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A New Starbucks Experience In China

How does Starbucks refresh its brand and reconnect with Chinese consumers after 15 years?
Starbucks Coffee Company recently opened two flagship stores in China featuring new, bold design concepts to delight customers.

Starbucks China unveiled a ‘coffee tribute’ store at the prestigious Kerry Center in Beijing celebrating Starbucks coffee heritage and leadership, as well as an ‘eclectic chic’ 24-hour store in the heart of the cosmopolitan Taikoo Li Sanlitun district of Beijing that is symbolic of the energetic pulse of modern China.

“We are very proud of these two new iconic flagship stores in China. 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 John Culver, Starbucks Group President, China and Asia Pacific, Channel Development and Emerging Brands.

The new flagship stores in China were designed by members of the in-house Starbucks Global Design team and the local Starbucks China Design Studio, one of eighteen international design offices worldwide.
As a ‘coffee tribute’ store, the Kerry Center flagship store is 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.

This unique 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.

Reflecting the energy of a 24-hour store in one of the most current and cosmopolitan lifestyle sites in China, the bold design of the Taikoo Li Sanlitun store welcomes customers who want their coffee on-the-go in this fast-moving, energetic site.

On weekends, live music fills the second floor of the store, called ‘Club 1971,’ in honor of the year that Starbucks was founded; bringing people together and giving aspiring musicians a stage to showcase their talent.
“We have been embraced so richly and warmly in China and the flagship stores are our way of celebrating the local community and our customer connection through tangible expressions of the inspiration we drew from Chinese culture, art, music and most importantly, the optimistic and positive energy of its people. Today is a proud moment as we peer into the future of the Starbucks Experience in China with the opening of these two iconic flagship stores,” added Culver.

Our Thoughts

Okay, in a nutshell, this is a super smart move by the king of coffee. After 15 years of operations in China, the brand definitely needs new was to engage and connect with consumers; especially when the threat of competition eats away at a bottom line from many different directions.

We think Starbucks is doing some really cool things. Creating a huge 24-hour store in one of the trendiest districts is not only a massive brand statement; it says something about what the brand stands for: convenience, dependability, and quality.

The new stores are really fantastic pieces of architecture, featuring modern and trendy design with a lot of open space and raw materials.

Another way the brand is cleverly connecting with consumers is by featuring local artists and musicians to fill their space. Coffee bar by day and music club by night, the second floor transformation into Club 1971 will be sure to attract a crowd.

Starbucks is doing a great job at keeping their brand fresh in the eyes of their target consumers.

By Joshua Roberts 
  Creative Director


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