On 12 July, Starbucks opened its first Starbucks Now store in Beijing, an express retail experience to challenge the growing popularity of Chinese start-up Luckin Coffee. The store integrates Starbucks’ physical and digital customer touchpoints, combining a typical café environment with Mobile Order and Pay and Starbucks Delivers programs. Starbucks China Retail President and Chief Operating Officer Leo Tsoi says Starbucks Now offer new levels of convenience and speed to meet the needs of the modern urban lifestyle in China. “The Starbucks Now store is a testament to our unwavering commitment to delivering innovative customer experiences through new retail formats,” Tsoi says. “This new retail format and design approach provides us with a platform to offer customers a fast and convenient retail experience to suit their on-the-go lifestyle.” Customers entering the store are greeted by a Starbucks barista at the elevated concierge counter to assist with ordering or order pickup. They can choose from a menu of beverages tailored for on-the-go customers along with an assortment of food items. Limited seating is available for customers who choose to stay in store. A dedicated area is set aside for Starbucks Delivers riders. Fulfilled Starbucks Now and Starbucks Delivers online orders will be placed in an in-wall system with a designated pickup portal associated with each order. Starbucks says the store will also have the ability to serve as a centralised dispatch centre for delivery orders within a certain radius, so baristas at neighbouring cafés can focus on delivering service to in-store customers at those locations. During peak times, Starbucks Delivers beverage orders will be handcrafted by baristas from a central kitchen that is part of the Starbucks Now store. In May, Starbucks China introduced the company’s mobile order and pay experience, Starbucks Now, across 300 retail stores in Beijing and Shanghai. Since its introduction the program has expanded to Hangzhou and Nanjing and is now offered in over 1300 stores across four cities. The company plans to open new Starbucks Now stores across high-traffic areas including business and transportation hubs as well as to new cities in China. Global Coffee Report has launched a LinkedIn Showcase page. Follow HERE for up-to-date news and analysis of the global coffee industry.