The 101 of Starbucks' NFTs on Polygon

September 26, 2022

We recently learned more about Starbucks' entry into web3 via their loyalty program, Starbucks Odyssey. Here's what you need to know:

The Details

  • members earn digital collectible stamps (NFTs) by completing 'journeys' involving interactive games and challenges
  • members can purchase limited edition versions of the NFTs via a built-in marketplace that will accept credit cards
  • benefits include: unique merch and artist collabs and experiences like "espresso martini-making classes" or events at Starbucks Reserve Roasteries
  • the collection will be on the Polygon (MATIC) network - a scaling tool that sits on top of the Ethereum blockchain
  • the waitlist is open now (US-based customers only) -->

The Strategy

Odyssey is the expansion of two well-established Starbucks strategies and programs. The Starbucks Rewards Program and the Starbucks 'Third Place' concept.

  • with over 25 million members, representing 53% of in-store spending, Odyssey is a natural progression for the program and added value to their existing loyalty members
  • Odyssey provides another use case for Starbucks' "Digital Third Place" strategy, which to date focuses on increased build outs of "pick-up-only" locations
  • the program will generate increased traffic and revenue at the retail level and within the digital marketplace as people buy and sell NFTs to gain access to the unique experiences and benefits

The Review:

Like it or not, this is one of the most well-thought out transitions into web3 that we've seen from a web2 company. A positive signal towards mass market adoption and the rewards/loyalty program use-case for blockchain.

There are many things I could outline but what I love most about their strategy is the obvious consideration for their community.

  • they leveraging an existing program and community - using blockchain to add benefit vs. some bullshit NFT collection
  • they've met their consumers where they are in web3 by allowing them to pay with credit cards, instead of trying to force mass onboarding before folks are ready
  • they're focused on "utility" in the form of experiences that money can't buy which will bring their community closer to the brand

All things considered, I would rate Starbucks' strategy as a 4/5 on web2 -> web3 transitions.

Why 4 and not 5? The approach to meet your community where they are should be heavily supplemented with a prioritization of web3 education. They may be able to purchase via credit card but that doesn't negate the importance of understanding the foundations of web3.

*disclaimer: I meant this article to act as a review of Starbucks' web3 strategy. It is not a reflection or statement on my views regarding other areas of their business. This includes recent allegations of unfair labour practices.

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