Why Starbucks Copies Nespresso

When is a customer experience superlative and how does it get that way? We use the Experience Scan, a tool to help companies understand and diagnose what makes an experience great.

An experience like the Nespresso coffee experience scores A++ using the Experience Scan. Nespresso has understood what customers want (the experience of drinking “barista style coffee” at home). They’ve designed a total experience around a euro-sleek machine with colorful capsules that delivers to customers the full monty: a deep offering of coffees and aroma’s, accessories to drink it in, a customer-friendly in-store tasting and buying experience, and a simple membership system. Net, who needs to go to Starbucks anymore?

And that’s the point. You don’t.

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The Starbucks Verismo machine

So Starbucks has paid Nespresso the ultimate compliment: it has copied Nespresso and introduced the Verismo coffee machine. Starbucks customers can now enjoy Starbucks coffee at home (and stop buying the Nespresso machine that keeps them from going out to Starbucks in the first place).

Will it work?

While the Starbucks machine will keep die-hards in the Starbucks brand (3,000 people “like” it), I doubt that this foray will impact significantly Nespresso’s hold on the high-end coffee drinking market.

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The Starbucks Verismo machine @ Williams Sonoma


Because the Verismo is positioned to offer “Starbucks quality at home” or in other words, they are selling a product (great coffee).

But adding a machine and pods for home use is a far cry from selling a total experience that understands the customer’s needs and context, as Nespresso has done (eg stores to coffee choices to design elements to accessories to club feeling).

And, after all, even at the Williams Sonoma shop where I saw the new Verismo, the paper cups used for customers to taste the new Starbucks coffee read “Nespresso”.

To be continued.


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