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Carly Wickham, Head of Marketing

Customer Experience Series: Part 2

Investigating Coffee Shop Customer Experiences

Following our recent blog reviewing why CX is important for retail, and as part of our ongoing quest to find and deliver great customer experiences, we have reviewed how coffee shops create great CX. The caffeine-fuelled investigation uncovered some interesting findings, and we’ve shared them in this SlideShare deck and summarised our insights below.

Coffeehouses alongside pubs have always formed a central part of London life, due to the use of the drink as a widely consumed social stimulant and through the creation of social hubs. Great customer experience is formed through community, a sense of belonging and a ‘third space’ as Starbucks once described it, somewhere to feel at home outside of the house or office.

Coffeehouses are always evolving, and we found five trends that are visibly transforming the sector and have ramifications for good CX across the board. These are:

  1. Specialism
  2. Collaboration
  3. Provenance
  4. Thematic belonging
  5. Workspace

Firstly, we found that becoming a respected specialist and sharing the love and passion for the product details provided customers with a depth of experience. For example, Monmouth provided tasting notes with its coffee beans. Retailers could adopt this by rethinking sales assistants as sector specialists and including customers in the creation process. This links to ‘always in beta’ trend identified in one of our previous blogs.

The second trend was using the coffee shop ideology, as a cosy, community enhancing stimulus, to enhance other environments, e.g. adding a coffee bar to Kit and Ace (a fashion store), or using it to bring together a community, for example, the Rapha Cycling Club. We’ve seen first-hand how community nurturing can enhance a brand with our work for The North Face, and the development of #neverstoplondon as a community built out of the Regent Street store, London.

Next up were the roasteries that provided a museum-esque exploration into the roasting process as part of their store offering. Customers can learn about the process and understand the provenance and methods used to create a perfect cup of coffee. Retailers could offer the customer experience of openness and transparency, engaging customers about the origin of aspects of the brand.

Trend number four was the growth in thematic coffee shop experiences. From cat cafes to coffee drinking board game hubs – barristers are popping up all over the place. A manifestation of ‘The Experience Economy’ (covered in our first blog) and people seeking out experiences over products. Think of the ways in which experiences can become part of the retail customer journey. Jewellery shops are a good example, with the gloved hands, leather trays, and the big reveal.

Finally, with the rise of mobility, freelance and flexible working, coffee shops have become the new workspaces. Perhaps these new locations create opportunities as retail spaces of the future?

Specialism, collaboration, provenance, thematic belonging and new workspaces are all great ways of seeking out how to engage with customers.


This is the second in our set of four blogs around great CX at retail. In part three, you’ll discover how sensorial branding can help enhance retail customer experience.

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