The key ingredients that will fuel CX in a category like ready-to-drink coffee

When you're confined to the moment of consumption, where can you really innovate or improve?

If Ryan Collis really wants to elevate the experience of buying ready-to-drink coffee, there may be no better way than trapping people at a business conference.

I didn’t bother offering this unsolicited advice to the vice-president and general manager of the PepsiCo-Starbucks North American Coffee Partnership, but I thought about it. I was in a Q&A with him at Cult Gathering in Banff recently, where the lineups for coffee during the breaks were so long that I often simply gave up.

Contrast that with the grab-and-go convenience of the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee market, which Pepsico and Starbucks have been pursuing as a joint venture since 1994. Collis and his team of approximately 100 people are charged with determining how to continue to expand and grow, which certainly has its challenges.

“There are a lot more convenience stores and supermarketers than there are cafes,” he says, “but in terms of actual quantities, I mean, the average person consumes 3.6 litres of liquid a day. You can’t really double that too easily.”

This is where, presumably, customer experience (CX) could play a key role. 

I asked Collis how he was thinking about it, given that buying RTD coffee isn’t quite the same as, say, visiting a well-designed Starbucks with super-friendly staff. Here’s what he said:

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