Starbucks has launched a new social gifting feature “用星說” (Say it with Starbucks) on WeChat in China.
Co-created by Starbucks and WeChat, the online-to-offline social gifting innovation encourages everyday acts of kindness and appreciation among family and friends, by enabling users to instantly and conveniently gift a Starbucks beverage or digital gift card.
The feature, which arrives in time for Valentine’s Day, takes advantage of the growing popularity of social gifting in China, particularly during the Chinese new year, when people traditionally give red envelopes (hongbao) filled with cash.
“Our new social gifting feature aims to deepen the shared moments of connection by allowing our customers to express their love, concern and gratitude, with the gift of Starbucks, to the people most important to them,” said Belinda Wong, CEO of Starbucks China.
The move is part of Starbucks’ effort to expand its reach both digitally and in China, where the company already has about 2,500 stores and plans to have 5,000 by 2021.
During the initial launch period, WeChat has opened a convenient access for ‘Say it with Starbucks’ users in its wallet function, demonstrating the significance of the strategic partnership to both companies. The Starbucks China WeChat official account continues to provide a fast, permanent access to the social gifting feature.
Users will be able to select from a curated selection of Starbucks-branded gifts and add a personalised message in the form of text, image or video to uplift the day of a loved one. Once a gift is received, it will be saved in the recipient’s app and can be redeemed at any Starbucks store in Mainland China.
“This is the beginning of an exciting social gifting journey for Starbucks. During the trial phase two weeks ago, our partners (employees) and many Starbucks customers became the first in China to experience this innovation and have conveyed tens of thousands of gestures of love, gratitude and care to their friends and loved ones,” added Molly Liu, VP of China digital ventures. “Meanwhile, we will continue to enhance the social gifting experience to celebrate important festivals and holidays in China and the special moments in our customers’ lives.”