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Coffee shops and cafes have, throughout their history, always existed in the semi-liminal “third space” boundary between work and home, and now the Seattle-based Starbucks is creating an entirely new type of “third space” by launching an NFT community exclusively for brand fans who want more than just a caffeine kick. The digital collectible-based loyalty program will offer access to exclusive content and other programming and experiences, all defined by the Starbucks brand pillars and company mission.
The Starbucks-branded NFT collections will be launched sequentially, in tiers, as the company iterates this innovative next-generation membership model. To start, the loyalty initiative will tie its insider benefits to things purely centered around coffee and Starbucks products. Further iterations will touch upon a broader spectrum of the areas the cafe chain has built its blue chip reputation upon, including art, music, books, and all things coffeehouse culture. Starbucks plans to create a global digital community of customers defined by collaboration, experiences and shared ownership through the NFT-based program.
The new, NFT and web3 driven “third place” community will be built on an environmentally sustainable platform using technology that aligns with and ideally even adds to the coffee chain’s pre-existing sustainability commitments. The thematic engine of the NFT collections will tie back to Starbucks own heritage as a world-class coffeehouse, and provide access for the member-owners to a series of exclusive experiences and perks, including collaborations with other like-minded brands and creative businesses and communities.
Drawing upon its over 50-year history, the company plans to leverage its unique treasure trove of assets spanning coffee, art, storytelling, and communal sense of place to provide a programmable, brandable, digital experience able to be accessed through the unique benefits of NFT ownership. Consumers expect to be rewarded by brands and retailers not only for their spending, but also for their engagement and contributions, and by bringing digital experiences to life through a novel approach to blockchain technology Starbucks hopes to build greater consumer engagement. Tokenization and NFTs add a layer of transparency, traceability and authenticity to the modern ownership.
This article originally appeared in the PSFK iQ report, Fractional Ownership.