While the Nespresso machines are clean, convenient and easy to use — as well as making darn good coffee — some folks are turned off by the fact that the capsules for the machine are available for sale only through Nespresso directly. We sometimes have people stopping into the store hoping to get a small batch of the capsules to tide them over until their next mail order shipment arrives…and you can imagine their sour disappointment when we tell them we’re not allowed to sell any of the demo capsules we have in the store.
It can certainly be a really convenient option for those that are great with planning ahead, especially because you can setup a regular delivery of your favorite types of capsules so, theoretically, you’d never be out. And the way that Nespresso has structured their product and pricing reflects the fact that, when you buy a machine from them, you are starting a long term relationship, not just engaging in a quick n’ dirty one night stand.
So it’s no surprise that Nespresso is reacting with a little bit of attitude to the recent news of a second large company (this time, it’s Sara Lee) in the process of producing capsules that will be compatible with the Nespresso machines to directly compete with them. Last year, another company (Casino Guichard-Perrachon) announced it would introduce capsules made with coffee from the Ethical Coffee Company. Nespresso says it has over 1,700 patents covering the capsules and the way in which they interact with their machines, stating that they will “defend our intellectual property vigorously”.
We think competition does benefit the customer at the end of the day, so maybe two companies coming after their business will result in Nespresso changing up their game a bit. In our opinion, if they widened their capsule distribution to include their authorized retailers, that would be an excellent benefit for everyone involved.