Starbucks uses NFTs For Loyalty Platform

Starbucks Odyssey has been officially announced and is coming to the loyal members of the Starbucks community later this year. Currently there is a waitlist for the company’s first push into web3. The new initiative will combine the already successful Starbucks Rewards loyalty program with an NFT platform, this will give the customers the ability to earn and purchase more digital assets unlocking exclusive rewards and experiences.

This is not sudden as Starbucks had originally teased the project back in August. The company has stated that the NFTs are not just collectibles but instead will provide owners with specific utility.

Today’s Starbucks Rewards model involves customers earning stars as they make purchases. The stars are then exchanged for perks , some of those perks include free drinks or snacks.  The Starbucks Odyssey is planned as a way for loyal customers to earn even more. 

The project saw the company employ the skills of Adam Brotman who was the architect of the Mobile Order & Pay system and the app for Starbucks. Brotman will have the role of special advisor as he is currently the co-founder of Forum3 which is a web3 loyalty startup company.

Starbucks has been looking into blockchain technology for years now but has only been really active in the last six months. The company wanted to make sure the offering was legitimately useful to its loyal fan base. Starbucks did not want to be seen as doing this for publicity or as a stunt but instead wanted a real dedicated entry into the web3 space in a way that could also enhance business and build upon the loyalty program of the company. 

The NFTs are passes into the digital community but the company is more focused on bringing it in as a loyalty program that’s pushing it as new technology, thus allowing those that are not so web3-savvy a way to join as well.

The NFT will be available to customers using the web app and once there the customer will engage with various activities. These activities will be known as “journeys” some of which will be playing interactive games or taking on challenges. Completing these journeys will net the user early NFT digital collectibles, which will be termed “journey stamps” for those not familiar with blockchain technology.

There are also plans for limited edition NFTs that will be available for purchase in the Starbucks Odyssey web app which is for mobile devices as well. The NFTs will be available for purchase via credit card but will sit on the Polygon blockchain, there will be no need for a crypto wallet making it easier for customers to make purchases of the collectibles they wish to have. There will not be any gas fees either as those transaction fees will already be part of the price of the collectible. At the time of this writing there is no idea on the price of the NFTs.

Secondary sales of the NFTs are also possible as each of the “stamps” earned through journeys will hold a a point value. These stamps can then be sold on a secondary market by the holder of the NFT with all ownership being secured on the blockchain. The proceeds of these sales will go towards the various artists, Starbucks, and charities and causes chosen by Starbucks and its employees.

There are many experiences involved in collecting the “stamps” some of the rewards may include a virtual espresso martini-making class , access to unique merchandise or artist collars, or even a trip to the Starbucks Hacienda Alsatian coffee farm in Costa Rica. It should be noted that the larger perks are only available to those that purchased their NFT and not those that just earned through a journey.

A suggested example of the difference in how paid NFTs and earned NFTs work would be a paid NFT giving a full travel package and tour with an earned NFT package including the tour alone but leaving the travel details up to the user. The whole goal of the program is to create a new way to reward the Starbucks loyalists for their patronage and support.

The journeys will include little challenges that require some real-world implementation as well. For instance a user may be required to try three different types of drinks. The user will then scan a barcode at checkout and once all three drinks have been purchased and tried the journey is complete.

Brady Brewer , Starbucks CMO spoke on the experiences 

“We’ll have experiences that do link directly to customers’ behavior in our stores,There will be a lot of ways for people to earn [rewards] without having to spend a lot of moneyWe want to make this super easy and accessible. There will be plenty of everyday experiences customers can earn like virtual classes or access to limited edition merchandise, for instance. The range of experiences will be quite vast and very accessible,,”

Polygon was chosen by Starbucks due to its Proof-of-Stake system which is more green than that of other blockchains as it utilizes much less energy for its transactions. Starbucks emphasizes that the project is meant entirely to benefit its customers while enhancing its business methods and that this is not meant to be seen as a marketing stunt but rather a new way for the company to interact in the growing web3 world.


Leave a Reply