Starbucks Odyssey Update

Tom Borgers
Published in
6 min readJul 21, 2023

Last December, Starbucks officially launched the Beta version of its innovative Odyssey program to a small group of customers and employees and released its first digital collectible Stamp. A little over 6 months later, where is Odyssey at, and what’s next for Starbucks?

As of July 2023, Starbucks has released four types of “Stamps” (that’s how they call their digital collectibles):

  • 6 “Journey Stamps,” which can be earned at no additional cost by completing “journeys” focused on learning about Starbucks’ heritage as well as purchasing coffee.
  • 2 limited-edition Stamps, which can be purchased on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway and come with 1,500 bonus points.
  • 1 open-edition Stamp, which can be purchased on Nifty Gateway and comes with 250 bonus points.
  • 1 airdrop, which comes with 100 bonus points and was airdropped to Odyssey members who have completed at least two journeys and collected one limited-edition stamp.

While Starbucks hasn’t revealed any figures on the number of active users or waitlist sign-ups, we can get an idea of Odyssey’s performance by looking at the sales volume of these Stamps and current members’ feedback. At the time of writing, a total of $2.26M in trading volume has been recorded on the NFT marketplace Nifty Gateway (primary + secondary sales). Let’s break it down below.

The first journey stamp: Holiday Cheer

The Holiday Cheer Journey Stamp was released in December 2022. Odyssey members were tasked to complete a series of activities:

  • Cheerful Trivia: correctly answering a series of questions.
  • Match the holiday cup with the year they were released.
  • Enter the Starbucks for Life challenge.
  • Take the “Kindness Pledge” by either paying it forward, sending a note of appreciation, or giving an unexpected compliment.
  • Buy a Starbucks gift card to give away.

Although there was no cost to earn the Journey Stamps, the highest sales price on the secondary market clocked in at over $1,900. At the time of writing, the average sales price is $1,006, and the floor price is $845, resulting in a total secondary market trading value of $247,572.36.

  1. “Holiday Cheer” was Odyssey’s first and only NFT in 2022, making it highly collectable.
  2. Despite a collection size of 5,000, only 579 journeys were completed, increasing the NFTs’ rarity.

At the time of writing, the floor prices of the rest of the journey stamps are significantly lower, partly due to varying rarity, the complexity of the journey, and the associated Odyssey points.

The Limited Edition Collections

“The Siren Collection” was released in March 2023. Each stamp featured unique generative artwork and was priced at $100. Each member could buy a maximum of two stamps and pay by either credit card or through their MetaMask wallet. By collecting the Stamp, they can also earn 1,500 bonus points, which, if the holder decides to sell the Stamp on the secondary market, will be transferred to the buyer.

The 2,000-item collection sold out in 18 minutes and even crashed the Odyssey site. It is currently held by 1.1k unique owners and has yielded $899k to date (primary + secondary sales combined).

However, in contrast to the first limited edition’s wild popularity, the second limited edition, “The First Store Collection Stamp,” did not sell out. Out of the available 5,000 Stamps (NFTs), only 4,579 were sold, according to public data on Nifty Gateway. Currently, the floor price is $129, also lower than the first limited edition and only slightly higher than the original listing price ($100).

What may have contributed to this result? For one, the overall NFT market has been witnessing a decline in trading activity over the past few months. Starbucks may also have overestimated the demand — the second collection was limited to one stamp per person, compared to two stamps per person for the first collection, which was only a month ago, and there were only 1.1k unique owners then. As this remains a new experiment for Starbucks, it’s understandable that the coffee giant is playing around with different approaches to gauge demand and engagement.

How Are Odyssey Members Being Rewarded?

Odyssey’s reward mechanism is primarily based on the members’ points and is divided into three tiers:

  • Level 1 (1,000–2,000 points): a virtual coffee class, a Starbucks coffee passport, or making a charitable donation to Feeding America.
  • Level 2 (3,000–5,999 points): naming a coffee tree, a virtual tasting paired with a bag of coffee, or a Starbucks cold cup.
  • Level 3 (6,000 points and more): a customized MiiR 360 traveler bottle, 30 days of free drinks or an experience at a Starbucks Reserve store.

The Verdict

So far, UGC content on Twitter around the Odyssey program is largely positive. Some members have shared that their Starbucks coffee consumption has increased eight-fold since they began completing journeys. Beyond transactional value, Starbucks Odyssey is also a branding activity, showcasing its rich coffee heritage in a hyper-connected way. For example, one journey involved a virtual trip to its Costa Rica coffee farm.

However, there is still room for improvement. Some Odyssey members have reported technical and syncing issues. Some members described the user experience as “underwhelming.” Mohanbir Sawhney, a professor at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, questioned the “why” behind this initiative and its future direction in a POV article. For Starbucks, this will be welcome and valuable feedback; you can’t expect full marks out the gate as an early adopter in the Web3 space. This kind of feedback will help Starbucks refine their Web3 strategy for the next steps.

So, where is Odyssey heading? Starbucks sent an email to Odyssey Beta users with the subject line “We’re Getting Closer.” Some suspected that this may suggest a public rollout in the near future. But one thing is for certain — community will become the heart of Odyssey, according to Joseph O’Rourke, co-founder of Forum3, the company advising Starbucks on its Web3 loyalty program.

How does Starbucks’ Web3 loyalty program differ from its Web2 rewards program?

  1. Gamification: The “journey” system is a form of gamification where members earn points by engaging with gamified experiences. This has rejuvenated the customer experience and Starbucks’ content. For example, the Costa Rica coffee farm video, as mentioned above, was actually filmed a couple of years ago but has hardly received any public attention. Making it part of a gamified experience has increased engagement and prompted more interest in Starbucks’ coffee heritage.
  2. Ownership: Some members may value the collectability of the Stamps and the associated bonus points, leading them to hold onto their stamps. Others may prefer to trade them for cash as compensation for their effort and money spent in completing the journey. What matters here is that Web3 gives them full control and ownership over their assets, allowing them to list their assets for sale and access the public transaction history to have more visibility of the assets’ value.
  3. The intangible brand value: quoting from Joseph O’Rourke from Forum3 in an interview:

“What Web3 and NFTs unlock here is that intangible Starbucks brand value. In the past, value promotion has been a very transactional, one-way activity, but now, for the first time, it has become a two-way value exchange.”

Starbucks is pioneering the Web3 loyalty opportunity space, and we at 3mint can’t wait to see what’s next!

Are you interested in learning more about Web3 loyalty or considering launching your own program? Good news, we’re here to help. Get in touch here to get started.

About 3mint

3mint is the all-in-one Web3 customer loyalty platform for consumer brands, enabling you to leverage digital collectibles to capture more customer data, drive engagement, and build loyalty — without any of the hassle of dealing with Web3. Get in touch with us here.