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Customer experience is all. This is the mantra being used for digital transformation roadmaps and the theme for this year’s digital marketing trends.

One brand that understands customer experience is Nespresso.

Here’s a rundown of exactly how the coffee-meets-tech brand provides great CX for its aspirational customers.

Kick back, allow me to bring you some creamy opinion in a glass cup.


Might as well start with George. Guys want to be him, girls want to be with him.

He has a villa in Italy, he is a thinking man and an action man, an activist, a morally sound connoisseur, he sets the tone for what Nespresso is trying to achieve.

The boutiques

Nespresso has its own stores, except they’re actually called boutiques. This is key to its brand image.

With these showrooms Nespresso asserts its claim as a lifestyle product. ‘Look, these products are so good they deserve to be displayed in the same way as a supercar or enjoyed in the same way as champagne.’

There has been plenty of discussion on the Econsultancy blog about the use of digital in store. It’s not that relevant for Nespresso, but the store does do something that has already proved so effective for Apple.

Namely, removing stock from the shop floor, which becomes museumesque, an emporium for tasting, learning and making an informed purchase.

The rationale for the boutiques is displayed on the Nespresso website, and it sums up aspiration better than I can:

The French architect Francis Krempp designed our Boutique model, combining art deco influences with contemporary shapes and materials.

• An eclectic mix of materials: the warmth of wood, the luxury of leather, the high-tech feel of metal and the purity of glass.

• Two complementary geometric shapes: the square symbolises the brand's values: perfection, pleasure, aestheticism and simplicity. The circle evokes the coffee cup, discovery, tasting and the senses. 

A retail experience to satisfy your every desire.

Here are some shots that Andrew Warren-Payne, proud Nespresso owner, took in a London store. Don’t you just want in?

Tasting area:

tasting area nespresso

Machine gallery:

machine gallery nespresso

Store map:

store map nespresso

Grand Crus:

grand crus nespresso store

The urge to collect

The Brits at least are a nation of botanists and philatelists. We love to collect stuff.

Quite frankly, the following almost phylogenetic display of coffee messes with something deep inside me and makes me want to consume.

These capsules are called Grand Crus, as in ‘great growth’, traditionally used to classify vineyards. That’s what Nespresso wants to do, emphasise that this coffee is the precise opposite of instant, it’s a lovingly grown bean.

grand crus nespresso

The hierarchy

Regular, medium, large, extra large and so on.

That old trick that McDonald’s pioneered, not calling a spade a spade, rather referring to ‘small’ as ‘regular’.

Nespresso performs a version of that trick. All machines are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. The choice of machines, not too few, not too many, naturally encourages many to shoot that little bit higher in the aspiration stakes.

And the machines are customisable, they come in a range of colours, encouraging the shopper to hypothetically buy, to browse with intent.

nespresso machines


The question is not ‘Do you want a Nespresso machine?’ rather ‘Which machine? Which capsules?’

The accessories are myriad and bring to mind Malibu Stacy.

They include (deep breath) glasses, capsule holders (including the bonbonierre and totem), the Aeroccino, a shaker, trays, bowls, spoons, carriers, scented candles, sugar, cleaning kit, descaler, various chocolates and biscuits.

Amazingly, accessories are given their own hierarchy or ordering system, divided up into the Glass, Ritual, Citiz, Pixies and Premium collections. Note the French spelling  - ‘Les Collections’.

All of this is increased order value, increased margin presumably (if one consider the margin on a £50 plexiglass drawer compared to coffee capsules) and increased lifetime value.

nespresso collections

The club

Here’s the club page on the Nespresso website. It screams exclusivity.

nespresso club

Just look at the benefits of the club:

•Benefit from quick&easy ordering whenever, wherever

•Learn more about the Nespresso product range

•Enjoy fast access to our Coffee Specialists for questions or advice

•Read the online Nespresso Magazine

This is what lifetime marketing is about. Get your customers on board not only with expensive tech that will only take your coffee, but get them interacting with coffee solely through your brand.

The magazine blends tech and coffee once again, available as it is on iPad. There’s even a sport section that covers sailing and any event where Nespresso sponsors a competitor.

The fact that the brand sponsors sailing is no surprise. It fits perfectly with the brand and its aspirational clientele.

nespresso magazine

Mobile ordering and delivery

Delivery within a two hour time slot, same day, is available week round. Nespresso brands it as ‘Your Time’. There’s another lesson here, if it can be branded, brand it.

delivery nespresso

Customers can order on the web or via the Nespresso app. The app itself is another wonderful tool for hooking the customer into new products, wherever they are.

Breakdown assistance

Just like a car, that most aspirational product, if your machine breaks, Nespresso will collect it and loan you a machine until yours is fixed.

nespresso assistance

‘Eco friendly’

It’s not the ‘80s anymore. We want it all, yes, but we don’t to feel guilty about it.

Nespresso has realised this and has a whole part of its site branded as ‘Ecolaboration’. There’s detail about recycling (another collection service), carbon footprint and energy saving machines, and eco partners.

Nespresso recognises that it has to make an effort on this front, lest it gets lumped with other exclusive yet morally dubious products such as fois gras.



I may have sounded a little scornful about some of Nespresso’s products and services. Far from it, it takes an awful lot of effort to create a product that locks in and upsells the consumer over their lifetime with multichannel, tech-fuelled, aspirational cups of coffee that everyone wants in their home and is all about the experience. 

Further reading...

For more on experential marketing from the blog, check out these 10 very cool examples of experiential marketing and for a handy introduction: What is experiential marketing and why do you need it?

Ben Davis

Published 13 March, 2014 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (10)

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Andrew Warren-Payne

Andrew Warren-Payne, Senior Research Analyst at Econsultancy

An excellent post Ben. Nespresso have clearly got their customer experience down to a tea - or should I say down to a strong, syrupy ristretto?

over 2 years ago


Alan Harding

Ben, awesome post and not only an example of brand marketing at its best, also gives me some excellent ideas for content marketing when retailing Nespresso coffee makers online - which frankly I had a mind freeze on!

over 2 years ago


Matt Joslin

Having recently joined the Nespresso experience - my overwhelming initial feeling was that it's 'apple-esque'.

Taken me a lot longer to work out there's only one grand cru that is worth buying, but there you go!

over 2 years ago


Richard Taylor

Thanks for the post Ben. As a fan of Nespresso it was much appreciated.

I've also spotted something interesting which I think is indicative of where some brands are going in terms of their competitive position.

I needed to buy a replacement Aeroccino and as there is a smart new store in Edinburgh, I purchased it there for £50.

Curiosity got the better of me when I got home and went online to see how much cheaper I could have bought on Amazon, eBay etc. The best price I could find was £72 on eBay and £76 on Amazon.

That piqued my interest and wondered if it was just that particular product so I checked a couple of other products and found the same pattern.

Emotionally this reinforces my positive view of the brand, is likely to keep me loyal and (as I'm doing now) become an advocate of the brand.

Importantly too this is an important strategy for the brand to combat discounting.

over 2 years ago


Dale Cooper

Awesome post Ben. Summed up key elements of the brand architecture nicely

over 2 years ago

Ben Davis

Ben Davis, Senior Writer at EconsultancyStaff


Good point, the trend for brands selling direct to consumers is something that merits a few blog posts. I may take up the task.

over 2 years ago


Sean Owens

Very clever but not original. The idea of adding margin to product by putting it in a Gallery is nothing new.

That said a Gallery approach does do the trick, its all about seducing the customer to the point where they simply cannot resist being outside of the circle who purchase these products.

The images of the stores almost smell of coffee.

I'll have to go out and have a coffee now that I have written and thought about it.

over 2 years ago


Anthony Pannell, Digital Marketing Manager at Ve Interactive

Nice post. I agree that Nespresso do most things very well, especially their retail boutiques.

Over Christmas they ran a promotion which offered an online gift voucher to those who bought a Nespresso machine through authorised retailers that can be used (£40 or £70, depending on the machine). Great tactic by them, especially with Big Cup Little Cup trying to acquire their customers. However it required you to fill out a paper form, post it to them, then they would send out a physical gift card in approximately 28 days. I can't complain about their generosity, but the process could have been so much better if it was handled online. It's a shame considering their digital presence is well polished and the rest of their CX is flawless.

over 2 years ago

Pete Austin

Pete Austin, CINO at Fresh Relevance

I used to be a fan of Nespresso, and even bought a second machine for my parents, but I don't think either machine has been used for years, over simple marketing issues.

My parents have dropped Nespresso because the capsules aren't labelled, so you start off with a selection of colors, but after a while you find that 90% of those left are ones that nobody likes, but there are no labels to tell them apart.

I've dropped it because there's a very limited choice. After a holiday to Vietnam, I took a liking to mountain coffee from that country. But Nespresso don't do it and there seems to be a licencing problem stopping others from making compatible capsules.

Both of these seem easily fixable - but that's not happening - so I wonder how good the marketing really is.

over 2 years ago


Scott Hickey, Manager

Great post and it's true - the "boutiques" draw you in. Not sure if it's standard procedure, but love the fact that every time I buy coffee at my local store, you always get a "free" coffee to drink before you leave.

I also thought for a long time the capsules were just colour coded and could never remember which was which. Simple trick - take a look at the foil lids - the names are imprinted on them. Took me ages to figure this one out!

over 2 years ago

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