If you haven’t followed along, the team at Businessplug has excitedly been waiting for the public release of the Starbucks Odyssey Loyalty Program. Feel free to catch up on parts 1 and 2 of the article here and here.
“Starbucks Odyssey (…) is a Web3 loyalty program that leverages blockchain technology and NFTs to offer a more immersive and interactive experience for customers. In addition to earning points and redeeming them for rewards, customers can also participate in interactive “Journeys” to earn collectible Journey Stamps, which unlock access to a variety of benefits and experiences.”
Businessplug is based in Lisbon, Portugal. If you’re Portuguese and you’ve ever tried creating a Starbucks Rewards, you’ll know this is not possible unless you’re making use of a VPN connecting to a city in the US. That’s what we did – almost 6 months ago. This morning, we finally received the email we’d been waiting for: “Your Journey Starts Here.” The email explains that you can “Complete activities like games and challenges within each Journey to earn Points” and that for each Journey you complete, “you’ll be awarded with a collectible Journey Stamp”. If you’re a Web3 nerd like us, this is the type of stuff that gets you going.
The onboarding process was simple: no Web3 wallet connections. Just log in with your Starbucks Rewards account, choose your avatar (the Sumatra Tiger, in our case, as we’re big fans of dark roast coffee), and you’re in. In no way does this differ from a regular Web2 onboarding process. And it shouldn’t! At least not in principle or complexity.
Web3 developers and users must advocate for better and simpler onboarding processes. We do so with our Corporate clients here at Businessplug, explaining the role of the layers of abstraction you can create on top of Tokens and NFTs – the Journey Stamps, as Starbucks calls them – and how this is contributing to the democratisation of the decentralised web. This is what’s going to bring in the next billion(s) users.
But back to Odyssey.
What follows is, yet again, simple enough. Your main menu displays your progress (number of points and current level) and a list of tabs: (1) Journeys, the activities you can discover; (2) Stamps, the list of digital collectibles you’ve earned; and (3) Market, which takes you to Starbucks’ Nifty Gateway marketplace. Nifty Gateway, as they put it, is “the premier NFT marketplace for beginners, experts, and everyone in-between – without the hassle of gas fees and failed transactions”. That’s who Starbucks chose to take their customers’ hard earned NFTs to other interested collectors, effectively opening up their initiative to the public and giving true representation of their customers’ ownership of their collectibles: if you can sell them, you own them.
This is where it gets interesting. The principle of this Odyssey program was to extend – not replace! – the original Starbucks Rewards program. It’s meant for their most loyal customers, the ones who value intense coffee-related experiences; the ones who purchase their drinks every day. The “Journeys” tab is where you take the first step in your Odyssey.
The “Journeys” tab is where you take the first step in your Odyssey.
You can choose to learn more about the heritage and origin of coffee, how Starbucks is enabling sustainability and even discover new drinks and products. These digital experiences are built around quizzes and mini-games and some even include virtual and augmented reality experiences – which Starbucks chose not to call Metaverse.
Starbucks keeps you coming to the platform with weekly challenges – one way in which they increase customer loyalty and engagement. The second way in which this happens is through exclusivity and forcing the user to put in the hours (or do their research). By the time you are done with some of the Journey activities, you’ve invested time and effort and you’ll do what they ask to receive the collectible.
Last but not least, these activities are exceptional omnichannel drivers. The final step in each Journey, after you’ve done the hard work, is to sit back and enjoy one of Starbucks’ drinks in-store. Do that and you’ll (finally) get your NFT – which, at the time of writing, have a total combined volume of $885K on Nifty Gateway. Rewarding customers for learning about you, discovering new products and visiting the store: the dream and goal of any Brand, enabled by Web3.
Rewarding customers for learning about you, discovering new products and visiting the store: the dream and goal of any Brand, enabled by Web3.