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Experience Economy in China – Interview #1/8 : Alfonso Troisi, Nespresso Greater China

“We have really focused on our boutiques, which give (consumers) the full experience, which cannot be replaced with any other interaction…”

Alfonso Troisi
Business Executive Officer
Nespresso Greater China

Watch Alfonso Troisi’s interview on :

“As it happens in many categories in Food & Beverages, such as wine, the knowledge and the ability to discern has increased in very surprising ways”

Nespresso came to China in 2007. It’s been a fast and healthy development for the past 11 years. We have a highly diversified business in terms of geography as we cover many cities in China. The development of coffee is maybe a little bit surprising, especially the last 5-6 years, but it goes along with the development of fine dining, of hospitality in China, and also with the development of international travel. As it happens in many categories in Food & Beverages, such as wine, the knowledge and the ability to discern has increased in very surprising ways.

The first steps in China were quite similar to what Nespresso did in more established coffee markets in Europe, and we have adapted, we have adjusted our production, our communication and our channels so we can target our consumers in different ways. George Clooney is a very successful brand ambassador for Nespresso. We have worked with George Clooney for the last 14 years, and we have George Clooney in China as well. BesidesGeorge Clooney,  leveraging the China social media — as you know the ecosystem is quite different in China — we have adapted messages and communication to Chinese consumers. 

Over the last 3 years, we have focused on working with larger events, sometimes sports associated events to fine dining and gastronomy ; so, we have been able to associate coffee with different drinks and beverages. [Consumers in China] actually enjoy similar types of coffee as in the West, very intense coffee, but they mix them and drink them differently: with milk, sugar, and also with other flavours, such as chocolate and caramel, and there’s a variety of flavours. 

“As over the last few years the e-commerce and digital ecosystems have evolved, we have also embraced this opportunity”

We have really focused on our boutiques, which give [consumers] the full experience, which cannot be replaced with any other interaction, whether it is on the phone or online. We have expanded from a few core cities where we have physical presence to hundreds of cities where we have consumers. As over the last few years the e-commerce and digital ecosystem have evolved, we have also embraced this opportunity. One important aspect of e-commerce and digital is that behind it, there are actually a lot of people who are helping these customers, particularly for the Nespresso brand experience — we have 24-hour customer service.

In 2016, we opened our T-mall flagship store; last year, we opened our Jingdong flagship store; we have 2 boutiques online with each of these 2 important e-commerce platforms.  What’s most important to us is to be directly talking to the consumer, maintaining the relationship from the first order through regular orders; we have launched an initiative over the last few years, which is an e-passport where consumers can collect stamps for trying different coffees and they can also get stamps when they bring back capsules for recycling.

We were among the first ones to launch the physical passport and e-passport on WeChat. One very special experience a few years ago was the launch of two new coffees, Kazaar and Darkhan; when we launched and started to give out a first round of tasting, there was quite an embarrassed silence in the room, people were looking down, we didn’t know what was going on… As there was a second round of tasting coming, the waiters then brought out milk in preparation for cappuccino and latte, and then we saw people’s expressions go from pale to colourful faces, and opening up their eyes, and talking and whispering, taking pictures and really enjoying the coffee. So we learnt that although we had amongst the best qualities of intense coffees with Kazaar and Darkhan, the way it had been served first was perhaps not the best way for Chinese customers. 

 

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