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Starbucks Hops on Web 3.0 Bandwagon With New Rewards Program

Joey Sendz

Joey Sendz

The rise and fall of non-fungible token (NFT) communities over the past few years have had different kinds of impacts on businesses that are entertaining the idea of taking their brands to the blockchain to ride on the popularity of NFTs. But just like all ventures, investors know that NFTs also have their risks. While so many token communities have failed, several others have succeeded in their launching and have seen their targets and plans come to fruition. For these reasons, investors and NFT enthusiasts continue to pursue and invest in promising blockchain projects.

Over the past years, popular brands have also opted to penetrate the blockchain to give their loyal patrons a new and fun experience while strategically taking their businesses to the next level. Starbucks is one brand that is headed in that direction, as its CEO Howard Schultz said that Web 3 would play a part in the future of the brand’s famous rewards program during the company’s Q3 2022 earnings call on Tuesday.

“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 revealed.

Schultz also shared that Starbucks will unveil the upcoming digital initiative on September 13, during one of the company’s biggest annual events, Investor Day, which will be held in Seattle. This move is said to be the brand’s way of building on its well-loved rewards engagement model that coffee lovers have been loyally pursuing for many years. Apart from this, the brand is expected to introduce new methods of engagement that will keep their client hooked.

Schultz also mentioned that the rewards would include rare experiences and Starbucks-branded digital collectibles that will serve as rewards and an element in community-building. “This will create an entirely new set of digital network effects that will attract new customers and be accretive to existing customers in our core retail stores,” he shared.

Despite the exciting possibilities, Starbucks is not fully supported by several of its employees. During a presentation that mentioned NFTs in May this year, a certain “Mark,” said to be an employee of the company, openly voiced his disagreement with it.

“Blockchain, whether it’s proof of stake or proof of work, is not planet positive… it is going to destroy the planet… and it makes me, as a technologist, and I’m not the only one very worried about that, that this company would go in that direction,” the employee said. “I don’t want to feel this way about Starbucks,” he added. The said employee also pointed out that NFTs promote exclusivity rather than inclusivity.

The company, in general, seems to be looking forward to its new direction. The only way to know how customers, employees, and investors will receive the initiative is to execute the plans. Schultz believes that this is the best way to go. “We are looking forward to fully showcasing the power and the opportunity of our reinvention plan,” he said.

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