Asia Business Channel

Starbucks Japan plans to dramatically expand its digital activities

Starbucks Coffee Japan has presented the company’s key initiatives to its board and management that it believes will accelerate its sales and profit growth, as well as elevate the customer experience in Japan. The company announced plans to build 100 net new stores annually over the next three years in Japan – a goal that will bring the store count to 1,700 across the market.

Kevin Johnson, President & CEO of Starbucks said: “The strength of our brand in Japan, the momentum in our business, and the spirit of our partners who proudly wear the green apron give me great confidence in our ability to elevate the Customer Experience and drive growth to continue to build our brand. We continue to thoughtfully evolve within Japan’s elevated coffee culture to maintain a leadership position and achieve profitable growth for the long-term.”

Takafumi Minaguchi, chief executive officer, Starbucks Japan said in remarks to media that: “Starbucks Japan was built as a performance-driven company, guided through the lens of humanity, from the time of our first store opening in Tokyo in 1996. We continue to set the pace for innovation and service for Starbucks globally by focusing on creating genuine human connection in our stores and positively impacting the communities we serve.”

Starbucks “digital flywheel concept” in Japan is the foundation for the company’s initiatives and has the following goals:

1. Enhance the third-place experience

2. Earn customer loyalty and foster customer connection for the long-term

3. Provide innovative digital offerings will provide customers uniquely rewarding and convenient ways to enjoy the Starbucks Experience, including delivery, digital ordering, cashless payment, rewards and personalization

Starting in mid-November, Starbucks Japan will launch its Starbucks Delivers program in partnership with Uber Eats Japan to deliver Starbucks beverages and food items direct to customers. The pilot program will begin in three stores in Tokyo, two in Shinjuku and one in Roppongi, with plans to scale the program within two years.

Starbucks also unveiled a strategic collaboration with LINE, Japan’s leading social platform, to innovate across various technologies, including digital payment. The partnership will launch in the first half of 2019 and will connect Starbucks to LINE’s more than 78 million users across Japan.

Additionally, building on the program’s success in the U.S. and select markets around the world, Starbucks Japan will begin a pilot of the Mobile Order and Pay program in 2019, enabling customers to order and pay from their mobile device, and pick-up in store, skipping the line.

Starbucks also announced that it would open its “Reserve Roastery” in Tokyo on February 28, 2019 in the upscale Nakameguro district. This will be Starbucks fifth Roastery globally. The Tokyo Roastery will be designed and built from-the-ground-up in collaboration with world-renowned architect and Kuma Lab founder, Kengo Kuma.

Starbucks currently operates 1,392 stores in Japan across all 47 prefectures, and Japan is the company’s fourth largest market in terms of store count globally.

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