The marketing value of a free cup of tea


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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby LauraW » Jan 7th, '10, 10:40

TheTeaSpot wrote:Sake cups hold about 2 oz and most are ceramic as far as I know. This might be appropriate for tea tastings without giving away a whole cup of tea, as others have mentioned.


In reading through the thread, I was actually thinking this same thing. I was... somewhere, I've forgotten where just now, but for a small fee you could test some of the sake they sold in these small, ceramic cups (they also had sets and other cups for sale, but these had their logo on them). Then, once you were done, you take the cup home as a souvenir/reminder. If the cup is only 2oz, chances are they'll be done with the liquid by the time they leave the store. They even offered to wash it out and wrap it in paper (putting it in the bag with the other purchased items) so you don't have to carry around a dirty cup.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby JBaymore » Jan 9th, '10, 20:55

Charles wrote:We are investigating options for a ceramic to-go cup with a lid. This certainly couldn't be free, but when purchased we could give customers carrying it free tea easily enough.

I've tested dozens of to-go cups, and I've never found a plastic or metal cup that didn't change the flavor of the tea. It's GOTTA be ceramic of some sort.

The inexpensive ceramic idea is pretty cool, but I am not sure there is a good way to do this WITH a lid. A to-go cup without a lid won't be terribly popular and may result in some angry customers and nasty burns. :)


Charles,

The "ceramic cup with a lid" problem is gonna likely get a bit pricey if you actually want an aesthetic looking solution that functions anywhere near well. I've never yet seen a non-handmade one (normal industrial techniques) that is good on either account. And you likely can't afford handmade! :wink:

If the piece is not aesthetically good...... and is not free...... you are defeating the whole original idea I had. To do that at all, it has to be a small and simple piece. The cost has to be pegged into the marketing budget. And the actual core of the whole idea was not really residing in the cup itself, or the tea in the cup...... but the act of GIVING the simple cup that is nice enough that it has some perceived value. (Free samples of drinks are "old hat" and very common.) If done correctly, THAT act of giving is what will get you the mileage.

Another thing to consider here is the market positioning you are heading for and your target market / demographic audience. The things that will tend to work well with the high end, "high touch" market will flop with the less afluent and aesthetically aware. And vice versa. I think a "travel mug" type approach has some inherent connotations that you might want to carefully consider before going down that route.

And also looking at the nature of the locations that you are thinking of using for brick-and-mortar stores. As is already mentioned here .... places like malls might frown on people carrying open containers into other stores. Stand alone venues would be very different in that approach. A place that has a "walking mall area" in a downtown would be yet another case.

best,

................john
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Symmetry » Jan 10th, '10, 01:02

Personally, I would be much more likely to buy from a store if they gave a free sample of their product. Costco, Trader Joe's, and all the other grocery stores that give samples away get most of my business for this reason. I don't know if you should include a free cup, but if you do, I would put a logo on it - more brand recognition.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Charles » Jan 11th, '10, 10:50

Good thoughts all...

Free samples is a given. At this point it's a matter of how they're delivered.

After spending 5 years opening and working in tea stores it's also a given that any cup carried outside of the doors of the store EITHER has to be large enough to hold a meaningful amount of tea and include a lid so that it doesn't spill, OR has to be easily disposable. I don't believe a 2oz ceramic cup without a lid will appeal to or be understood by the majority of tea drinkers. Asian tea connoisseurs, yes, but everyone else, no. I personally managed a very high end tea store in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the US. We had a GREAT collection of very high end Chinese and Japanese teas, and yet I would guess that 10% to 15% of the customers would have valued a 2oz ceramic cup enough to make it worth it.

For the sake of argument, we need to assume that in a prime retail location we will give away hundreds of samples, 90% of which to people who never buy (especially since a family of four will come in, drink 4 samples of tea and buy once). At a cost of $0.25 per sample (cup, tea, equipment and labor) and a 10% conversion rate I'm paying $2.50 per customer. If the sample costs me $1.50, I'm now paying $11.50 per customer - a cost that is probably unsustainable.

So the small ceramic cup could be a give-away to someone doing a flight of green teas, but for the typical American getting a sample of Earl Grey, it's probably not ideally suited. Americans, even those that drink good green teas, don't typically use the traditional small cups.

I would agree that the whole concept of a travel mug goes against the image and culture of tea that appeals to me, but I also know that as long as tea is a delicate and unapproachable novelty, the Adagio Retail concept will never be terribly successful. Our customer, connoisseur or novice, WILL drink their tea in a travel mug. If we don't provide a good one, they'll use a plastic or metal one in which my tea will taste no better than Lipton.

There are some nice ceramic travel mugs with lids on the market. I own a few that work well. They also retail in the $20 range, so wouldn't make good give-aways by any means.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby LauraW » Jan 11th, '10, 11:40

Charles wrote:Our customer, connoisseur or novice, WILL drink their tea in a travel mug. If we don't provide a good one, they'll use a plastic or metal one in which my tea will taste no better than Lipton.


A very good point.

Charles wrote:There are some nice ceramic travel mugs with lids on the market. I own a few that work well. They also retail in the $20 range, so wouldn't make good give-aways by any means.


It may not make a good give-away, but if you're looking from the customer perspective of a one-time purchase of a cup that can be reused both at home or brought back into the store, I know I'd be willing to get a better quality mug than have tea that I love taste wrong. Especially if you're looking at (even slightly) discounted refills - I'll pay $20 now for 50c off every time I bring it back in. It'll bring me back into the store and make me more likely to try something new - vs. letting me purchase a bunch of tea in one trip and then not coming back for up to 6 months. But maybe that's just me.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Delicate disast... » Feb 15th, '10, 19:51

(I didn't read the whole thread, so I hope this hasn't been mentioned already)

There's a tea shop I visit every time I'm in a particular tourist trap that I think offers tea sampling. They've got kettles and all the accouterments, but they don't really announce it when you walk in the store. I've only been there three times and the only time I was offered a taste of tea was when I asked for matcha and they only had it in wholesale amounts. I'm really unsure if it was a sample or if I'd have to pay (that may be my fault, I was feeling a little nervous that I'd say something that would expose how little I know about tea) So, I think you need to put it out there that the tea is free (if you had a little blackboard with the teas offered that day that also said free samples somewhere, that would solve it).

I also think that for shy-types such as myself you might also make it apparent that you're not going to be to put-out if I don't buy whatever tea I've tried and show me that it's no trouble to make me a cup. I know I'm defeating the purpose of the free sample a little bit, but if I feel like it's going to be a lot of trouble and I might not purchase it, I'm afraid to ask. :oops: I also don't like to eat in front of people if I'm the only one eating/drinking. I doubt there's really anything you can do about that though, except if you allowed the employees to drink tea on the job.

Also, I really like this free sample idea. As a customer seeing and smelling this new and different teas would draw my attention to teas I might otherwise have never tried. It sounds so much more inviting than just rows and rows of tea. Too bad I'm probably nowhere near your store. :(
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