Costa looks for local touch in stores

Costa Coffee has segmented its stores into “recharge” or “relax” outlets and will adapt outlets to reflect their local area, one of several initiatives the coffee chain is preparing to enhance customer experience.

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The chain is using epos data and loyalty scheme data to help segment its stores and change interiors accordingly to suit the local demographic. It recently changed its Farringdon store from a relax environment to a recharge environment by removing the seating area and upping the number of tills and coffee machines to suit the commuters that frequent it.

The brand, which is the Marketing Week Engage Awards 2011 Brand of the Year, is trialing “greeters/hosts” in 15 locations to improve customer experience, particularly in busy stores.

Kevin Hydes, Costa’s UK head of marketing says that the hosts are “the voice of our brand” and must be intuitive to the needs of the specific store’s customers at different parts of the customer journey.

“It’s important to give people a good experience. Sometimes people will want to talk about their weekend, while others just want tot get a coffee as quickly as they can. the host has to pick up on that,” he adds.

Costa is testing the appetite for drive-thru stores and plans to open six additional sites this year, in addition to the three which opened earlier this year, to boost its presence in the convenience market and says it is a “low-risk strategy” because drive-thru sales are in addition to normal store sales.

Costa, the third biggest food and drink chain in the UK with about 1,300 outlets reported a near 30% sales increase in the 11 weeks to 18 August.

Do not miss our cover feature next week, which goes behind the scenes at Costa Coffee

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