Hold your phone up to Starbucks store and enter a new world. The AR shop in Shanghai

  • VR & AR
  • 30 March 2018


The shop in Shanghai broke a lot of visual barriers by implementing AR technology. Besides the impressive design, with beautiful copper vessel with Chinese stamps, the store allows user to enter news worlds. The glass of the smartphone reveals a whole other dimension.



To create interaction through Augmented Reality technology and make the store in Shanghai probably the most appealing from Starbucks chain all around the world. Also, they wanted to create a totally new brand experience and dramatically increase the level of interaction between users and brand.


How it works

You can virtually explore the fantasy world that opens via the AR app. You can watch the roasted coffee beans inside the storage cans and see them being distributed to the pipes of the coffee bars. Also, if really want to dig deeper inside the roastery process, you can read via the app about the road of coffee from the newly roasted bean to you cup of coffee freshly served. So, the amazing world of a Roastery process is bravely revealed to you through the app.
“It’s like Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka,” said Emily Chang, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Starbucks, China. “It’s one thing to imagine a fully integrated in-store and digital experience, which brings together the impressive scale of the Shanghai Roastery with the highest quality small-lot coffee beans. It’s quite another to watch the AR experience get built, and come to life.”

The augmented reality experiences


The moment you enter the coffee shop you are invited to download the Roastery’s app and to explore the drinking coffee experience at a whole another level.

The users learned that from the moment they point their mobile phones to the roastery installation, they start their digital tour. There’s also a reward mechanism for those ones that persevere in exploring the secrets of a coffee roastery. Along the adventurous way of coffee discovery, they can win badges and at the end of the journey a special social media filter – a custom Roastery layout.
Users can scan different part of the store as a way to engage with the AR features. Then the app delivers fun visuals, information about products, even details about the roasting process.
“We wanted to create a completely new brand experience for our customers,” said Chang. “Because you know, coffee is already such a deeply sensorial experience, even before the first sip: from hearing the unmistakable sound of beans being freshly ground, to inhaling that rich aroma and sipping your perfect blend, brewed just right. We wanted to take that customer experience even further.”
There is also the option of scanning the QR code inserted around the roasting installation that reveal encrypted information, invisible for the human eye. The users can also put the order from any corner of the location via their smartphones. Just to let the smell of good coffee keep alive the spell, the designers thought about how to make it easier for everyone and avoid staying in line to order.
So, the customers can pay on the spot to the baristas that roam on the floor and pay when their order is ready.

Same here – if the visitors are curious about how the coffee is prepared by a barista, they should hold their phone up to one of the icons on the ceiling to access the virtual world.
 “With AR, we are able to go beyond educating, enabling and engaging, to empowering our customers to experience the space on their own terms,” said Chang.
The Starbucks Roastery has been enabled with an online store powered by Alibaba where the users can order a coffee tour or special branded Starbucks products and coffee varieties.


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