Starbucks has announced its first foray into web3 technology with the launch of Starbucks Odyssey later this year. The coffee entity joins other big brand names in the rapidly growing Web3 ecosystem.
The successful Starbucks Rewards loyalty program has been combined with an NFT platform to create a brand-new customer experience. Now, users can both earn and purchase digital assets that unlock exclusive experiences and rewards.
Additionally, customers can purchase limited edition NFTs in the marketplace. These are tradable, so you don’t need a cryptocurrency or wallet to buy them. The waitlist opened on 12th September 2022.
Starbucks creates a web3 experience for its members
The company had earlier teased its web3 plans to investors. The company said it believed this new experience would build on the current Starbucks Rewards model where customers today earn “stars,” which can be exchanged for perks like free drinks.
The goal of Starbucks Odyssey is for hardcore fans to earn a wider range of benefits while also fostering community. Each NFT is linked to points, which may be spent to obtain various perks. These include espresso martini-making sessions and a trip to Costa Rica’s coffee farm.
The company hired Adam Brotman, the designer of its Mobile Order & Pay system and the Starbucks app, as a consultant to build the project. Now the co-founder of Forum3, a web3 loyalty startup, Brotman’s team worked on Starbucks Odyssey alongside its’ marketing, loyalty, and technology teams.
The company has been investigating blockchain technologies for a few years, but it has only been working on this project for about six months. The firm wanted to participate in this space, but not as a “stunt” side project like many corporations are doing. The company didn’t want to simply use the new technology; it wanted to find a way to use it that would improve its business and grow its loyalty program.
The company has chosen to make NFTs the passes that give you access to this digital community. However, it intentionally obfuscates the technology behind the experience to attract a broader audience — including non-technical people –to the web3 platform.
By integrating into the Starbucks Rewards ecosystem and grounding the experience in coffee, connection and community, we are entering the Web3 space differently than any other brand, while deepening our members’ connection to Starbucks […] Our vision is to create a place where our digital community can come together over coffee, engage in immersive experiences, and celebrate the heritage and future of Starbucks.Brady Brewer, Starbucks EVP, and chief marketing officer
To interact with the company’s Odyssey experience, Starbucks Rewards members will need to use their existing loyalty program credentials to log in to the web app.
How will the reward program work?
Once the program is live, customers can engage with ” Journeys ” activities provided by Starbucks. These journeys are interactive games or challenges designed to deepen their knowledge of the brand or coffee itself.
Members who complete these journeys will be eligible to collect early digital collectibles in the form of NFTs (non-fungible tokens). On the other hand, Starbucks Odyssey replaces technical language with the word “journey stamps,” which are NFT objects.
A set of NFTs will be available for purchase on the Starbucks Odyessy web app, which also works on mobile devices. These NFTs will be bought using a credit or debit card — a crypto wallet is not required.
The company believes that simplifying the web3 experience will make it more accessible to consumers. They also won’t complicate transactions with additional fees – instead, they offer a bundled price.
The firm has yet to decide what its NFTs will cost or how many will be available at launch, and the details are still being worked out.
However, the various “stamps” (NFTs) will have a point value based on their scarcity. They can be purchased or sold among Starbucks Odyessy members in the marketplace, with ownership secured on the blockchain.
To create the NFTs artwork, the company is working with outside artists. A portion of what we make from selling these limited-edition collectibles will go to supporting causes chosen by our employees and customers. Collecting stamps allows members to earn points that’ll unlock exclusive benefits.
Benefits of Starbucks Odyssey
Those with more points have a greater chance of being invited to special events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or earning a trip to its Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm. The best rewards will be given to those who purchase NFTs, while other users may still receive some benefits depending on their number of points.
A sponsored NFT, for example, might provide the whole travel package and farm tour, while an earned NFT could simply give the trip with flights and hotels up to the user. However, the company has not made any official decisions in this area yet.
Entering the world of web3 makes sense for a company that has always taken advantage of new technologies and made them accessible to consumers. In years past, the entity introduced Wi-Fi in its stores to encourage customers to spend more time during visits.
Its introduction also helped to popularize the concept of mobile wallets years before Apple Pay became prevalent. It also laid the groundwork for mobile ordering before the COVID outbreak, when other restaurant chains began adopting it.
Many businesses face the criticism that their entrance into the web 3 market is simply a marketing ploy, not something they’re truly committed to. Starbucks denies this is the case with them, but only time will tell how invested they really are.