Congratulations on the Cafe Nespresso opening in Soho! How did it come about?
Thank you. Following the success of our first café at Cheapside in the City of London last summer, we wanted to launch a second café in a different location.
We chose Soho, West End because is known for its established coffee culture and to provide a Nespresso destination for those visiting or working in the area.
This is the second of its kind to be found on the high street. How are they different to Nespresso’s usual retail outlets, like the department store concessions or standalone stores in shopping centres?
The format brings together quality coffee with premium food in a refined and relaxing atmosphere.
We’re aiming to redefine the coffee shop experience with a gourmet option and the introduction of unique Nespresso coffee recipes.
In comparison, our boutiques give customers the chance to enjoy the full Grand Cru range while providing an immersive shopping experience. Customers are given the opportunity to taste our Grands Crus and learn more about the coffees and their origins.
Describe your role and responsibilities as Nespresso’s UK managing director.
I have been the managing director of Nespresso UK since 2015. My role is to ensure we delight consumers in every coffee moment and help them discover and enjoy our quality coffee.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background before Nespresso.
I started my career at a mobile start-up business before moving to a global FMCG company. I initially joined Nespresso in Portugal in 2008, first as commercial director and then marketing director.
After this, I took on a role at Nespresso headquarters in Switzerland as international trade marketing manager. From there, I took key learnings from other countries across the world to a new role as market head of Portugal and then moved to my current role in the UK.
How has your previous experience aided your current job?
Working for many years in a big FMCG company helped me understand the importance of both listening to consumers and analysing wider industry trends. It’s a competitive world and innovation is key to making sure your product stands out.
The Nespresso direct-to-consumer model means it’s important to foster strong relationships with customers and continue with new innovations and experiences.
Nespresso started as an online business that launched in 1998 and opened the first boutique in 2000 in Paris.
Some of my early learnings are still relevant to the way that Nespresso builds its relationship with customers: ensuring thoughtful and direct communications through a range of touch points that complement the retail experience including our website, our social media channels and on the Nespresso app.
What are the most challenging and most rewarding aspects of your job?
Consumers expect the highest quality coffee and service and we strive to deliver consistent high quality coffee and service across all of our touch points.
The best reward for us is when customers tell us they’re happy, satisfied and that they’re enjoying our coffee.
How is Nespresso addressing some of the challenges facing the UK high street as a whole?
There’s a growing demand for high quality coffee among consumers and we are pleased to be meeting this consumer demand with our expansion plans.
The Nespresso offering across the UK has grown – two years ago we had nine boutiques in total. By the end of the year we will have almost 40 boutiques with new openings planned in locations including Oxford, Liverpool, Sheffield and further expansion in London.
As more consumers migrate from tea to coffee, they are becoming increasingly curious about the blend and origin of their coffee – the boutiques provide a platform for consumers to engage with our trained Nespresso coffee specialists and discover the Grand Cru range.
Our ambition is to have our Grand Cru coffee available within one hour of every customer. We have made big steps towards achieving this in the last two years and we will continue to bring ourselves closer to customers whilst also ensuring our ecommerce offering remains cutting-edge.
Can you talk about any other retail-related projects that you’re working on at the moment at Nespresso?
We currently have 27 boutiques and two N-Cubes in the UK and we’re continuing to expand. Earlier in the year we opened new locations in Glasgow, Newcastle and Reading. In July, we opened boutiques in Milton Keynes and Birmingham as well as the Café Nespresso in Soho.
We’re constantly looking at new and innovative ways to interact with our customers and have exciting plans underway.
One of the areas in which we’ve seen the greatest innovation is in the types of boutiques we now operate, each adapted to its location to ensure the best customer experience. We have flagships, innovative self-service formats, temporary pop-ups, concept boutiques without tills and a new automated way of selling capsules to complement the Café Nespresso experience in London.
In addition, we’re looking forward to the introduction of new formats for new boutiques later this year.
What advice would you give someone who is considering embarking on a career in retail?
You need to be able to listen to the consumer and understand what’s important to them and then constantly surprise them with high quality products, backed by world-class service standards.
What would you say is the biggest risk for the retail sector, given the current climate?
Retail is an evolving sector constantly having to adapt to changing contexts. The brands that care about their customers, innovate and develop and train their work force will be the ones that will continue to succeed.
Feel free to add anything else you think is worth a mention.
We know recycling is important to our customers and we offer a recycling service at all of our boutiques and cafes.
Currently, Nespresso customers can recycle their used capsules through our dedicated system in these three ways: at Nespresso boutiques and at the Nespresso Cafés in Cheapside and Soho; home collection using a recycling bag which is collected at the same time as your order for Nespresso capsules is delivered; or via drop-off points including over 6000-plus Doddle and Collect+ locations.
We also recently piloted a scheme in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, whereby customers can recycle their used capsules through the council’s collection service.
In the longer term we hope to enable more recycling of used capsules via council collection services.