Design showcase: Costa redesign to roll out to 1,000 branches

A new Costa Coffee store format – designed by Edge – is to be rolled out to 1,000 UK branches, after a trial in nine locations.

Costa, which is being acquired by Coca-Cola for £3.9bn, has more than 2,300 branches. It seeks to invest in continual innovation to ensure it maintains and grows its customer base. Responsibility for store environments was transferred to the global marketing team, so that the brand could be put at the heart of all decisions about physical space and customer experience. The objective was to create a ‘truer realisation’ of the Costa brand in all branches nationwide.

Edge was briefed to bring to life Costa’s brand purpose: “To inspire the world to love great coffee.” Elements such as handcrafting coffee, new coffee experiences, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of coffee, were also included.

Edge trialled a new concept store design – the Costa Coffee House – in Wandsworth in South London, in 2016, seeing an uplift in sales. Its subsequent redesign was installed in nine branches, in three phases. Learning from each branch was incorporated in each subsequent store to be redesigned. The resulting format will be installed in 1,000 branches over the next two years.

Research has played a key role in the programme, looking at every detail of the customer experience. This showed that Costa is seen as a trusted and friendly brand, and one of the most welcoming coffee shop brands on the high street.

Theatre and service is the key focus of the new concept. The counter has been the most important element, seeking to create more interaction between the customer and the barista. A halo hanging over the counter highlights the area, while coffee machines have been reoriented to make the creation of drinks more visible. The food offer is more integrated, to encourage impulse purchases.

“Innovation is a hallmark of the Costa brand and we were appointed to create a holistic experience of the brand.  Everything that we have done has started from an understanding of the Costa brand and its customers,” says Edge project principal and director Michael Fern.

“Here we have reflected Costa’s passion about handcrafting coffee in every element of the store design.  Our redesign of the environment encapsulates the Costa proposition of being warm, welcoming and comfortable.  The new interiors are lighter, brighter and more human.  At the same time they are contemporary with a classically British twist.”

Intuitive seating zones have been introduced for different customer mindsets and times of day, with more upholstered seating. Screens give a sense of privacy to some of the seats. New lighting and a new choice of wall art are used to emphasise Costa brand values of craft and passion.

The branches are designed to be more eye-catching from outside, with a reduction in visual clutter, to attract customers from the street. The colour palette and overall illumination levels have been lightened, with oranges and blues complementing Costa’s corporate red.

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