On December 5th, Starbucks Coffee Company opens its first international Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room in Shanghai. With a 30,000 sqaure foot layout and grande macchiatos as far as the eye can see, this new retail space is not only a savvy entrée into the Chinese market, it’s a shining example of the future of retail.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai is the first and only of its kind in Asia, the original Starbucks Reserve having opened in Seattle in 2014. Starbucks Reserve Shanghai nearly doubles the floorplan of the Seattle location, serving over 100 unique beverages across an 88 foot bar –the longest Starbucks coffee bar in the world.
Starbucks first accessed the Chinese market in 1999, the same year the Alibaba group was founded. According to Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba, Starbucks is not only selling coffee, but also representing a kind of new fashion lifestyle. Alibaba Group has set the precedent for E-commerce exhibiting a retail strategy that’s not just about offering online shopping, but an integration of online, brick and mortar stores, logistics, and big data.
Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks believes the Roastery & Tasting Room sets the trend for Starbucks’ development. Starbucks has more clearly defined its retail vision of the future by collaborating with the Alibaba group to glean insight into Chinese customers’ taste profiles and the overall market.
With the help of Alibaba’s big data resources and Internet technology, the Reserve Roastery, which is the largest Starbucks smart store in the world, offers a unique consumer experience. Shoppers can utilize the TaoBao mobile app, to order through a multimedia experience that also lets them see how their coffee is produced. And of course, users can pay using Alipay, the Alibaba online payment app, doing away with the queue at the register to which we’ve all become accustomed.
With the new interactive Reserve Roastery, this winters’ Starbucks coffee treats just got a little bit sweeter.