If you want to sell people stuff, you should go where they are and understand how they engage with your product. That seems pretty intuitive, but maybe it wasn’t for Starbucks as they first began to expand into a global brand. Yes, the coffee is pretty much the same everywhere you go, but people approach coffee and transportation differently around the world.
Here in the United States, we’re most familiar with a Starbucks configuration that includes small tables for two or four people, along with a drive-thru window to accommodate the car-centered commuting and leisure travel style in most of this country. That’s not how it works in other places, though, so Starbucks has retooled stores in ways that aren’t as blindingly obvious as you might think.
Last November, for example, the chain partnered with the Swiss railroad system to open a double-decker store in a train car, so commuters and travelers can grab coffee even when they almost miss the train. Inside the store, designers of Starbucks stores in other parts of the world need to think about how they configure stores.
People in Mexico, for example, visit Starbucks the same way we in the U.S. visit a bar, with a large group of friends to socialize.