How Retailers Are Using ‘Coffee Shopping’ To Bring Customers In The Door

by MR Magazine Staff

“Coffee-shopping” is a trend in China that’s disrupting the traditional brick and mortar retail experience. When customers are coffee-shopping, they peruse in-stock items on a tablet, rather than on the shelves and racks of a retailer. It’s so named for the social, cafe-like, atmosphere that’s designed to entice shoppers to spend time in physical locations. While it’s making waves of late overseas, it’s not a novel model and not particularly foreign. The cafe-inspired retail space has roots in a company long-known as a vanguard of innovation in the United States. Since the 2001 opening of their first physical store, Apple has made headlines for their disruptive approach to retail that is, itself, more cafe than traditional storefront with a coffee-house table layout and friendly atmosphere. (In fact, before the Apple Store adopted its quintessential modern identity, it was almost literally a cafe.) And Apple’s not alone. With the rise of coffee-shopping in China, we’ll see more retailers adopt the core of what made Apple’s retail model so successful. Here’s why coffee shopping works, and what we can learn from retailers reaping its rewards. Accenture estimates that Millennials spend $600 billion annually in the United States. It follows that retailers are vying to earn their affection – and ultimately their hard-won dollars. But appealing to a demographic that’s more inclined to spend on a rideshare service than a new pair of shoes has proven difficult. The tendency of Millennials to seek out inexpensive alternatives to owning everything from houses to trendy clothes – which served as a catalyst for sharing economy options like Airbnb, Rent the Runway, and Uber – puts the traditional retail model at risk. Read more at Forbes.