Retail Pulse: Starbucks Opens NYC Roastery; Amazon Eyes London For Amazon Go

Retailers are bringing experiential stores to big cities, and Starbucks is no exception: The coffee chain was set to open its Starbucks Reserve Roastery New York City on Friday (Dec. 14). The 23,000-square-foot space, which is Starbucks’ fourth location for the concept, is described as an “immersive coffee destination” where “the company’s rarest and freshest coffees will be roasted and served.”

The space features two coffee bars that offer seven different brewing methods, so coffee drinkers can choose their beverages to made by coffee press, cold brewing or the company’s Clover brewing system, among other options. Customers can order traditional espresso beverages like cortados and lattes as well as more specialty offerings like sparkling citrus espresso and nitro hopped apricot cold brew, among specials that rotate, from baristas that Starbucks refers to as “coffee masters.” The space also has an Arriviamo Bar that will feature cocktails and “spiritfrees” made with coffee and tea products as well as a Princi bakery.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in an announcement for the store, “We designed the Roastery as the pinnacle experience around all-things-coffee, and there is nothing else like it in the world. With premium coffees, teas, mixology and the iconic Milanese Princi Bakery, it serves as a Starbucks brand amplifier and a platform for future innovation.” Johnson pointed out that beverages first launched at the Roastery concept were later brought to its coffee shops, citing the Juniper Latte, Cold Foam and Draft Nitro.

The space, of course, is a place where Starbucks will roast coffee beans. According to AM New York, it has “the largest fully operational coffee roasting plant in Manhattan.” According to the outlet, the plant will make coffee that the company will both use within the roastery and package to be brought off of the premises for what is forecasted to be 1.5 million pounds of coffee annually. The Roastery is still a coffee shop and has the kind of features that one would expect in such an environment like wood benches, tables and ample seating at bars.

The aim, however, isn’t to take the place of the neighborhood Starbucks locations in a city that is chock full of them. Roastery Assistant Director Arlene De La Cruz told AM New York, “It’s all about the experience. If there’s a customer that wants an experience where all five senses are utilized, this is where they might want to come. If they want to come and get something quick, they might want to use the neighborhood store.” For coffee drinkers who do want to purchase drinks in an experiential store, Starbucks said future Roastery locations are scheduled to open in Chicago and Tokyo in 2019.

In Other Brick-And-Mortar News

Office Depot is now an installation partner for smart home devices from Google and Nest. As a result, shoppers can now buy cameras and thermostats, among other items, and have them installed by experts. The retailer will leverage technicians from its CompuCom subsidiary with the offering, while Google will provide tools, training and live support to the experts in an effort to ensure that “every Office Depot customer gets their smart home or office service from the best trained professionals.”

Janet Schijns, the company’s chief services and solutions officer, said in an announcement for the offering, “this is a collaboration we’re excited to be a part of and see major future benefit as we continue expanding our service offerings.” The aim is to allow shoppers to “focus on their lives and their business, not setting up secure networks and reading installation manuals.” According to the announcement, the offering is available on the retailer’s eCommerce site and at its 1,400 retail locations.

And Kroger has launched the Rx Savings Club, which was developed in partnership with GoodRx, and adds to the retailer’s Wellness Your Way platform. With the offering, shoppers have access to discounts on commonly prescribed, generic medications that are for common conditions in the U.S. The program reportedly offers discounts of up to 85 percent on thousands of prescriptions.

Kroger’s President of Pharmacy Colleen Lindholz said in a press release for the program, “Kroger is redefining the customer experience by introducing new Wellness Your Way offerings like the Kroger Rx Savings Club … our new partnership with GoodRx provides cost savings for our customers in a simple, practical way, and enables us to live our Kroger Health vision of helping people lead healthier lives.”

On another note, Amazon may be looking across the pond to the United Kingdom for its Amazon Go concept. The eCommerce retailer is reportedly searching for space in London’s Oxford Circus for its cashierless C-store concept. According to the report, the retailer is seeking a location with 3,000 to 5,000 square feet in the neighborhood. A spokesperson for the retailer, however, would not comment to The Telegraph on the reports.

If the location comes to fruition, it would reportedly be the company’s flagship U.K. store. Currently, the cashierless technology is in use in seven Amazon Go stores locations in Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago — and there are reportedly plans to add more stores around the country. Each Amazon Go location has less than 2,500 square feet and sells drinks, groceries and other products.

For more retail news and trends, tune in to future editions of Retail Pulse.


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