Jamba Follows Starbucks and Panera

It's going to be more rewarding to frequent your local Jamba (NASDAQ: JMBA  ) smoothie shop.

The Jamba Juice parent announced this morning that it has chosen Spendgo to fuel the chain's new My Fruitful Rewards program after testing it out at 30 stores. When the program rolls out nationally during the first quarter of next year, guests will be able to just enter their phone number at a point-of-sale touchscreen to register and subsequently score reward points.

Unlike many loyalty programs that have universal rewards, My Fruitful Rewards will be able to customize rewards based on buyer behavior.

Jamba has turned to incentivizing smoothie sippers before. It has gone through scratch-off cards and even offering free smoothies to push gift cards. However, this is a smart way for Jamba to learn more information about individual loyal customers that it can then use in drumming up new promotions or product ideas.

Loyalty programs have become quick in the fast casual space. Panera Bread (NASDAQ: PNRA  ) and Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX  ) are retail darlings with their initiatives.

Panera revealed during May's annual shareholder meeting that it now has 14 million MyPanera cardholders. It's easy to see why MyPanera has proven so popular. It also bases rewards on user behavior, and it's free. Customers swiping their cards can wind up with free bakery items, previews, or even invitations to special events. It's the element of surprise that helps with retention, and Panera gets to know its customers better with every swipe.

My Starbucks Rewards offers users a free drink or food item on their birthday just for registering the card. After five swipes, they qualify for free refills, and regulars that log more than 30 visits in 12 months get upgraded to gold status with even more perks. Starbucks claimed during an investor conference last month that its loyalty program now accounts for 25% of its transactions in this country.

If that sounds like a lot, Panera claims that its program has even better penetration.

"Our transactions that are done on the card dwarfs what Starbucks does," Panera boasted in May's earnings call.

With the success that Panera and Starbucks have achieved, it's not a surprise to see Jamba following in their footsteps.

Jamba's holding up well. Store-level comps have been positive for the past two years, and shares hit a three-year high last month. One can only imagine what will be possible next month with a more engaged and loyal fan of blended fruit beverages.

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