How the coffee giant plans to use NFTs and blockchain in its rewards program – GeekWire

How the coffee giant plans to use NFTs and blockchain in its rewards program – GeekWire

Set to launch later this year, Starbucks Odyssey is offering collectible digital stamps as an extension of its rewards program. Starbucks announces details and Open the queue Monday. (Starbucks photo)

Starbucks Rewards members will be able to earn and purchase collectible digital stamps, then buy and sell them in the marketplace with other members of the loyalty program, through an upcoming initiative revealed Monday morning.

known as Starbucks OdysseyThis is the long-awaited move for the coffee giant in the field known as Web3. The stamps will be non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Blockchain technology will authenticate each token and track its ownership as it changes in the company’s digital marketplace.

Starbucks says Odyssey stamps will reveal benefits and experiences, with point values ​​based on each stamp’s rarity. The company cited examples such as access to limited-edition merchandise, an invitation to a virtual martini-making class, or a trip to the Starbucks Hacienda Alcia Farm in Costa Rica.

Having arrived more than a year after the peak of the NFT craze, it can be tempting to dismiss Starbucks as late to the party. But Brady Brewer, Starbucks’ chief marketing officer, says the company believes it would benefit from being “strategically patient” and thoughtful in its approach.

Brady Brewer, Chief Marketing Officer, Starbucks. (Starbucks photos)

“Since so many brands have just jumped in, we saw the long-term potential of this technology rather than a one-off,” Brewer said in an interview before the Odyssey was announced. “We were thinking, how can it increase not only our customer experience but our core business, rather than something that could be an aspect.”

Starbucks Rewards members will not need to know anything about NFTs, blockchain, own a crypto wallet, or trade cryptocurrency to participate in the program. They will be able to participate in interactive games or other challenges to earn stamps. They will also be able to purchase stamps with their credit cards.

It’s part of a larger effort by the company to extend the concept of a “third place,” a destination away from home and work, into the digital world. Starbucks believes it will be unique among the major brands in introducing Web3 technologies, at scale, as an extension of their existing loyalty rewards program.

“In many ways, I think this will open up a next-generation model of brand loyalty,” Brewer said. “We’re really trying to push the boundaries of what’s possible here and connect it to our core expertise in our core business.”

The company has a history of introducing new technologies, such as Mobile Order & Pay, that popularize new approaches and end up being followed by other retailers in different sectors.

Starbucks first hinted at the NFT plan in May. The company officially announces the Starbucks Odyssey And launch a queue Monday for Starbucks Rewards members to be among the first to be granted access later this year.

The company says that its employees (“partners” in Starbucks parlance) will have priority on the waiting list, giving them an opportunity to help build and participate in the community.

It comes at a turbulent time in the company’s relationship with its employees, as coffee workers at some Starbucks locations push to unite. While employees hosting online learning sessions, for example, will be around the clock, participation in the Odyssey community will be “more for fun and engagement,” Brewer said.

Starbucks says the stamps will feature “popular Starbucks artwork” made by employees and outside artists. The company did not provide examples before the announcement Monday morning.

Brewer said members are telling the company they want to be more valued and rewarded for their loyalty. By increasing their involvement with the company, and enhancing their knowledge of coffee, the idea is that the new program will eventually help Starbucks’ business as well.

The company reported 27.4 million Starbucks Rewards members, up 13% year over year, as of the end of the fiscal third quarter ending July 3. Starbucks Rewards members were responsible for 53% of revenue in US corporate-operated stores in the quarter, interim CEO Howard Schultz He said on a conference call.

The initiative also includes a charitable component, in which a portion of the proceeds from the sale of limited-edition stamps go to charities supported by employees and members. The company says it is using Polygon’s blockchain technology Which uses less energy than previous generations for technology.

Starbucks is expected to discuss The Odyssey As part of Investor Day 2022 tomorrow.

The company recently appointed its next CEO, Laxman Narasimhan, who will join the company on October 1, after moving from London to the Seattle area. Narasimhan will serve as the new CEO until April 1, 2023. Until then, Schultz will remain interim CEO, a position he has held since Kevin Johnson stepped down in March.

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