From Starbucks to sailing leagues, Web3 loyalty programs are being tested more broadly

Please fol­low and like us:
Pin Share

As more brands toy with NFT-based loy­al­ty pro­grams, cof­fee shops and sail­boats could soon be the next acid tests for whether the promis­es of Web3 are com­pelling enough for users to sign up.

Last week, Star­bucks announced the debut of Star­bucks Odyssey, which com­bines the cof­fee chain’s exist­ing rewards pro­gram with a new NFT plat­form set to launch lat­er this year. Oth­ers have also rolled out new NFT-relat­ed ini­tia­tives for loy­al­ty pro­grams. GameStop, for exam­ple, announced new NFT trad­ing cards for its vir­tu­al game Gods Unchained that will be avail­able to mem­bers of the retailer’s loy­al­ty pro­gram. The inter­na­tion­al sail­ing com­pe­ti­tion Sail­GP also unveiled plans for a Web3-pow­ered loy­al­ty pro­gram built in part­ner­ship with spon­sors Ora­cle and the blockchain pro­to­col Near. 

They’re not the only ones. Last month, Auto­graph — an NFT start­up co-found­ed by Tom Brady — recent­ly announced a new club that gives fans ways to con­nect with the NFL star through­out the sea­son via var­i­ous online and offline events and con­tent. “We have to act as the bea­con for the main­stream audi­ence,” said Auto­graph chief mar­ket­ing offi­cer Pat Cas­sidy. “If this works, it’s the blue­print for the future of fandom.”

Rather than sim­ply mak­ing mon­ey off NFT sales, com­pa­nies are exper­i­ment­ing with new ways to engage cus­tomers over longer peri­ods of time via loy­al­ty pro­grams. Although com­pa­nies are still build­ing out what these might look like, they could give mem­bers access to com­mu­ni­ties, exclu­sive con­tent, and new expe­ri­ences both online and offline.

Daisy Vol­lans, SailGP’s head of dig­i­tal and engage­ment, said cer­tain amounts of points will unlock unique NFTs; a group of NFTs could unlock new activ­i­ties. The plan is to cre­ate ini­tia­tives that reward fans as they col­lect NFTs that can then be used for trad­ing, cre­at­ing con­tent such as avatars for fans, or hav­ing real-life expe­ri­ences that might oth­er­wise usu­al­ly be out of reach to the aver­age person. 

“At the end of the day, we’re try­ing to go from closed sys­tems, open sys­tems,” said Chris Ghent, Glob­al head of brand strat­e­gy and part­ner­ships at Near Foun­da­tion. “So if you’re talk­ing about AmEx points being locked into their world, imag­ine a world where you could be a super­fan of Sail­GP where those tokens could be swapped for some oth­er type of token or some oth­er type of loy­al­ty pro­gram… You can remove the fric­tion between being locked into indi­vid­ual programs.”

Some major brands have also been ear­ly adopters of Web3 to pro­tect con­trol of cus­tomers, accord­ing to Gart­ner Research ana­lyst Avi­vah Liton. Mean­while, oth­ers say Web3-based loy­al­ty pro­gram promis­es could also give NFT own­ers a chance to get more access than typ­i­cal loy­al­ty pro­grams. Elav Hor­witz, glob­al inno­va­tion direc­tor at McCann World Group, said some mem­ber­ships are “almost like every­one is part of the dig­i­tal board of directors.”

“You are going to poten­tial­ly project influ­ence in the right way that maybe before you only could if you man­aged to put a spon­sor­ship on a big­ger sports group,” Hor­witz said. “Now, you can actu­al­ly influ­ence it now if you buy the NFT.”

Star­bucks wasn’t avail­able for an inter­view about its future plans. How­ev­er, in a sep­a­rate inter­view with Digi­day last month, Adam Brot­man — the for­mer chief dig­i­tal offi­cer of Star­bucks and cur­rent CEO of the cus­tomer growth plat­form Bright­loom — spoke with Digi­day about the poten­tial of NFT-enabled loy­al­ty pro­grams more broad­ly. Brot­man — who’s also cofounder of Forum3 which helped build Star­bucks Odyssey — described Web3 loy­al­ty pro­grams as a “Venn dia­gram between cus­tomer engage­ment, and next gen­er­a­tion loy­al­ty and data and analytics.”

“Once you under­stand your cus­tomer base, and you’ve got seg­men­ta­tion,” he said, “It’s not a far leap to say, ‘Well, how else could you engage with them out­side of your tra­di­tion­al loy­al­ty model?’”

Oth­er star­tups are also work­ing on var­i­ous Web3-enabled loy­al­ty pro­grams for brands. The NFT brand loy­al­ty start­up Hang sees a way for a beer brand like Bud­weis­er — one of Hang’s clients — to find new ways of build­ing loy­al­ty when peo­ple buy beer from var­i­ous places such as gas sta­tions and gro­cery stores by let­ting cus­tomers get points regard­less of where they bought their beer. Mean­while, the QR code start­up Flow­code part­nered in July with POAP Inc. — anoth­er cryp­to-enabled start­up — to cre­ate new ways of let­ting peo­ple earn NFT badges when they vis­it phys­i­cal places and events. 

“If I asked how many brands have a two-way rela­tion­ship — and a tru­ly two-way rela­tion­ship where there’s not a wall — the vast major­i­ty don’t have that two-way rela­tion­ship with con­sumers,” Flow­code founder and CEO Tim Arm­strong said dur­ing a recent inter­view with Digi­day.

There’s also the ques­tion of whether brands are sim­ply cre­at­ing new walled gar­dens or ful­ly embrac­ing the promise of Web3 and the open web that allows peo­ple to bring their NFTs wher­ev­er they want. Accord­ing to Liton, the Gart­ner ana­lyst, a lot of brands aren’t lean­ing heav­i­ly enough into the poten­tial of the tech­nol­o­gy. So far, she said it seems like Star­bucks isn’t doing any­thing that isn’t already pos­si­ble with pre-Web3 tech.

“If they let peo­ple take this tick­et and to go Peet’s and buy cof­fee, then we’re talk­ing,” Liton said. “… If they’re going to keep the user locked into the Star­bucks world, it’s not real­ly innovative.”

Source link

Please fol­low and like us:
Pin Share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.