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Proof of concept: Nespresso’s Christchurch concept boutique

Coffee has a special place in New Zealanders’ hearts, and Nespresso has rolled out an experiential concept store that does our favourite beverage justice.

By Sarah Dunn | July 29, 2019 | Design

Experience has been the buzzword on every bricks and mortar retailer’s lips for at least the last 12 months. It’s about taking retail beyond just product and price to position stores as an environment where the customer can enjoy an experience which deepens their understanding of the product and brand.

Nespresso’s new concept store in Christchurch opened in May 2019. Designed by the award-winning Universal Design Studio, it’s only the second of its kind in the country.

The first Nespresso concept store opened in Albany, Auckland in 2017.At the Albany store, Universal Design Studio prioritised a ‘sensorial welcome’ station, where shoppers can touch, smell and taste the coffee; a discovery bar for taste and comparison; and a lab kitchen where shoppers can use different Nespresso machines.

All Nespresso boutiques feature a piece of artwork made from the company’s capsules. Auckland artist Greg Straight created Albany’s artwork, ‘Coastal Evergreen’, which depicts a pōhutukawa flower.

 Nespresso New Zealand country manager John Ciaglia says that to Nespresso, experiential retail means “putting the shopper at the heart of the experience”.

Each of the new experiences offered at the boutique concept stores is intended to engage customers as soon as they walk through the door, Ciaglia says. He explains that the boutiques are centred around five key principles, which in combination create a fully immersive experience.

Journey: “A simplified and holistic customer journey through carefully sequenced areas.”

Celebration:“A celebration of coffee moments with bespoke coffee rituals, new architectural codes for a warm and cosy - yet premium – atmosphere.”

Sustainability: “A sustainabilitystatement to nourish the Nespresso ambition to become the highest quality and the most sustainable coffee brand in the world.”

Physical to digital: “A seamless physical-to-digital ecosystem that connects mobile sales with retail. This ecosystem delivers an effortless purchase experience.

Ciaglia says as retail continues to evolve, the future of experiential retail lies in personalisation.

“Rather than seeing stores as a vehicle to simply sell product, retail spaces need to up their game to deliver consistent and unique experiences to their customers,” he says. “In a world where customers can purchase Nespresso coffees and machine solutions via, we have recognised the importance of creating a unique, physical coffee experience in our boutiques like no other. 

“Enjoying and exploring the taste and aromas of coffee is a daily pleasure. By stepping into one of our boutiques, Kiwis can discover so much more about the world of coffee, from bean to cup.”

The Christchurch boutique’s Universal Design Studio design was built by local interior specialists UDP Shopfitters. Christchurch-based architects DKO and project management specialists ECS Group ensured the fit out was seamless from conception to completion. 

Wrapping a wall of the boutique is a photograph of brick from the historic Arts Centre, captured by Christchurch-born photographer Sarah Rowlands.

“For locals this artwork signifies a preservation of Christchurch’s heritage, which is especially significant in time of such growth for the city,” Ciaglia says. “We’re thrilled with the work of our local specialists and are proud to welcome Christchurch coffee lovers into this innovative shopping experience.”

Among the boutique’s experiential elements are technological systems to reduce water and energy consumption, personalised coffee tasting sessions, and a virtual queuing system that’s unique to the concept stores. 

The system means customers don’t need to queue at a traditional counter. Instead, a staff member will help them order through a tablet while their purchase is prepared at the back of house.

Ciaglia says sustainability lies at the heart of Nespresso’s boutique concept. Elements such as tabletops finished with used coffee grounds, Forest Stewardship certified wood, technological systems designed to reduce energy and water consumption, and coffee plants in-store.

“Throughout the Christchurch boutique, visitors will discover the lengths Nespressogoes to in order to bring customers the highest quality coffee - from farming through to production and recycling.”

The Christchurch boutique will also serve as a recycling point for used Nespresso capsules, joining NZ PostShops and 11 florist collection points in and around the Christchurch region.

 This story originally appeared in NZ Retail issue 762 June/July 2019

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