Starbucks offers first in-store augmented reality experience

Perk Up Shanghai Crowds Throng World's Biggest Starbucks

Executive chairman Howard Schultz, speaking at the launch of Starbucks' first overseas "Reserve Roastery" - an opulent flagship store with gourmet coffees and a bakery - said China was on track to be "bigger, more powerful and more significant" than the firm's US business. China already has more than 3000 stores and is adding more to it.

Sounding more and more like a coffee-themed amusement park, customers can also use their phones to enhance their experience once they've gotten their caffeine fix - "All along the way, customers can point their mobile devices around the Roastery for even more moments of discovery as they immerse themselves in the augmented reality (AR) experience".

The three wooden coffee bars, including one that is 88 ft. long - the longest at any Starbucks - were handcrafted by premiere Chinese artisans and reference the unique roasting curve of individual coffee beans. Starbucks plan to launch 5 Roasteries (besides Seattle) before 2020. Customers can watch the green beans as they are roasted, then sent through copper "symphony" pipes (named because of the musical sound the beans make as they travel through them) directly to silos at the coffee bars.

Alibaba worked in partnership with Starbucks to create an immersive AR experience to bring the Starbucks story to life.

The brand of Shanghai, to the decoration made of wood and brass, has a giant barrel containing tons of beans freshly roasted. Unlike in the United States, Starbucks' challenge in China has been winning over traditional tea drinkers to coffee, rather than fending off local rivals.

You can even order coffee-enhanced beer. There's also a 3D-printed Teavana tea bar serving nitrogen-infused drinks, as well as goods by Italian baker Rocco Princi. Beans from China such as the Yunnan Reserve blend will be exclusive to the Shanghai store. To call it a coffee shop would be a severe understatement, as the 2,700 sqm space doesn't just serve frappucinos and delicious beef pies, but encompasses a multi-sensory retail experience as well as a premium roastery. Or while in the store, they can buy the selected Roastery merchandise or whole beans they fell in love with, to be delivered directly to their homes. In 2018, the company planned to open Roasteries in Milan and NY, and in 2019, Starbucks will open Roasteries in Tokyo and Chicago.

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