Learnings from the End of Starbucks' Odyssey NFT Program

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From art to sports, luxury fashion, and even credit cards, Web3 is ushering in an entirely new set of tools for brands that want to build deeper connections with communities across dynamic environments that they can customize to their greatest needs.

Let’s break down some of the benefits we talked about last week in greater detail, starting with web3’s ability to help brands:

  1. Gain insights into customer activity and behavior across both online and real-world touchpoints.
  2. Leverage new analytics by connecting data from wallet signatures and onchain activity to build richer profiles and segment audiences more effectively.

Starbucks Odyssey Stamps

This week, Starbucks announced it was sunsetting Odyssey, its web3 loyalty program. While some might label this as a loss for brands in web3, the program can still be used as a case study for why leveraging web3 technology is so valuable for brands and their consumers in the long term.

As explained by Alex Nason, a Web3 Manager at Puma, the effect of Odyssey ending actually presents further opportunity for Starbucks, and far more than it would have if they decided to end their traditional rewards (where all the value of the program would go down to zero for the brand and its customers).

This is because Odyssey's 42,000 holders' onchain activity tells a powerful story.

How many users held? How many traded their stamps? What other digital assets did participants hold, and what additional online communities were they a part of?

This level of insight, made possible by onchain wallet analytics, can be used by any brand to build rich consumer profiles, craft new programs and experiences, and refine products based on consumer habits and interests.

As Nason wrote, these analytics can even be useful to other brands who might want to attract Starbucks' coffee-obsessed customers. While it's currently unclear just exactly what will happen with Odyssey users' owned points now that the program is winding down, there's no reason they shouldn't remain usable (i.e., interoperable) across other blockchains and loyalty programs.

Marc Baumann's post echoed the value of Starbucks Odyssey. Baumann wrote the program generated $1,040,000 in its first year and would likely help incentivize holders to visit IRL locations, as even traditional Starbucks Rewards members are reportedly 5.6 times more likely to visit a location than non-members. For Odyssey, this is a value that extends far beyond the end of a single campaign.

Note: when traditional loyalty programs cease to exist, potentially due to a company filing for bankruptcy, the ability to retain or redeem points usually ends there.

Case in point: a bankrupt airline.

Another example of how onchain analytics can be beneficial to brands? Segmenting audiences.

Using traditional AdTech or CRM services, the ability to target niche audiences comes at a rising cost with often diminishing returns.

And with fleeting algorithms and advertising policies at platforms like X, it’s not always easy to have confidence in who you’re targeting.

Across industries like music, spirits, and sports, web3 loyalty programs and NFTs can help brands seamlessly identify their superfans and big-ticket buyers to return customers — without relying on third parties.

This can be done through the use of Attendance NFTs (often known as POAPs) or by launching a secondary marketplace, like the Mojito-powered Whiskey Exchange Cabinet being used by Glenlivet.

In these direct brand-to-user environments, it becomes much easier to identify your top consumers and engage with them 1:1 through Web3 wallet technology.

This is where web3’s potential to help leverage “transparent onchain insights so your brand can power leaderboards to gamify engagement” becomes so powerful.

Across traditional marketing campaigns and loyalty programs, engagement is often connected to a specific product, advertisement, or milestone. When those things end, results and insights remain tied into outside entities — an agency, CRM platform, or AdTech product. That’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

When using web3, even when a single program (like Starbucks Odyssey) ends, the potential to maintain and put those rich analytics to work extends far past the final drop.


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