Costa Coffee has launched a new store format in a bid to improve the in-store experience for its customers. In a bold move that broke with the norm, global marketing at Costa Coffee took on the responsibility of redefining the store environment. The team had the authority and the freedom to guide the redesign of the physical space and customer experience, putting the brand at the heart of all decisions.
Costa Coffee woked alongside multi-disciplinary branding, interiors and architecture consultancy, Edge to create a truer realisation of the Costa Coffee brand with a new look and feel of its outlets nationwide. The brief for Edge started with Costa Coffee’s brand purpose, 'To inspire the world to love great coffee'. Other pillars of the Costa Coffee brand, which were to underpin and guide the redesign were Costa Coffee’s passion about handcrafting coffee, bringing new coffee experiences to its customers and deepening their understanding and appreciation of coffee.
The redesign by Edge was introduced at nine pilot sites in three iterative phases, with crucial learning rolled into each subsequent site, and over the next two years it will be introduced in 1,000 Costa Coffee stores in the UK. Sales following the implementation of the new design have far surpassed the original forecast; in the case of some sites, there has been double digit growth in sales. Locally-relevant versions leveraging the design principles will also be rolled out in global markets.
Previously, Edge trialed a new concept store design, the Costa Coffee House, in Wandsworth, which also saw an uplift in sales following the redesign.
'Innovation is a hallmark of the Costa Coffee brand and we were appointed to create a holistic experience of the brand. Everything that we have done has started from an understanding of the Costa Coffee brand and its customers which is exactly how we approach all of our projects. The brand idea, the vision and values, and looking at the big picture informs our visual and 3D creative work,' says Michael Fern, project principal & director at Edge. 'Here we have reflected Costa Coffee ’s passion about handcrafting coffee in every element of the store design. Our redesign of the environment encapsulates the Costa Coffee proposition of being warm, welcoming and comfortable. The new interiors are lighter, brighter and more human. At the same time they are contemporary with a classically British twist.'
Edge has put theatre and service at the heart of the customer experience. The interior was re-engineered to make the counter the most important element and to create more interaction between the barista and the customer. A halo hangs above the counter to define the barista station and the coffee machine has been reoriented, ensuring greater visibility of the hand finishing process than in many competitors, including the creating of the coffee floret.
Intuitive zones for the seating were created for different times of day and customer mindsets. As a result of customer research, the redesign features more upholstered seating. The fresh interiors incorporate new lighting with a craft look and feel, and wall art that builds equity around the brand ideas of craft and passion. An important aspect has been to make the outlets eye-catching from the outside. The overall palette and light levels is much lighter than before with the use of secondary and tertiary palettes of orange and blue to compliment the iconic Costa Coffee red.
The new store experience also contains a new artwork package designed by Edge and other creative agencies. Consisting of a variety of visual styles all focusing on craft and the same attention to detail required to make coffee, a series of feature installations, halftone illustrations show, rather than tell customers Costa Coffee’s passion for coffee.
In the Costa Coffee House in Wandsworth, which was designed by Edge and unveiled in 2016, Costa Coffee encourages customers to immerse themselves in the coffee-making process by introducing central seating bars that allow them to watch baristas work and brewing methods. Edge also introduced a more relaxed atmosphere with a lounge area at the back, new feature lighting, and a simplified palette of materials and finishes alongside Costa Coffee ’s signature red colour. A post-redesign study found that visitors wanted to come back more, for more occasions and were willing to spend more. Previously, 8.4 per cent of customers found the space ‘very appealing’, and post-redesign this was 33.3 per cent with 90 per cent extremely likely to revisit versus 65 per cent pre-refit.
Photography: Gareth Gardner