Microsoft this week started running a pilot program for customer rewards called Microsoft Earn. The program, currently in beta, is limited to Microsoft stores in three U.S. states: Arizona, Massachusetts, and Washington.
“Microsoft Earn is a customer rewards beta program that we are piloting in our Arizona, Massachusetts, and Washington stores,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat. “As part of our commitment to delivering outstanding choice, value, and service, Microsoft Earn helps Visa and MasterCard customers turn Earn Credits received for purchases at their favorite retailers and restaurants into technology rewards at Microsoft stores. Registering for the program is as easy as visiting www.earnbymicrosoft.com.”
The website explains how Microsoft Earn works. First, you have to enroll by providing your contact information and debit and credit card(s). You’ll then receive 5 percent to 10 percent in Earn Credits when you use your cards at select national retailers (Starbucks, Whole Foods, 7-Eleven, Petsmart, Papa John’s, and 1-800-Flowers.com) and “hundreds” of participating local restaurants.
After that, you can use your Earn Credits towards the purchase of products at Microsoft stores. These include software, laptops, tablets, phones, Xbox consoles and games, headphones, speakers, and so on.
Microsoft’s pitch to the consumer is simple: You can earn points towards tech purchases without making tech purchases. Microsoft’s pitch to participating retailers is also solid: Join us and customers will have another reason to choose you over a competitor. Microsoft itself is clearly hoping consumers choose to shop more at its stores.
It’s a smart plan, but it also makes sense to pilot it first. After all, it’s difficult to say how interested consumers will be in a rewards system just for tech products.