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How to Transform Customer Loyalty & Sustainability with NFTs in 2023

Brewing Success: Starbucks' Journey to Web 3.0 and a Sustainable Future


In today’s fast-paced and challenging economy, businesses know one truth: keeping current customers happy is cheaper and easier than finding new ones. Amid the surge of technological evolution, blockchain-powered loyalty programs are stepping up to the plate in the marketing world.

These savvy programs help businesses build strong ties with customers, making them more likely to stick around. A loyal customer base becomes a steady rock in these uncertain times.

As we dive deeper into the era of environmental consciousness, businesses are eager to showcase their green ethos. Here, NFT loyalty programs shine as potent tools.

By rewarding customers with tokens for eco-friendly actions like energy conservation or supporting renewable projects, businesses can underscore their commitment to sustainability. It’s a win-win situation where customers feel valued, and green habits get a boost.

Now, let’s talk about a real-world example.

A New Level of Loyalty Program: The Starbucks x Polygon

As 2022 drew close, Starbucks stepped onto the crypto stage, introducing The Odyssey – an inventive NFT-based loyalty program. This move was a cup of fresh innovation, blending the familiar Starbucks Rewards with the bubbling trend of NFTs and the solid tech of Polygon’s blockchain.

Polygon, recognized for its efficient proof-of-stake (PoS) network, is a smart choice for Starbucks. It skillfully navigates the roadblocks of high costs and slow transaction speeds that Ethereum sometimes grapples with, ensuring a smoother ride for The Odyssey.

The Odyssey isn’t just a perk-packed loyalty program—it’s an immersive coffee journey. Participating in various activities and challenges enables customers to earn points and stamps. These aren’t ordinary stamps. They are rare NFTs that can be earned through active participation or purchased directly in the marketplace.

Each stamp collected or bought, each activity completed, propels customers further along the journey, unlocking more exclusive experiences. Each reward is designed to be as enticing as the last, from personalized gifts and exclusive classes to an invitation to visit a Starbucks coffee farm.

The platform of choice is NiftyGateway, enabling direct credit card purchases. This means there’s no requirement for a crypto wallet or any cryptocurrency, making The Odyssey a journey anyone can join.

But the program isn’t just about getting—it’s about giving too. A distinct charitable component sets The Odyssey apart. Limited stamp sales feed into Starbucks’ sustainability efforts and promote eco-friendly behaviours.

The ‘Doing Good Journey Stamp’ is a case in point, turning customer participation into real-world impact. This is Starbucks – creating a blend of loyalty, tech, and conscientious consumption, and serving it globally.

Do people like it?

But what do the customers think about Starbucks’ new loyalty program? After all, the success of an innovation lies in its adoption. Six months post-launch, we decided to take the temperature of The Odyssey.

One of the best places to gauge user sentiment about blockchain projects is Twitter, a haven for crypto enthusiasts. The feedback found there regarding The Odyssey was positive, featuring high engagement levels and optimistic comments.

One user, for instance, gleefully posted about his free coffee for 30 days, a perk obtained through participation in The Odyssey:

In a different yet equally inspiring example, another participant had the unique opportunity to name a tree, a reward that aligns perfectly with Starbucks’ environmental conservation efforts:

This participant’s excitement is palpable and reflects the program’s success in creating meaningful, emotional customer connections.

Launching another airdrop on June 8th, Starbucks just sparked a fresh chatter on Twitter. Clearly, they’re not just dabbling in the blockchain—they’re actively keeping the conversation going.

The success of The Odyssey isn’t just measured in tweets but also in the tangible benefits reaped by Starbucks.

On June 14, 2023, the most popular item was “The First Store Collection Stamp“, receiving 5K likes, and its floor price is currently $100 (USD) each. While, the most expensive one is “The Holiday Cheer Stamp“, with a $985 (USD) floor price.

The profits generated from their NFT marketplace indicate that customers are engaging with the program and finding real-life value from their digital experiences.

Behind the Scene: The Starbucks x Microsoft Azure

Incorporating NFTs and blockchain into their loyalty program isn’t Starbucks’ first foray into leveraging technology to reshape the customer experience. Starbucks has been collaborating with Microsoft Azure, using its advanced technologies to enhance its operations.

  1. Predictive Personalization: Starbucks uses Microsoft Azure’s reinforcement learning to power their mobile app, offering personalized recommendations based on factors like local store inventory, weather, and past orders.
  2. Blockchain for Sustainability: Starbucks has been tracking the journey of its coffee beans from farm to cup using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service, demonstrating its commitment to transparency and sustainability.

The collaboration between Starbucks and Microsoft is an excellent background for understanding the scope of Starbucks’ technological integration in their business, including but not limited to the innovative NFT-based loyalty program.

For more details on this collaboration, check out the following video:


What can we learn from Starbucks?

Starbucks’ innovative approach to loyalty programs offers several valuable insights for businesses willing to explore the digital frontier:

  • Embrace Innovation: Starbucks’ leap into NFTs demonstrates the potential gains from being at the forefront of emerging technologies. Brands that follow suit might find a competitive edge, particularly among younger, tech-savvy demographics.
  • Promote Sustainability: By rewarding eco-friendly actions with NFTs, Starbucks aligns itself with the growing consumer demand for environmental consciousness. Brands can similarly bolster their green credentials by promoting sustainability through rewards programs.
  • Personalize the Experience: Starbucks’ use of reinforcement learning to tailor recommendations to individual customer preferences highlights the power of personalization in boosting customer loyalty.
  • Create Exclusivity: The limited-edition nature of NFTs adds an element of exclusivity and excitement that enhances the overall customer experience.
  • Lower Barriers to Entry: By allowing customers to purchase NFTs directly with a credit card, Starbucks eliminates the need for a crypto wallet or cryptocurrency. This inclusive approach can attract a wider range of participants.


As we reflect upon the innovative steps Starbucks has taken to transform customer loyalty and engagement, we realize we’re standing at the threshold of a new era. We’re witnessing the dawn of a future where technology, sustainability, and customer-centricity fuse together, transcending traditional boundaries of brand interaction.

Starbucks isn’t the only brand to have recognized this; we see other major names like Clinique, Louis Vuitton, and Prada stepping into the innovative realm of Web 3.0, each creating a unique blend of artistry and customer rewards through their own NFT programs.

But the beauty of NFT loyalty programs goes beyond the glitz of exclusive rewards and immersive experiences. They’re about building connections at their core—fostering a sense of community and shared values between brands and their customers. They bring a tangible, valuable aspect to the intangible, promoting eco-friendly practices, creating emotional ties, and encouraging customers to become active participants rather than passive consumers.

NFT loyalty programs are more than just a fad. They’re redefining customer loyalty and digital marketing, representing a bold step towards a sustainable business future.


It's time to embrace the future and redefine customer loyalty!
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