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TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, China
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Inside Starbucks' first express retail store in Beijing

The coffee giant’s first ‘Now’ format combines its traditional café environment with their digital touchpoints.

Looking to seamlessly integrate its in-store experience and delivery and pickup for its customers, Starbucks has unveiled its first “express retail” store in Beijing.

Located at the heart of Beijing’s financial district, the Starbucks Now store will see customers being greeted by a barista at the elevated concierge counter to assist with ordering or order pickup.

Customers can also choose from a menu of handcrafted beverage options tailored for those on-the-go, along with an assortment of food items. Limited seating is also available.

For delivery riders, there is a dedicated area for Starbucks Delivers orders supported by baristas. Starbucks Now and Starbucks Delivers online orders will be placed in a in-wall system with a designated pickup portal associated with each order.

Starbucks says the store will serve as a centralized dispatch center for delivery orders within a certain radius so baristas at neighboring cafés can focus more on in-store customers. During peak times, Starbucks Delivers beverage orders will be handcrafted by baristas from a central kitchen that is part of the Starbucks Now store.

The coffee giant says its first express retail format location offers “new levels of convenience and speed to meet the needs of today’s 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,” Leo Tsoi, chief operating officer and president of Starbucks China Retail said in a statement. “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.”

Starbucks Now is also the name of the company’s mobile order and pay experience they introduced last May. Since its introduction the program has expanded to Hangzhou and Nanjing and is currently offered in over 1,300 stores across four cities.

The company says it has plans to open new Starbucks Now stores across high-traffic areas including business and transportation hubs as well as to new cities in China. 

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