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Winter 2014
Brewing New Business

Keurig launches destination store to test and gather consumer preference data.

For coffee and tea lovers looking to perk up their home brew, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, makers of the Keurig brewers, opened the first Keurig store in November 2013. Just in time for the holiday season, it gives consumers a chance to explore the single-cup system in person.

Located in the Burlington Mall in Burlington, MA, 14 miles north of Boston, the store is designed to be a destination retail experience; shoppers can test-drive Keurig brewers and sample Keurig beverages in order to find the best match for their needs.

KeurigBrewing-copy“We view having a Keurig store as a wonderful opportunity to showcase our brand,” says Mark Wood, senior vice president of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. “We can educate consumers about the full breadth of our product lineup and demonstrate the innovation we have within our company, both on the appliance and the beverage side.

“The store will also serve as a learning lab where we can have direct interaction with customers and learn from them. It will be a great way to test out merchandise in stores and get firsthand feedback.”

Location matters

KeurigMachine3-copy-copyThe decision to locate inside Burlington Mall was for fundamental reasons, says Wood. “We recently opened a major research and development center across the street from the mall,” he says. “We’re building a second building next to our research center to house our sales, marketing and finance functions. The store gives us a great opportunity for learning and gaining firsthand interaction with consumers, which we believe will be valuable to the corporate aspects of our company.”

In addition to trying them out, customers can purchase Keurig’s K-Cup, Vue and Rivo brewing systems. Demonstrations and product promotions are also held, and the store includes a “Pick-a-Pack” wall where shoppers can customize their own boxes of beverage packages. Available in three-, six- and 12-count boxes, shoppers can mix and match a variety of beverages to brew at home without committing to a full box of one flavor. The wall features an interactive tool where customers enter their taste preferences and receive beverage recommendations from nearly 200 varieties of coffees, teas, hot cocoas and specialty drinks. Prepackaged 18-count boxes are also available for customers who already know their favorites.

Wood says the company doesn’t view the store as being competitive to sales of its products through outside retailers, such as Best Buy, Macy’s or Bed Bath and Beyond.

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“We view it as a terrific opportunity to learn more about how customers view our products,” he says. “And it’s a great way to test our merchandising. We plan to share what we learn with our retail partners as a way to boost the overall success of the system. There are a number of other companies that have stand-alone stores as well as a significant retail presence. We’ve learned that this type of business model tends to improve sales for other retailers by virtue of further educating consumers. It’s essentially a way to put more marketing behind our brand.”

Wood says Green Mountain Coffee Roasters currently doesn’t have plans for additional stores at this point, but that’s subject to change.

“Once we open this store and learn from it, we’ll decide if we will expand into other markets,” he says. “For right now, we’re just excited to interact with our customers firsthand.”

For more information, please visit http://www.keurig.com/retail.

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Stephanie Vozza

Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer based in the Detroit-area. She specializes in business and real estate. Learn more at stephanievozza.com.
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