Starbucks Canada launches Tweet-a-Coffee

The platform allows Twitter users to gift coffees to friends and strangers.

After a U.S. pilot program, launched in November, exceeded expectations, Starbucks Canada has kicked off Tweet-a-Coffee, a gifting program operating on Twitter north of the border.

Launched today, people with a Starbucks account (which can be signed up for online or in stores), and a Twitter handle, can send a $5 gift card to anyone on the social network, says Jessica Mills, director of brand communications, Starbucks. “This was another way to lean into social into [a space where] our customers are already connecting and provide another way to gift a friend, colleague, stranger or hero,” she says.

The coffee chain has previously allowed account holders to send e-gifts over Starbucks’ owned channels, such as the loyalty card or mobile program, she says, so extending it to Twitter seemed a natural fit. She remained mum on whether this would be extended out to other social platforms.

Promotion of the new platform will, fittingly, reside largely through Twitter, relying on messages out to its 100,000+ followers, as well as seeding to prominent Canadian celebrities, such as Chris Hadfield and Montreal band Arcade Fire.

To gift someone, senders connect their Twitter and Starbucks accounts (which has their credit card information to pay for the transaction automatically). Afterwards, people simply tweet to @Tweetacoffee with the recipient’s handle, which then acts as a bridge between the two handles, sending out the e-gift, which can be printed up or redeemed through mobile.

Though it connects Starbucks accounts with Twitter handles, Mills says there are no plans to mine data from the social site beyond recording the transactions, and that respecting customers’ privacy – a hot topic in today’s world – remains paramount for the brand.

“At the heart of this is, how do you connect people over coffee in a way that’s meaningful for them?” she says. “There’s no other objective beyond just being relevant to how consumers are changing their giving and purchasing behaviour.”