This week, Microsoft started running a beta customer rewards programme called Earn, which will allow enrolled customers to receive Microsoft credits when they shop at select US retailers such as Starbucks.
Earn is currently running in select Microsoft stores in three US states: Arizona, Massachusetts, and Washington. Customers will receive 5-10 per cent Earn credits when they shop at select US branches of Starbucks, Papa John’s, as well as “hundreds of local restaurants”.
Customers will have to enrol on the program’s website, where they sign in with their Microsoft email and then register their contact and debit/credit card information.
They will be able to spend the credits they receive on a range of Microsoft products including software, computers and Xbox.
What’s appealing about the pilot programme is its flexibility. One can earn tech credits without actually spending money on tech. That makes much more sense; people do not buy tech products as frequently as they buy coffee or eat in restaurants.
The symbiotic nature of the programme should appeal to participating retailers. It has the potential to act as the perk that sways customers to visit the restaurant. In turn, Microsoft hopes more people will visit their stores.
Although it is only a pilot program, Microsoft’s pitch sounds very refined, which could mean we may see Earn being rolled out in the near future on a much larger scale.
It is also interesting to see where the programme could go. For now, the credits work one way –earn in participating retailers, spend in Microsoft – but, once commercial relationships are in place and there is an uptake in adoption, who’s to say the credits couldn’t be spent both ways?
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