Starbucks Wonderland 2.0

Starbucks came to China in 1999. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said “the first 9 years wasn’t very successful”, but today it is the company’s fastest growing market with more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities. Only in Shanghai Starbucks has over 600 stores – the largest number of stores in any city where Starbucks has a presence.

However, everyone got tired of Starbucks around the corner. It became a “no-no” for creative people, who prefer local coffee shops such as Seesaw coffee, AUNN CAFE, Manner coffee instead of the well-known white paper cup.

Today Starbucks opened a Premium Reserve Roastery in Shanghai with the first augmented reality experience. It proves that if you have an exceptional idea powered by technology you will attract customers and drives sales up. Alibaba calls it the New Retail, which is a merge of online and offline commerce and the complete digitization in order to fully modernize its services. For some collaborations, we used a similar strategy in Wondullful for O2O projects.

Well, please welcome: Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai

  1. New concept – HUGE SPACE (3000 sqm).

It is not a regular coffee shop anymore. Reserve Roastery is a theater of coffee. Customers can visit many attractions including one (27 meters long bar) of three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods, explore specially-crafted teas at the 3-D printed tea bar and the stunning sight of a two-story, copper cask, adorned with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese stamps, hand-engraved to narrate the story of Starbucks and coffee.

Numbers? In the first day, even before the official opening, the shop has sold more than $2M of coffee and merchandise through Alibaba’s App.

  1. Retail experience.

Short term: fast mobile payment, Taobao AR, customer service. Long-term: coffee testing, teaching, shop tours.

3. Engagement with the local culture.

First Teavana Bar as modern tea experience specifically designed for Chinese customers. I know that they had started to work on “tea shop” concept in 2015 at the same moment when we had prepared our “tea corner”. Coffee culture is big, new, popular but tea remains very important for many people.

Local coffee beans. It’s not really a new thing because most of the coffee shops provide a variety of local beans but for Starbucks, it is a strategic move. Both for the business and for the brand. So Yunnan coffee will be a part of the menu in Shanghai Roastery and might become a regular thing in other cities.

Check out the video to see how much effort they put to rebuild the experience.


I believe that this is just a beginning for a tremendous transformation of coffee shops around China. And this is an example of how digital experience should be integrated into retail.