This Is When Nespresso Opened Its Very First Boutique

Nespresso catapulted into the world of coffee in 1986, and in 2000, love for the espresso-filled pods became an in-person experience in Paris. This first boutique store not only showcased a new logo for the entrepreneurial coffee brand, but also brought Nespresso pods directly into the hands of consumers without requiring an online order. The success of the Paris boutique led the brand to open up additional locations around the world where customers could sample different coffee flavors, buy Nespresso machines, stock up on new capsules, and bring in used coffee pods to recycle

"Stores are destinations where people come not just to shop but to experience something special, something that transcends the transaction," Jaime Mur, Nespresso's global head of retail and customer experience, told Forbes. "It is a feeling that draws us to physical stores, no matter where we are in the world." The brand's marketing approach has research to support it. Research conducted at the University of Oxford has investigated how the coffee-drinking experience is affected by presentation — a key factor for Nespresso, and a differentiator at a time when the coffee world lacked color and choice. Though the company began packing its coffee in neutral tones, colorful pods soon began to indicate flavors and variations. As the University of Oxford's Professor Charles Spence explained to The Guardian, "You are trying to give people visual clues about the origins of the product." 

Nespresso stores are part of the brand's vision

Until the Paris boutique opened, Nespresso fans had to rely on shipping and online shopping to fill their coffee makers. Today, Nespresso has over 800 stores worldwide that aim to keep customers at the heart of the business. "Retail is not only about fulfilling a need but is also about discovery, learning, sharing experiences and being heard," Mur told Forbes. 

Nespresso, which remains part of the Nestlé Group, began operations with only five ambitious employees. They began by bringing the first portioned coffee machines to workplaces in Japan, Switzerland, and Italy. And they didn't stop with flavored coffee packed in pods. Chocolate squares stamped with the letter N were introduced in 1992 and can be found in the boutiques as both a sweet treat and palate cleanser in between coffee tastings. This further emphasizes that the stores aren't simply about sales and shopping, but are designed to expose customers to new offerings. They also aim to be places to educate consumers about the world of coffee, and inform coffee lovers about sustainable best practices.