Starbucks announced a partnership with e-commerce platform, Meituan to launch three expanded digital services in China enabling customers to connect with their local stores and personalise their Starbucks Experience online and offline.
One of the new services is the “1971 Salon”, which is exclusive to the Meituan platform, offering customers the option to reserve areas in select Starbucks stores for private events and experiences, including immersive coffee workshops, coffee tasting sessions and local community gatherings. More than 60 stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu now offer this service, with plans to expand across the market.
In addition, the company has expanded its Starbucks Delivers program with more order customization features, such as adjusting sugar and ice in a beverage, and “smart” technology that automatically reallocates orders to other stores when products are sold out. For the first time in China, customers can order premium coffees, specialty beverages and food from Starbucks Reserve to arrive at their doorstep.
Starbucks has also established new ‘Super Store’ virtual pages where customers can explore local community events and order directly from Starbucks stores across China. By the end of 2022, each of the 5,000+ Starbucks stores throughout China will have a unique page on the Meituan platform, where customers can order online, use the 1971 Boutique booking service and explore local events on a digital community board. Store partners will customize each page with exclusive store content, showcasing the distinctive design and character of each store and its partners.
“Technological advancements in the pandemic era have blurred the boundaries between home, work, and the third place. This has inspired us to explore how we can transform a Starbucks store into a ‘1971 Salon’ that offers customers novel ways of experiencing the Starbucks brand that they love and are familiar with, as we unlock new occasions to surprise and delight our customers,” said Leo Tsoi, Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks China.
Starbucks entered China with the opening of its first store in Beijing in January 1999. Over the years, Starbucks has successfully expanded operations to more than 5,000 stores, employing more than 66,000 partners in 208 cities. China is Starbucks single largest market outside of the United States. During its first-ever China Investor Conference in May 2018, the company announced plans to expand store count to 6,000 stores across 230 cities in China by the end of FY22.