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Localisation - How Design is Helping Starbucks Take A Global Brand into Local Markets

Jim Riley

27th January 2014

You have a global brand. But, to maximise its strength in global markets, you need to take account of the local customer needs and wants. That is the essence of the concept of "localisation" and few global brands take this approach more seriously than Starbucks.

"To Design Local, You Have to Be Local"

Starbucks opens almost 2,000 stores each year. So you might forgive the business for searching for economies of scale by installing standard store layouts for their global brand. However, in recent years Starbucks has opted for an entirely different approach - the intense customisation of stores.

This article in Wired magazine explains how Starbucks has opened 18 design studios around the world so that its store designers could visit the key international locations firsthand and design stores that incorporate local culture.

Take China as an example.

In China, customers tend to come to Starbucks in large groups. Store designers have accommodated by adding more movable furniture that customers can rearrange to sit together. In contrast with Americans, who tend to favor fast service that allows them to quickly get on with their day, the Chinese like to sit and relax for a while. So Starbucks is now building larger stores in China. It has also added custom flavors like red bean Frappuccinos to appeal to local taste buds.

Jim Riley

Jim co-founded tutor2u alongside his twin brother Geoff! Jim is a well-known Business writer and presenter as well as being one of the UK's leading educational technology entrepreneurs.

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