Why Starbucks is now two steps ahead others
The green iconic figure is now seen in more than 35,000 stores worldwide, and in almost every work office or school classroom. Starbucks Corporation is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain that still continues to expand rapidly.
Along with this global phenomenon is also its growing fanbase: In recent years, more than 50% of the company’s sales have been driven by its loyal reward members. The existing loyalty program already proved to be successful, yet in December 2022, Starbucks launched the Odyssey, to bring customer spending and engagement to new heights, drawing the attention of coffee and technology enthusiasts and the industry alike.
What is Starbucks Odyssey, and how does it work?
The Odyssey is an extension of Starbucks Rewards program using blockchain technology. While it is currently in invitation-only beta, it provides us a good taste of how the blockchain will be integrated into the company’s future customer experiences.
There are a few different ways members can redeem Odyssey’s benefits.
First, members can embark on Odyssey journeys. Each stamp journey is a series of activities and challenges that you can complete to ultimately earn the stamp. And the completion of each activity earns the members points that are added to their overall point total, which unlocks access to unique benefits and experiences.
For example, earning the “Coffee Heritage” journey stamp requires the user to complete 5 tasks: joining the Odyssey program, including completing a virtual tour of a Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica, which would earn you 75 points as well.
More points unlock access to more unique benefits and experiences. There are three levels that you can achieve — 1000 to 2999 points, 3000 to 5999 points, and 6000+ points — where the highest level includes richer and more unique benefits. Examples of such experiential rewards include virtual espresso martini-making class and trips to the Starbucks coffee farm in Costa Rica.
Another way to engage with the Odyssey is by purchasing the collectibles directly from the Market, powered by Nifty Gateway. The collectible stamps are valued by their rarity, and they can be bought or sold among members easily with a debit or credit card, without needing to use cryptocurrency.
More than $143,000 has been traded on its market since the release in December 2022. One stamp, the Holiday Cheer stamp, reached a floor price of $1,800+, which astonished many.
How does it drive profit?
The Odyssey journeys dropped so far all include tasks directly related to in-store purchases. For example, the Coffee Heritage Journey has the task “Try Our Signature Drinks” and the Doing Good Journey has the task “Explore our Non-Dairy Drinks”. Similar tasks can be cleverly and effortlessly integrated into the journeys to drive customer spending across a diverse range of products.
More importantly, the Odyssey program may have critical implications for Starbucks’ expansion and retention of its loyal customer base. 90-day active members in the traditional rewards program increased by 15% from 2022 to 2023 in the U.S., up to 30.4 million, and the company may expect to see an unprecedented growth by attracting customers through the experiential, technological, and social experiences newly offered by the Odyssey.
The new Odyssey stamps may become just like the limited-edition mugs Starbucks has been creating for different cities and holidays since 1994 — loved and sought after by millions around the world.
Starbucks’ new extension demonstrates that brands, even flourishing industry giants, are looking for new ways to engage with their existing customers through novel, clever solutions. If your brand is interested too, take a look at Bubblehouse to see how you can integrate collectibles and personalized rewards into your loyalty solutions.
If you’re interested in your business breaking new grounds in customer loyalty, book a quick call with Bubblehouse to find out how we can help your brand.