business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

We all know about the success of the Apple Store. And how it begat the Microsoft Store.

What I didn't know was that there were a number of other consumer product manufacturers who thought that they could apply the lessons of the Apple Store to their own product lines.

Hence, the Spanx Store. (I missed that one. Completely.)

And now, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters - the company that makes Keurig coffee makers and K-cups - has exactly the same thing in mind, starting with a single unit in a Massachusetts mall.

"So far the company has said little about the shop other than letting coffee drinkers in the area know it will offer all of the company’s brewers, as well as refill packs that shoppers can piece together themselves with a full variety of flavors," the story says. "Fans and followers can reasonably assume the Keurig store also will be an experienced-oriented setting, complete with lots of hands-on demonstrations, wonderful smells and plenty of well-qualified salespeople.

"In other words, it’ll be the Apple Store of the coffee world."

The feeling seems to be that because the lowest level Keurig machine costs more than $100, a store dedicated not just to selling the machine, but communicating the experience, might be a good idea, and that "Green Mountain Coffee Roasters will be able to shape its retail locations as a vanity-driven, premium experience."

Of course, this is only a one-store test, and I'm not sure that the Keurig Store can be the Apple Store. After all, to this point at least it seems pretty evident that not even the Microsoft Store can be the Apple Store.

But the broader impulse, I think, is right - that if you are going to sell something as being special, you actually have to go out of your way to make the whole experience special. It will be interesting to see if the store is successful enough to lead to some sort of expansion.

Either way, it'll be an Eye Opener.
KC's View: