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Nespresso might never have existed if we hadn't set ourselves the challenge of making the ultimate espresso. In 1986 the first Nespresso capsule-based system was launched. Game-changing innovation that answered this important business question: "How can we provide people premium coffee at the touch of a button?"

This intrapreneurial spirit thrives at Nespresso, where, in the words of Vincent Leroudier, Digital Customer Innovation Manager: "We're in a competitive business climate. It’s not only about working with edgy startups – although we keep tabs on what’s happening – but about delivering fast innovation to solve immediate consumer needs."

Nespresso has always led the market in coffee quality. But today’s consumers want more, and digital innovation is one way in which the brand can, in Leroudier’s words, “share the Nespresso experience, build stronger relationships with people, and lead – in terms of offering them new products and services, and innovative ways to access them”.

Chatbots and voice

This is why Nespresso is on a mission to use algorithm-rich technology to create a variety of 'conversational marketing' experiences, from asking a smart speaker to trace your coffee order to telling a barista-like chatbot that you’d like a no-foam, fat-free, extra-hot latte.

Launched in the US and Germany this September on Facebook Messenger, 'Nespresso Assistant' delivers everything from special offers and information on recycling, to cleaning your machine and suggesting new coffees to try.

Early results are promising – 70% of users report a positive experience – and by 2020 consumers around the world will be able to order their coffee via the app without leaving Facebook Messenger. Nespresso plans to scale the platform globally over the next two years.

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"We think the bot will work because it’s easier than a website or proprietary app," says Leroudier. "People want simplicity, and a messaging app is up-to-date 24/7, on mobile or desktop. Conversations follow you, from the office to the home, for example. And bots are more personal, interactive and entertaining."

"What type of coffee would you like to try?" Nespresso Assistant might ask you, with a cheeky smile emoji, before answering your question on machine descaling using easy-to-follow GIFs. If the bot fails to deliver, and its artificial intelligence is improving all the time – there’s no coffee jolt here. A human being is just a click away.

Or just a simple voice request. Nespresso Voice Assistant is launching in France via a pilot with Google Home, and offers people similar services to the chatbot. From 2020, people will also be able to say: "OK Google, Ask Nespresso to reorder my coffee!" Your weekly coffee order just got a whole lot easier, and more fun.

Augmented reality

If Nespresso broke new ground in 1986 with a revolutionary new machine concept, then two years ago, the brand digitized it, creating an augmented reality (AR) app that allowed people to see what Nespresso’s new Essenza Mini would look like in their kitchens, then share the results with friends and family.

As a marketing tool it’s interactive, enjoyable and above all, useful. So much so that this year B2B sales teams began using the same technology. Want to see how a Nespresso coffee machine might sit in your hotel or restaurant? A salesperson can show you using a special app, then share the image with you, or print it out.

Nespresso AR app for Retail video

In future, augmented reality might enable you to overlay an image of your coffee machine on your smart phone with graphics showing you how to change its brew settings, descale it, even suggest new coffees to try. Forget hard-to-follow instructions – this makes the fiddly jobs fun, and the easier ‘jobs’ (drinking coffee) easier.

Whether we’re talking augmented reality apps, chatbots for Facebook Messenger or platforms like Google Home, Nespresso is meeting people on their own turf and adding value to their coffee drinking experience in ways that feel natural and easy.

The result? Happier customers who are a step closer to the Nespresso coffee they crave.