While it’s common to hear about stores closing these days, Starbucks continues to open them, including their biggest one ever. The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery, which just opened in Shanghai, is the first non-U.S. location of a new prototype that is a ed full-on, highly-caffeinated brand and customer experience.
The 30,000 square foot Shanghai location is the world's largest Starbucks. Sure, it offers coffee, which you can enjoy at three coffee bars (one measuring 88 feet long - the chain's longest to date). But there’s much more than that. There’s an in-house bakery that employs 30 Chinese bakers and chefs, as well as a tea bar, an essential element of Chinese culture.
The store design is all about the experience; creating a well-curated environment that encourages interaction. It is the first Starbucks location to integrate augmented reality; combining real-world surroundings with tech. Customers can point their phones at various spots around the massive space to learn about the coffee brewing process. So, the new Shanghai location has bragging rights as the biggest Starbucks store in the world, for the time being, anyway. The company plans to open a 43,000 square foot location on Chicago's Michigan Avenue in 2019, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Why This Matters
In our 2018 Trend reports (get your copy here), we are happy to report there are several trends showcasing how expectations are changing around customer experience.
As you can see in the example above, not all retail stores are closing. The bricks are perhaps in a state of rearrangement as brands are exploring how best to re-invigorate and renovate the in store experience. The need for experience will never go away, as it is a basic human desire. Brands are just still in the throes of figuring out how to marry amorphous technological functionality into a physical space – and business model.