Fans of a product want the full retail experience. Think of the first time you visited an Apple store or the flagship L.L. Bean store, at least if you’re as much of a raging yuppie as I am. With their coffee cartridge brewers in an estimated 13% of American households, it’s not surprising that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ Keurig brand is about to open its very first retail store in an upscale mall near Burlington, Mass.
Do they plan a coffee bar, where customers can try the hottest new flavors of K-Cups and learn new brewing techniques? No, because there aren’t any techniques to learn, other than “put a cup under the spout.” Do they want to switch to only selling the Keurig in their own nationwide network of stores, maximizing profits? Nope. Keurig makes pods and pods of money by selling their brewers and licensed pods in big-box discount and home stores and in grocery stores.
It just so happens that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is opening a new headquarters near that mall. The store will serve as a sort of test lab to study their customers… and maybe sell a few coffee machines as well.
Their patent for the ubiquitous and very non-biodegradeable K-Cup expired last year, and watching their customers in their native habitat (slurping caffeine, wandering around a mall) might be just the thing to help them get through the influx of competing unlicensed pods and brewers.
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