Can Starbucks replicate the ‘third place’ in the metaverse?
Starbucks is looking to create a “digital third place” with the help of emerging Web 3 technologies that will support the sale of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and drive loyalty.
As with many recent announcements involving the metaverse, the details are fuzzy and the concepts appear to be in development.
Starbucks’ plans call for the launch of its first NFT collection later this year with the first focus on “coffee art and storytelling,” Brady Brewer, EVP and chief marketing officer, said in a blog post. Other assets that could be used in the creation of future NFTs include its nearly 27 million active Rewards members in the U.S., store designs, Starbucks card art, music and books.
The sale of digital art is expected to make the venture accretive, but NFT ownership also supports membership and access to exclusive experiences and perks.
“We are fascinated by how NFTs allow people to own a programmable, brandable digital asset, that also doubles as an access pass,” wrote Mr. Brewer. “We believe NFTs have broad potential to create an expanded, shared-ownership model for loyalty, the offering of unique experiences, community building, storytelling, and customer engagement. And, while doing so, also being a source of accretive business that can benefit a number of stakeholders in the process, while creating a new type of digital ecosystem to complement Starbucks current digital platform offering.”
Starbucks’ enhanced digital push comes as its locations, according to the Wall Street Journal, are becoming “less and less the ‘third place’ between the office and home for customers to socialize, relax or mooch off free Wi-Fi” as only 30 percent of customers now consume their purchases on premises with the greater adoption of mobile pickup and delivery.
Speaking on last week’s second-quarter analyst call, Howard Schultz, founder and interim CEO, said the Starbucks experience extends well beyond the cafes. He said, “The equity of the Starbucks brand has real legitimacy and relevance outside of our stores. And the world we’re living in today, our customer base is getting younger, they’re digital natives, and they expect Starbucks to be as relevant outside of our stores as we are inside.”
- Starbucks: We’re creating the digital Third Place – Starbucks
- Starbucks Reports Q2 Fiscal 2022 Results – Starbucks
- Starbucks (SBUX) Q2 2022 Earnings Call Transcript – Motley Fool
- At Starbucks, Third Place Is No Longer Gold – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Starbucks’ vision of extending the “third place” concept online through NFTs and metaverse content? How well do you see such a digital realm working in helping Starbucks build true relevancy online?