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09/12/2022

Starbucks to Launch Web3 Experience for Loyalty Members

Starbucks is integrating NFTs with its loyalty program to create an accessible Web3 community that will enable new ways to engage with members and employees.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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Starbucks Odyssey, a new experience powered by Web3 technology, will launch later this year and does not require crypto.

Starbucks today unveiled Starbucks Odyssey, a new experience powered by Web3 technology that will offer Starbucks Rewards members and Starbucks employees in the United States the opportunity to earn and purchase digital collectible assets that will unlock access to new benefits and immersive coffee experiences.

Starbucks is integrating non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with its loyalty program, while creating a digital community that will enable new ways for Starbucks to engage with its members and its employees. Starting Sept. 12, customers and employees can join the waitlist for a chance to be among the first to receive access to the Starbucks Odyssey experience, which will launch later this year. 

“Starbucks has always served as the Third Place, a place between home and work where you feel the warmth of connection over coffee, community and belonging. The Starbucks Odyssey experience will extend the Third Place connection to the digital world,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “For the first time we are connecting our Starbucks Rewards loyalty program members not just to Starbucks, but to each other.”

“Leveraging Web3 technology will allow our members to access experiences and ownership that was not possible before. Starbucks Odyssey will transcend the foundational benefits that our Starbucks Rewards members have come to love, and unlock digital, physical and experiential benefits that are uniquely Starbucks,” continued Brewer. “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.”

How It Will Work

Members will access Starbucks Odyssey using their Starbucks Rewards login credentials. Once logged in, members can engage in Starbucks Odyssey ‘journeys,’ a series of activities, such as playing interactive games or taking on fun challenges to deepen their knowledge of coffee and Starbucks. Members will be rewarded for completing journeys with a digital collectable ‘journey stamp’ (NFT).

Members can also purchase ‘limited-edition stamps’ (NFTs) through a built-in marketplace within the Starbucks Odyssey web app experience. Limited-edition stamps will be available for all members to purchase directly with a credit card.  No crypto wallet or cryptocurrency will be required – making the Starbucks Odyssey experience a fun and easy way for members to access this new technology and claim an ownership stake in their loyalty to Starbucks. 

Each digital collectable stamp will include a point value based on its rarity, and the stamps can be bought or sold among members within the marketplace, with ownership secured on a blockchain. As stamps are collected, members’ points will increase, unlocking access to unique benefits and experiences that have never been offered before. These experiences could range from a virtual espresso martini-making class, to access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations, to invitations to exclusive events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries or even trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica.

Reimagining the Starbucks Experience

All stamps will feature iconic Starbucks artwork co-created with Starbucks partners as well as outside artists – giving members and partners access to these treasured assets for the first time.  Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of limited-edition stamps will be donated to support causes that matter to Starbucks partners and Starbucks Rewards members.

Aligning to Sustainability Commitments

Building Starbucks Odyssey using technology that aligns with Starbucks sustainability aspirations and commitments is a top priority. Starbucks is among the brands committed to reducing its carbon, water and waste footprints. Starbucks will utilize a “proof-of-stake” blockchain technology built by Polygon, which uses less energy than first generation “proof-of-work” blockchains.  

54% of diners say a restaurant's commitment to environmental sustainability is of moderate or extreme importance when selecting a restaurant,  according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study

Reinventing the Third Place

Starbucks has a history of taking leading-edge technology, innovating, and making it accessible and approachable for mainstream audiences. The company’s success with its industry-leading Starbucks Rewards loyalty program, mobile payment and ordering, and Wi-Fi access in its stores has taught the company how to engage customers at scale to unlock opportunities using emerging technology.  Through this approach, the company will provide easier access to Web3 experiences and, in the process, introduce a new, next-generation loyalty program model to the world.

“This is just the beginning; Starbucks Odyssey is one of the ways we are reinventing the Third Place to meet our customers wherever they are – in a Starbucks store, on-the-go, or online. We are creating an accessible, digital Third Place community enabled by Web3 technology where Starbucks Rewards members and our partners can connect through unique experiences and come together around the love for coffee,” said Brewer.