Global coffee company seeks digital collectibles to engage customers and better engage them.
Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO, stated that Web3 will be a key part of the future success of Starbucks’ rewards program.

“We have been working on a very exciting new digital initiative that builds on our existing industry-leading digital platform in innovative new ways, all centered around coffee and–most importantly–loyalty,” Schultz said during the company’s Q3 2022 earnings call on Tuesday.

Schultz said that the company will announce the new digital initiative at its annual Investor Day event, which takes place in Seattle on September 13.

Starbucks will be able to expand on its rewards engagement model and introduce new methods of emotionally engaging customers. Schultz stated that the initiative will also allow Starbucks to increase its “digital 3rd place community” approach, as well as offer a wider range of rewards.

Third Place is a sociological term that describes a space between home or work.

These rewards include unique experiences and Starbucks-branded digital collectibles, which the CEO describes as both a reward for employees and community-building.

He stated that this will result in a completely new set of digital network benefits that will attract new customers as well as be accretive for existing customers within our core retail stores.

However, employees have not responded enthusiastically to Starbucks’ relationship with Web3 Initiatives. An employee, who gave only the first name Mark and described himself as a technologist, voiced disapproval at the company’s plans in May. He cited the negative environmental effects of NFTs.

“Blockchain is not planet-positive, regardless of whether it’s proof or work… It is going to ruin the planet… And it makes me, a technologist and not the only one, extremely worried about that,” he stated. “I don’t want to feel that way about Starbucks.”

Mark also claimed that NFTs are more exclusive and inclusive than they are inclusive.

Many NFT collections have been deemed high-value or “blue-chip” collectibles. The Bored Ape Yacht Club NFT Collection is one of these. Pop icon Madonna made headlines last month when she stated, “I was determined on getting an Ape, and really specific about the Ape I wanted: the Ape wearing a leather motorcycle helmet and multicolored teeth.”

Bored Ape #3756, the ape in question was sold on OpenSea for 800.69ETH (around $1.27 million).

Starbucks was the first company to venture into blockchain waters over four years ago. They started with ” bean–to-cup” traceability projects to help smallholder farmers.

It is yet to be seen if customers, employees, and investors will embrace the latest Web3 initiative. Schultz describes it as part of a bigger transformation for the corporate giant.

He said, “We are looking forward fully to showcasing power and the opportunity for our reinvention plan.”


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Angie Byrd