How can a brand assert its leadership in a saturated market?

Carte Noire pop-up store : Using service as a new sales tool

Carte Noire - Sampling by Globe Groupe

The coffee market is home to stiff competition. In recent years, the industry has experienced a realignment in its dominant brands and witnessed a resounding shift toward portioned coffee – not to mention the arrival of proprietary brewing systems.

The level of competition is understandable: among mass-market products, coffee has become the unquestionable heavyweight of the consumer food industry. Eighty-three percent of French consumers drink coffee, and 67% of all coffee drinkers use capsules or pods.[1] Between 2014 and 2017, 1.8 million French consumers made the switch to capsules and pods, bringing the percentage of households that buy them up to 61%.

These shifts in purchasing habits have led capsules to rapidly assume their place at the apex of the coffee market, creating a competitive environment that is now saturated with over fifty competitors. Between historic industry leaders, private-label products, and a host of other traditional brands positioning themselves as organic or fair-trade produce, standing out from the crowd is a formidable challenge.

Influencing purchasing decisions before shoppers even arrive in stores

In 2018, Carte Noire Capsule decided to go after new customers, aiming to become French consumers’ favourite coffee capsule brand. To increase consumption of Exclusive NCCs, become a barista favourite, and convince Nespresso addicts, Globe utilised its experience and bet on taste as the recipe that would allow Carte Noire to stand out and escape the vicious cycle of price wars. To show off the quality of the brand’s coffee blends, which are some of the best on the market, Globe was looking to allow customers to discover Carte Noire in an everyday setting with no connection to the actual act of purchasing, making itself a part of their customer journey.

Attracting customers with a “just-in-time experience”

For this campaign, Carte Noire left the competitive environment of supermarkets to catch up with customers during their everyday routines. This strategy aimed to position Carte Noire as a brand butler, able to help customers get the best out of their everyday lives and responding to their needs and desires at the right place and time by allowing them to experience their products in a positive way with added value.

To guarantee maximum transactional effectiveness, Globe advised them to set up shop in areas with heavy foot traffic where target consumers were overrepresented and available to interact with the brand. And, to make the campaign as relevant as possible, the pop-up store had to be close to a point of sale. It was only natural, then, that the Carte Noire Pop-Up Stores opened for business in rail stations, shopping centres, and at professional events.

The first travelling Carte Noire pop-up stores

In designing the travelling Carte Noire pop-up stores, Globe’s goal was to meet the growing demands of new retail, pairing experience and the discovery of new products with customer service, being generous with a free tasting, offering guidance within the brand’s product range, and simplifying purchasing by offering on-site sales or direct delivery to customers’ homes.

Elegant, with a spinning platter that shows the most spectacular shades of black and allows customers to explore all of the flavours of Carte Noire coffee capsules, the Carte Noire travelling pop-up store features all of the brand’s references depicted in settings related to packs of capsules and coffee cups.  For the coffee tasting, the serving ritual was designed to offer consumers an unforgettable experience.

And the tasting was not the end of the experience. Conscious of the modern era of phygital sales, Carte Noire gave advice to each customer to allow them to find their perfect coffee match, according to their time and availability. For those with time to spare, the barista guided them visually through the Carte Noire Capsules coffee menu. Busy customers were given the opportunity to use the brand’s digital flavour wheel on a freely accessible tablet that offered digital recommendations and advice.

Positioning itself as a true brand butler, Carte Noire was able to meet the needs of a new type of consumer who is both looking to save time and constantly on the hunt for information and advice. Closer to consumers, the brand transformed itself into a personal coach, working for its customers by helping and advising them, right alongside their everyday habits and purchasing desires.

[1] Source IFOP survey/C10 – 01/10/18


x 6.2
Buying intentions
x 2.2
Purchases after 5 days
Million customers reached