MILAN — Starbucks has expanded its delivery and online services in China, the company’s second-biggest market globally, through a partnership with Meituan, China’s dominant food delivery firm. The partnership will allow Starbucks Chinese customers to order coffee delivery and make reservations at its stores via the super-app’s platforms.
The first of these services include the “1971 Salon”, which is exclusive to the platform, offering private bookings for coffee experiences at Starbucks stores.
In addition, the company has expanded its Starbucks Delivers program with more order customization features and established new ‘Super Store’ virtual pages where customers can explore local community events and order directly from Starbucks stores across the Chinese mainland.
“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.
Meituan is China’s biggest food delivery platform with more than 660 million transacting users, offering Starbucks a potentially expanded audience. In China, smartphone users prefer to use so-called “super apps” which offer several services in one. Meituan is one such app.
Inspired by the unique role Starbucks stores have played as gathering places for over 50 years, the 1971 Salon service offers customers the option to reserve areas in select stores for private events, or register for uniquely-curated experiences organized by their local store. More than 60 stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu now offer this service, with plans to expand across the market.
Today, customers can book an immersive coffee workshop with friends and family, where they will learn about their coffee’s bean-to-cup journey and practice the art of coffee craft with Starbucks regional coffee masters.
Private spaces can also be reserved for business meetings or social gatherings, with options to order an array of food and beverages, and hosted coffee tasting sessions.
Customers can now access Starbucks Delivers, the company’s mobile order and delivery service, on Meituan platforms market-wide, where Starbucks Rewards members can enjoy the same benefits as using the Starbucks China app. Expanded features include added beverage customizations that more closely replicate in-store ordering, all-new ‘smart’ technology that automatically reallocates orders to another store if a product is sold out at one store but available at a nearby store, and the delivery debut of Starbucks Reserve in China.
By end 2022, each of Starbucks 5,000+ company-operated stores in China will have a unique page on Meituan platforms, where customers can access Starbucks Delivers and Starbucks Now services to order food and beverages online, use the 1971 Salon booking service, and check local events on a digital community board.
Store partners can customize each page with exclusive store tags, photos, video clips and other content that vividly showcase the distinctive design and character of each store and its baristas.
Starbucks will continue evolving the digital Starbucks Experience for customers in China through its ongoing partnerships, to elevate and deepen the brand’s connection with customers.