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Starbucks Embraces Web3 In New NFT Loyalty Program

Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz announced a new Web3 digital effort to help remodel the company's famed rewards program. While there's no confirmed date, there are speculations that they'll reveal the new web3-based rewards program during their Investor Day, slated for September 13th

So far, there aren't many details, but some bits and pieces were shared in a blog post. Shultz mentioned Web3 potential integration with Starbucks's loyalty program during the call. Starbucks' loyalty program is among the best in the world, with over 27 million people currently enrolled.

Table of Contents

#1 - What We Don’t Know About Starbucks Web3 Initiative

#2 - Starbucks Isn’t The Only Company Eyeing NFTs

#3 - Our Thoughts


What We Don’t Know About Starbucks Web3 Initiative

Starbucks first revealed its intention to include Web3 into its existing loyalty program back in May. At the time, they announced their intentions to create a "digital 3rd place" for people to gather online. Moreover, they clarified that they would view Web3 as a long-term investment.

We don’t know much, but the firm seems to be approaching NFTs uniquely compared to other fast food franchises. Starbucks NFTs will have unique benefits and experiences centered on the digital third place.

“NFTs allow people to own a programmable, brandable digital asset that also doubles as an access pass. They see their NFT collections as a “community building element” and a way of “emotionally engaging customers.”

We also don’t know the blockchain they'll be utilizing. However, they did state that it will have several chains and be carbon neutral to mitigate any negative effects on the environment in line with their planet-friendly policies. This might imply they're holding out for Ethereum's PoW-to-PoS transition.

Still, more likely, it means they're following the lead of other businesses and opting for a more centralized blockchain that nonetheless offers environmental benefits.

The coffee chain kept its web3 announcements somewhat under wraps, saying that it anticipated digital collectibles to bring an assertive business impact to its outlets and that further details would be provided later in 2022.


Starbucks Isn’t The Only Company Eyeing NFTs

Some companies already have a head start on implementing similar ideas. In a December 2021 campaign focused on NFT, Applebee's offered a year's worth of in-store purchases to the owner of a one-of-a-kind digital art. Burger King also launched an NFT collection in 2021 where customers could scan a QR code on meal boxes to reveal a digital collectible.

Outside the food industry, we've seen companies like Fly Emirates launching a collection to reward members of its loyalty program some months back.

Recent reports also suggest that Taco Bell and Domino's are considering incorporating NFTs into their customer loyalty programs. However, until this point, the brands' NFT campaigns have focused on soliciting financial contributions for the organizations' respective charitable foundations.


Starbucks to Trigger a Change?

No doubt, Starbucks has one of the biggest loyalty programs in the world. Thus, introducing web3 to reward these loyal customers, can be a vehicle for change in the web3 industry and how big grands integrate. This is important, as big brands entering the space, are a key factor in promoting mass adoption of the technology.


Our Thoughts

Starbucks understands how important it is to bring in new customers and keep existing ones interested. It is also aware that Gen Zs and Millennials are drawn to a feeling of community, even if that group exists in the Web3 realm.

Chief Executive Officer Howard Schultz said, "This would create a completely new set of digital network effects that will draw new consumers and be favorable to existing customers in our core retail outlets."

Companies of all sizes make plans for the future. Howard Schultz recognizes the need for innovative strategies to win over a younger demographic. The new web3-powered initiative with its third-place community and coffee-themed NFT collection may just be the solution.

However, loyalty programs are just a tip of how NFTs can help big brands offer more value to customers. There are still more use cases brands can explore with NFTs and we can only see how these big names take on the new concept.


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