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4 Ways How Starbucks Connects to Swiss Customers

Starbucks in Switzerland
Lately, a lot has been going on at my favorite coffee house. Every time a new product is announced, it seems that Starbucks has carefully studied the Swiss and is applying their knowledge to further localize their marketing approach.

In my opinion, they have been spot on so far. Here are four ways how Starbucks connects to their Swiss customers:

The Name Thing

Starbucks in SwitzerlandIf you have stepped into a Swiss Starbucks lately, you must have surely noticed the barista asking for your first name. I am sure that this practice results in less mix-ups of orders, but it is also a way for Starbucks to be more social.

For Switzerland, this is a pretty big deal as people tend to take a little longer to warm up to strangers. But several Starbucks baristas in Zürich have confirmed that only few customers actually refuse to provide their first name. And when it happens that someone stalls, a smiley face seems to brighten up their face...

Judging from my observations, younger generations walking the streets with their personalized Starbucks cups are cool with the new social approach. Personally, I do not mind giving my first name because it reminds me of my time in the US. Since the launch of the program in Switzerland, I am told that Starbucks baristas have seen a welcoming shift even among less flexible customers. Those who had initially refused are slowly warming up to the idea of breaking the ice with their barista...

My Starbucks Rewards

My Starbucks RewardsWhen it comes to “one size fits all”, Switzerland is certainly not a suitable marketplace. Although the country is truly small in size, almost every region has distinct traditions and dialects.

One thing that most Swiss consumers seem to have in common, however, is the inert passion for loyalty programs. Maybe it is because of the high prices for goods and services why consumers are asking for something in return... But what is for sure is that there are a wide variety of loyalty programs out there: For pet stores, gift shops, outdoor clothing vendors, etc.

Since most vendors still use stickers or stamps to reward purchases, few programs are as sleek as the new My Starbucks Rewards!

As a passionate coffee drinker, I can see the true value in this program. It rewards coffee lovers with a star every time we purchase a beverage. And once a certain level is achieved, special promotions and freebies start to kick in…

Growing up, I remember the various sticker and stamp cards which my parents used to handle. With My Starbucks Rewards, all I have is a plastic card and an online account which allows me to painstakingly track my progress towards Gold status...

Freshly Baked Croissants

Starbucks in SwitzerlandThe coffee house at Zürich Central was the very first Starbucks branch to open in all of continental Europe! And once again, it is first in Switzerland to offer freshly baked cookies, croissants and muffins... Yumm!

Homebrewed Favorites with Starbucks Verismo

Starbucks VerismoIn most parts of the world, the Starbucks experience has historically involved spending quality time at a local branch or ordering coffee to go. While Swiss consumers rank 7th in coffee consumption, they still prefer to drink most of their Joe’s at home.

Starbucks now strikes a core of Swiss coffee drinkers with their recent announcement of the Verismo coffee maker. This new gadget allows for brewing of various Starbucks favorites like lattes or coffees in the comfort of your own home. According to a recent comparison in NZZ am Sonntag, the “price per cup” for Verismo will be slightly less than that of the brand endorsed by George Clooney...

More Information

- My Starbucks Rewards (pick up a card at any store)
- Verismo coffee maker (available in Switzerland Dec 2012)

Dimitri Burkhard

As the founder, editor, and community manager of Newly Swissed, Dimitri owns the strategic vision. He is passionate about storytelling and is a member of Swiss Travel Communicators. Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.


  • My local Starbucks started the name taking at the being of summer and has now stopped. They also used to have a customer loyalty stamp card, but when I tried to use it last week, they told me they stopped doing that a month ago. Why do good things have to come to an end?

  • I just moved to Lausanne and the Starbucks here didn’t know what my Rewards Card was and would not accept it. Back in the US, I would rack up my stars quickly for free drinks…but it doesn’t appear that I can do that here. I assume that paying for my coffee via iPhone will be impossible here too.


    • Hi Briana: The My Starbucks Rewards program was just launched on Sept 27, 2012, so it may be possible that you had inquired about it before that date…

Dimitri Burkhard

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