Starbucks to Elevate the Experience Factor in China: “It’s a Lifestyle to the Chinese”

on September 17 2013 | in Dining Lifestyle | by | with No Comments

Starbucks, Beijing, China

A Starbucks on every corner in Beijing? That can become a reality…very soon.

Starbucks will open its 1,000th store by year-end and will total 4,000 locations across China and Asia Pacific. China is set to become Starbucks’ second-largest market by early next year, reports USA Today.

Already successful, the coffee giant is still tinkering with its concept — brand and store format — to gain greater appeal in China, including a new, 24-hour Starbucks in Beijing.

Starbucks is no longer trying to attract the curiosity seeker; rather, the company wants the customer to keep coming back. Starbucks realizes the Chinese consumer is different. Unlike the US, where stores do 70 percent of their business before 10am, Starbucks stores in China do more than 70 percent of their business in the afternoon and evening, according to John Culver, Starbucks Group President of China and Asia Pacific.

With the opening of two new flagships in Beijing this week – designed by Starbucks’ global and local design teams – the company is unveiling its strategy to retain consumers and make coffee-drinking part of the Chinese lifestyle. And the company is determined to appeal to all.

The new Kerry Center flagship, located in one of the busiest intersections in Beijing, is a ‘coffee tribute’ store that offers hand-crafted tastings to customers.

The concept store is described by Restaurant News as a “two-story design, built with coffee bars on both the lower and upper levels. The upper bar houses ‘The Starbucks Coffee Workshop,’ which invites customers to experience and discover Starbucks unique coffees, celebrated by origin, while enjoying the finest hand-crafted espresso-beverages. The store also features locally-relevant design elements, by local artists, to bring-to-life the Starbucks bean-to-cup journey and coffee heritage. Both the lower and upper level bars are carved and inked with visual images telling the story of how coffee beans are grown, sourced and processed, executed through a creative and modern interpretation of Chinese brush painting.”

The other flagship, located in the younger, hipper Taikoo Li Sanlitun district of Beijing, features ceiling-to-floor glass windows and targets Millennials. It is open 24 hours “with a special club on the second floor that features live music on weekends.”

“It’s a lifestyle to the Chinese,” says Culver. “It’s much more of a gathering place for social occasions.”

“The new stores celebrate the unique place that coffee has in the daily lives of Chinese customers, and are a reflection of our near 15-year journey in China since we opened our first store in Beijing in 1999,” said Culver. “These new stores reflect our commitment to consistently elevate the Starbucks Experience while achieving the balance between representing our 42-year coffee heritage and China’s modern lifestyle.”

image credit: bfi shadow

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