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Starbucks to Close NFT Loyalty Programme Odyssey after 18 Months

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After just over 18 months since its launch, Starbucks has announced the closure of its NFT loyalty programme called Starbucks Odyssey. The programme, known for incorporating NFTs into its rewards system, was seen as an innovative move by the coffee giant but now faces discontinuation by the end of the current month.

At its inception, Starbucks Odyssey was met with some skepticism due to its complexity and the unclear value proposition it presented to consumers. Starbucks’ traditional loyalty scheme, Starbucks Rewards, has been a notable success in the food and beverage space, offering customers a straightforward way to earn rewards based on their purchases.

Unlike Starbucks Rewards, Odyssey introduced a multi-tiered system where users could earn both Journey Stamps, Starbucks’ NFT collectibles, and Odyssey Points based on various interactions with the brand. The intricate setup, which included NFT trading and an array of rewards like virtual classes and exclusive merchandise, made the programme less intuitive and harder to engage with for the average consumer.

Even before its launch, industry experts like Jennifer Sanasie expressed concerns about Starbucks’ rationale behind Odyssey, emphasizing the need for a clear problem-solving approach when adopting new technologies like NFTs in loyalty schemes.

Despite creating a tight-knit community of 58,000 active participants as acknowledged on the Chain Reaction podcast, Starbucks Odyssey struggled to transition web3 enthusiasts into loyal customers. The programme aimed to offer a digital ‘Third Place’ for Starbucks Rewards members, yet with the closure of the associated Discord and marketplace, Starbucks seems to be pivoting towards other loyalty strategies.

As Starbucks plans the closure of Odyssey, speculation arises that learnings from the programme might influence future loyalty initiatives or integration with Starbucks Rewards. To bolster its loyalty offerings, Starbucks Korea recently introduced ‘STARBUCKS STAR★LIGHT,’ a project intertwining NFT rewards into the existing rewards system, reflecting the company’s ongoing interest in NFTs and customer engagement.

Rachel Adams

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