Perhaps in response to recent marketing efforts by Costa Coffee, Starbucks is now offering free Wi-Fi to UK customers who have signed up for their Starbucks Reward loyalty program.
Interestingly, most of Starbucks' competitors in the UK do not offer free Wi-Fi, whereas in the U.S. many do - and they don't require customers to sign up for a loyalty program in order to receive it. Surely, it won't be long before another UK chain comes along and offers it completely free.
However, Starbucks is able to use their dominant market position to ask their dedicated customer base to jump through one small hoop in order to receive the benefit. While Starbucks may lose some business to customers who just want to use Wi-Fi on occasion and do not want to sign up for Starbucks Rewards in order to do so, they will gain a wealth of customer data which, if used properly, should help them innovate to stay competitive in the future.
The e-mail announcing free Wi-Fi is below, along with a teaser e-mail sent a month prior.