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The experience economy: Costa Express vending machine re-designed

Fabio Calorio, Head of Sales and Marketing, Business Unit Architecture, Transportation & Industrial Design

BACKGROUND: THE 5 SENSES. Sometimes when I go to work I pass by a bakery making chocolate biscuits and I instantly associate that smell to the image of my childhood at my grandmother’s house during the Christmas period. This strong association is caused by the connection of one or more of the five senses to a particular experience, and generates an irrational positive feeling towards the bakery in question.

The involvement of one or more senses helps people remember things in a deeper way because they work as powerful triggers of emotions instilled in the subconscious of the human mind.

From a business perspective, experiences stimulating as many senses as possible affect customers’ perception, judgement and behavior towards a brand. In addition, it is worth mention that consumer self-generation brand attributes are much stronger than those verbally communicated by the company.

THE EXPERIENCE ECONOMY. The world is shifting from the service to the experience economy. The advent of the omnichannel strategy implied a redefinition of the role of company’s and brand’s touchpoints. According to this strategy, the physical touchpoints have become a powerful tool to communicate and reinforce the company’s brand image through the delivery of unique experiences and entertainment. The most mentioned example is represented by the fashion industry which is strongly based on aspirational consumption and where consumers can easily try the products offline (in physical stores) and then buy cheaper online.

However, the development of digital technologies and the advent of digital users, the Millennials, enhanced the opportunities of the experience based engagement (EBE) also in sectors other than fashion.

VENDING MACHINE REDESIGNED. According to this perspective Pininfarina and Costa Coffee developed a new approach to the vending machine industry.

The goal of the project was to replicate the atmosphere of the Costa stores, creating a sense of familiarity and consistency in the consumer.

All the elements characterizing the bar experience where taken in consideration and recreated involving the five senses from the smell of the toasted coffee to the sound of the beans milled. To make the experience absolutely fulfilling, great attention was paid to the user interface of the machine to guarantee a simple and intuitive selection process and an efficient and quick delivery of the beverage able to make the consumer feel comfortable. The service shelf, shaped as a dashboard, is spacious and inviting. All of the consumable elements, such as cups, sugar and stirrers, are very easy to reach in order to make the customer experience quick and simple. The physical design as well was conceived to evoke the Costa Coffee world. The curving traits suggest the cut of the coffee beans and the “S” of the Costa logo – creating therefore a trait-d’union with the world of coffee and the one of Costa. The colours used – black for coffee and red for Costa – make the message even stronger and more consistent.

Beyond the excellence in design, the project is standing at the forefront of innovation thanks to the team-work of dream team: Atomhawk, Bsquare, Costa, eMixPro, Givaudan, Global Capital Advisors, Intel, Perspectives, Thermoplan and Verwo-Aquacut.

A real revolution driven by the 5 senses and by the seamless integration of digital, physical and service design.

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