Starbucks Rewards, the coffee giant’s loyalty program, is one of the best in the business, in part because it uses technology like the Starbucks App so well. Now, the chain seems ready to take another step forward in technology, with an announcement about new NFT features set for next month.
Back in May, Starbucks’ chief marketing officer, Brady Brewer, and advisor Adam Brotman, who has worked on digital projects for the chain before, gave an overview of the idea of “creating the digital Third Place.” “Third Place” is a popular term used by Starbucks to describe places where people hang out besides work and home. The article posted to Starbucks Stories was a mix of unanswered questions and broad statements. At one point, it said, “the particular technology that has captured our imagination is NFTs (non-fungible tokens).”
Brewer and Brotman wrote the following: “We plan to make a series of branded NFT collections. Owning one of these collections will get you into the community and give you access to special experiences and perks. The ideas behind these collections will come from Starbucks’ art, both old and new, as well as from world-class partnerships with other innovators and brands with similar goals.” But they only said that these NFTs would come “later this year.” after that.
But for Starbucks NFT fans (if they exist), TechCrunch noticed that an announcement date for the new Web3 initiative was tucked into Starbucks’ most recent earnings call. Howard Schultz, the company’s interim CEO, ended his opening remarks on Tuesday by saying, “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 that we will reveal at Investor Day.”
Starbucks’ Investor Day is set for September 13. This means that, in theory, we should finally learn more in just over a month.
Schultz did give a few more hints about the program, but he did so in the usual earnings call language. He said, “We believe this new digital Web3-enabled initiative will allow us to build on the current Starbucks Rewards engagement model with its powerful spend-to-earn Stars approach while also introducing new methods of emotionally engaging customers, expanding our digital third place community, and offering a broader set of rewards, including one-of-a-kind experiences that you can’t get anywhere else, integrating our digital Starbucks Rewards ecosystem with Starbucks-branded digital collectibles as both a reward and a community building element.”
TechCrunch says that the biggest news is that this is the first time Starbucks has said that NFTs would be linked to the Starbucks Rewards program. This means that buying NFTs could earn customers rewards or, on the other hand, NFTs could be given as a benefit.
None of this, though, answers the question of whether or not people will want Starbucks NFTs. Back in January, the Independent wrote about an analysis from Chainalysis that found, over a ten-month period, only 360,000 people actually owned NFTs, even though more than 300 million people use cryptocurrency. Will people who like Pumpkin Spice Lattes be the ones to help NFTs become popular? We might find out soon.