Q: How does Nespresso Romania see the results in 2016 till now, compared to its expectations?
Sonia Nastase: Great expectations are greater when they’re exceeded! We can honestly say that our results for the first half of 2016 have been better than we’ve foreseen. By means of both awareness and sales, we’re growing day by day and we owe that to our clients, who are our main voice of promotion.
Q:. What are the main arguments for expanding your business in Romania in the next period?
Sonia Nastase: This year’s growth has been determined by the growing number of clients from all over the country. The arrival of our brand was long-awaited in Romania so, naturally, when it happened, everybody was really excited and made sure the word was spread. Now, Nespresso is not just popular in Bucharest, but also in our other main cities, via e-commerce. The brand is still young in Romania and still has so much to learn and to grow, but we’re very certain we’re going to be present in other cities as well, sometime in the future.
Q:. We know that worldwide, Nespresso is trying to engage with its customers by enhancing their experience and introducing retail innovations. Specifically, for Romania, we are referring to the ‘Nespresso boutique’ concept. How has this concept evolved in Romania? What have you learnt so far, since the opening of the first Nespresso boutique in Romania?
Sonia Nastase: The first ones who were really excited were the ‘aficionados’, who always brought home in Romania their favorite coffee from boutiques in other European cities. Along came their friends, business partners and so on… the growth was organic, the boutique fulfilled a need on the coffee market, the need for premium coffee and quality services. The boutique is also the place where people come to interact with our coffee experts and have a taste of the ultimate coffee experience. It’s a very personal, intimate approach, which we prefer.
Q: We know that almost every adult in Romania drinks coffee (about 90%) and with an increase in competition, coffee drinkers are looking more for ‘not just a coffee’. From you experience, can you describe the first 3 arguments Romanian adults take into consideration when buying a specific coffee?
Sonia Nastase: Besides the obvious qualities our consumers look for in a good coffee – its taste, its aroma, the different notes it reveals – they always appreciate diversity. The Nespresso collection now comprises of 24 distinct Grand Crus, which are meant to satisfy even our most exigent clients.
Although the tasting part is very important – before you get to enjoy a cup of ultimate coffee pleasure, its process of preparing is also important. Nespresso has its own line of state of the art coffee machines, designed to prepare the perfect coffee, in clean, safe and easy to use conditions.
Besides that, our consumers are now looking for more refined coffee experiences. They’re curious and willing to try different coffee recipes, different specialty coffees. For all that, Nespresso provides the expertise and fine consulting through our coffee experts present at the Nespresso boutique.
All of these are part of the same picture – the entire experience a coffee brand offers. Romanian consumers are becoming more and more educated and the main thing they look for is that fine coffee experience.
Q:. In the case of Nespresso, an innovator in the industry, we’ve seen not just a competition in terms of coffee brand, but even an unusual competition in using the results of its innovation (other companies announced that they are going to provide coffee capsules compatible with the Nespresso infrastructure). How do you see this kind of competition?
Sonia Nastase: Nespresso welcomes competition as it is the motor that drives innovation and growth. We are confident that through continuing to offer the highest quality coffee, exclusive personalized services and innovative products, we will continue to earn the loyalty of our Club Members and attract new customers worldwide.
Q: Can you describe the relation between the consumers’ demands and their purchasing power? Does the coffee market feel an impulse from the recent fiscal changes (the significant drop in VAT)? How has the coffee market and the consumers benefitted from a lower VAT in Romania?
Sonia Nastase: As with all food & beverage products, coffee consumption has increased in Romania. Also, the most important change was the removal of excise on coffee from the beginning of 2016, which has encouraged the purchase of coffee in all its forms.
Q: Is the specialty coffee market in Romania growing faster than the economy (considering that the economy will grow 4% YOY)? What are the reasons for this?
Sonia Nastase: The coffee market in Romania has witnessed a higher growth rate than the Romanian economy and, within the market, the coffee capsules segment have registered the largest increase in sales, because coffee lovers are more curious about new, more innovative ways to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee. Nespresso Grands Crus gives its consumers the possibility to enjoy a gourmet coffee in the comfort of their homes or at their offices, as well as the most diverse range of coffees to choose from.
Q:. How far is the coffee market in Romania (and the specialty coffee market) from reaching its potential?
Sonia Nastase: The coffee market in Romania is showing signs of a healthy growth. Romanian consumers have become more educated, they have started to look for products that cater to their most particular needs – when talking about coffee, Romanian coffee lovers are now more eager to try different products and to talk about their preferences out loud (beverages from special coffee places, coffee in capsules, buying their own specialty coffee beans and grinding them and so on). So I think we’re on our way, on a good way, to reach a new peak in our market’s evolution.
Q: From an executive point of view, regarding ‘the new economic equation’, what are the most important variables for the coffee market in Romania? Please detail.
Sonia Nastase: For us, the most important variable is the quality of the relationship established between the brand and its consumers, who look for experiences, more than just usual products. Nespresso is dedicated to offering premium quality coffee experiences to its customers, whether they’re regular consumers (through the most diverse selection of coffee assortments in the world and powerful, state of the art machines fitted for home consumption and recommendations from our coffee experts) or they’re business partners, from the HORECA segment. Our partnerships with five star hotel chains, highly awarded restaurants or exclusive bars and cafes are examples of our experience-oriented practice.