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09/14/2022

Starbucks Taps Web3 Technology for New Loyalty Member Experience

The coffee retailer lifts the lid on the Starbucks Odyssey project and claims using technology that aligns with its sustainability aspirations to create it is a “top priority.” Get the details.
Jamie Grill-Goodman
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Earlier this year, interim CEO Howard Schultz told analysts Starbucks had a “big breakthrough idea around the launch of Starbucks Web 3.0 and a unique platform for NFTs,” where the company believes it will “create an authentic digital third place experience.”

Now the coffee retailer is lifting the lid on the loyalty member project.

Once launched, the Starbucks Odyssey experience will offer members the ability to earn and buy digital collectible stamps (NFTs) that will unlock access to new, immersive coffee experiences. Powered by Web3 technology, the experience is expected to launch later this year. Customers and Starbucks employees can join the waitlist now for a chance to receive access ⁠— invitations will be sent to select waitlist members later this year, who will be among the first to explore the experience. 

“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,” said Brady Brewer, Starbucks executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “The Starbucks Odyssey experience will extend the Third Place connection to the digital world. 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.”

The coffee retailer, which named its next CEO earlier this month, said that building Starbucks Odyssey using technology that aligns with its sustainability aspirations and commitments is a “top priority.” The company will utilize a “proof-of-stake” blockchain technology built by Polygon, which uses less energy than first generation “proof-of-work” blockchains.

What Is Starbucks Odyssey?

Starbucks Odyssey will be an extension of its Starbucks Rewards program that members can access 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. 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. Starbucks said these experiences could include:

  • a virtual espresso martini-making class
  • access to unique merchandise and artist collaborations
  • invitations to exclusive events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries
  • trips to Starbucks Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm in Costa Rica

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.

“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,” said Brewer.