October 30, 2013, 10:02 AM

Starbucks launches a digital gifting program on Twitter

Tweet-a-coffee is Starbucks’ latest run at encouraging gift giving on social networks.

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Starbucks Corp. shoppers can now send coffee to friends on Twitter with a new social gift-gifting program it’s calling tweet-a-coffee.

A U.S. customer has to sync her Starbucks account with her Twitter account and send a tweet to the recipient’s Twitter handle, in addition to @tweetacoffee. The recipient then gets a $5 digital gift certificate that she can redeem at Starbucks stores, either by printing out the certificate, showing it on her mobile phone or loading it onto her Starbucks mobile app.

The tweet-a-coffee program is the retailer’s latest move to encourage shoppers to send Starbucks gifts to each other in a digital form. Starbucks first launched e-gifting capabilities in 2011 on its web site, and has since expanded that to Facebook and its iPhone mobile app.

“What’s so exciting about extending our e-gifting platform to Twitter is the open and real-time nature of the platform, “ says Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. “We love the possibilities that the Twitter community can unlock to share acts of kindness with one another. Tweet-a-coffee is a key next step as we innovate our social digital gifting offering.”

Through Nov. 6, the first 100,000 customers who participate using a Visa card will also receive a $5 Starbucks gift for themselves, the e-retailer says.

“Starbucks is really breaking ground here,” says Joel Lunenfeld, vice president of brand strategy at Twitter. “Shared experiences, such as a television show, a sporting event, or someone sharing a gift, are at the heart of the Twitter experience. It's also central to what it means to be a modern brand.”

Twitter had 232 million monthly active users in the third quarter, up about 38.9% from 167 million in the same period a year earlier. On average, 100 million people use Twitter every day, Twitter says.

Starbucks is No. 454 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

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