailers build content to bolster their commercial agenda, while publishers look to retail strategies to monetise their knowledge, the NYT has tapped Starbucks' 10 million loyalty scheme members by creating an elevated digital news experience for the Starbucks mobile app. As part of the agreement, it will allow My Starbucks Rewards users to see the top news of the day (which is normally pay for access), as well as a selection of other articles, for free. In addition, they will then have the opportunity to earn Starbucks loyalty 'Stars' – redeemable for food and beverages – through fully paid digital and print subscriptions to the publication.

Launching in early 2016 in the US, this new partnership builds on an existing agreement where free digital access to 15 articles per day via NYTimes.com is available in many US Starbucks stores via the in-store network.

For more on Starbucks' mobile-first strategy and forthcoming loyalty partnership with music-streaming service Spotify, see Defining Customer Loyalty for Digital Natives. See also Customer Loyalty: Rethinking the Rewards System and Mobile Payments Go Mainstream in our coverage of the Retail Business Technology Expo, 2015. For more on loyalty systems, see the section Social + Loyalty: Layer Up to Add Depth in Start-Pause-Go: Retail in Hyper Flow – part of our Roaming Retail Industry Trend.

Both partnerships tap into the increasing strategy of brands forming cross-industry collaborations to increase reach, as explored in Retail/Hotel: Cross-Industry Brand Matching, Trans-Industry Collaborations in our Anywhere Retailing Industry Trend, and Pop-Ups: Cultural Collisions.

For more on using specialised apps to build consumer connections, see Reactive Retail: Dynamic Data Builds Brand Traction, Pop-Ups Evolve: Tech & Social Media, and Sales-Boosting Beacons: Targeted Mobile Advertising.

For more on the relationship between content and commerce, see Shoppable Content: Publishing, Retail Design Expo 2015, Virtual Valentine's 2015, Gap's Micro Series and Harness the Hunt: New Search Tools.