What would attract you most to a new tea shop?


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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby CutieAgouti » Dec 9th, '09, 18:30

Charles wrote: My primary criticism of Teavana's model, if I may be so direct, is that you simply CANNOT look at tea without talking to a sales person.


This puts me off when I go to a tea store. One way is to have sample canisters of the teas for sale. I've seen this at one store, lined up on a self or table, and customers can open it up, inspect the leaves, and smell it before buying. It's so nice :D
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby skilfautdire » Dec 9th, '09, 20:12

The location surely plays a role. It is much more difficult to give a cozy atmosphere in a shopping mall where the accent is on shopping. So it depends.

If you locate it not in anywhere near a shopping mall, Camellia Sinesis in Montréal, Québec could be inspirational. Teas are located behind a counter, but they have colour catalogs on the counter. The staff will not get in the way but will be there to answer any questions. Teas are sold in recyclable re-sealable bags which offers the customer a small discount when brought back. Adjoining the store proper is a place to have tea. Moreover the atmosphere is soft and some essence of tranquility associated to having a cup of tea is carried over. This makes the customers go to this place for that and remember it when they have tea. More than tea is sold, the relaxing time when having tea is also sold. This is immaterial and is certainly an added value to a business strategy in our hectic times. Won't get that in a shopping mall, or won't get that if the business model have to be accomodated for shopping malls, though.

Pictures:

http://camellia-sinensis.com/nous/prend ... 234#28-234
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Intuit » Dec 9th, '09, 20:27

>Teas are sold in recyclable re-sealable bags which offers the customer a small discount when brought back.

Or Bring Your Own (tin) for refills. Can easily be tared for weighing out tea.

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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby JBaymore » Dec 10th, '09, 13:01

Intuit wrote:Or Bring Your Own (tin) for refills. Can easily be tared for weighing out tea.


Great idea here. A very "unique" twist... and that is what you want to be looking for in "branding" such an endeavor; make it unique and different from the comptetition.

The one qualification I'd make to that idea is bring your own "ceramic containers". :lol:

best,

..................john
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 15:25

You know, as much as I detest the practices of Teavana, I will go out of my way to take a walk through one of their larger stores. The product mix is very interesting and usually attractively presented. It is different enough that if I am in a mall with a Teavana, I will go in along with a stick to beat off the robot staff.

As much as I detest Teavana, I will make a non tea purchase virtually each time, even though my purchases do not fit in with their sales model. :lol:

A store filled with white and glass teaware such as the current product mix of Adagio is not likely to get me to go too far out of my way ... however the friendly, knowledgable staff would. Couple that with an expanded product mix that changes by 10-20% every 6 months, possibly working with some of our Teaware Astisans (hint), as well as more multi cultural teaware elements, now you are talking!!!!!
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 15:53

... should add, Adagio name brand teaware could still a have prominant role, but how many times will I venture far to see the PersonaliTea?

Teavana does know something, expanded teaware inventory that changes frequently does equate to more sales. This also instills an urgency in the buyer, what they see today, may be gone forever tomorrow.
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 16:51

I would agree that the collection of teaware & accessories must expand to fit a retail environment. Adagio covers the basic tea brewing and utility items, but we need to, and will, include decorative options.

I'd be curious to know how much the average tea addict spends annually on tea vs. accessories...
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 16:56

Charles wrote:I would agree that the collection of teaware & accessories must expand to fit a retail environment. Adagio covers the basic tea brewing and utility items, but we need to, and will, include decorative options.

I'd be curious to know how much the average tea addict spends annually on tea vs. accessories...

That would be an interesting topic, but we would have to take truth serum before posting I suspect.

If you do not mind, I could borrow the topic for a TeaDay, breaking it down into ranges and/or ratios.
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby AdamMY » Dec 10th, '09, 17:07

Charles wrote:I would agree that the collection of teaware & accessories must expand to fit a retail environment. Adagio covers the basic tea brewing and utility items, but we need to, and will, include decorative options.

I'd be curious to know how much the average tea addict spends annually on tea vs. accessories...



Depends I think on the person, and there tendencies towards collecting. I'd say its probably close to 50-50 the whole time, though possibly if they are collecting pieces on the more expensive side it can be 75% teaware and 25% tea. But I'd say unless the person is very content with all their teaware, that it starts to drop and may drop to 0 depending on the person.
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 17:17

Chip wrote:If you do not mind, I could borrow the topic for a TeaDay, breaking it down into ranges and/or ratios.


Go for it! I'll be curious to see what people say.
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 17:20

Charles wrote:
Chip wrote:If you do not mind, I could borrow the topic for a TeaDay, breaking it down into ranges and/or ratios.


Go for it! I'll be curious to see what people say.

Tomorrow! Thanks ... always looking for a good topic. :wink:
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby kymidwife » Dec 11th, '09, 11:05

While most of us here have moved well beyond entry-level tea drinking... I remember what brought me to loose leaf tea. I went through the Teavana gateway like so many before me. I bring this up because you mentioned earlier in the thread the question of blending your own teas.

I think if you can feasibly do this in an economical fashion, you should definitely do it. Flavored tea is a major entry point to tea-drinking, and I will go so far as to say that the Signature Blends section of the Adagio website is what prompted me to make my first Adagio orders.

For retail purposes... I'd offer a "Design Your Own Flavor" single brew cup... you could easy have a salesperson help a customer pick complementary flavors and ratios, blend it together and brew one single cup for a nominal fee (or even free if you wanted to go there), and then blend those same ratios for a larger bulk purchase if the customer likes it. This will sell you some tea, I guarantee! You could provide a computer-generated label with the contents/ratio so they could easily repurchase in the future.

My one complaint with the current Adagio Signature Blends program is that I have to buy larger quantities of various teas and conduct these experiments myself... I would love a chance to do this in-store. For cost purposes, you might have to charge a nominal fee for each experimental blending so you don't end up with a customer in there blending up 50 bad experimental blends for free.

Sarah
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby Charles » Dec 11th, '09, 11:26

kymidwife wrote:For cost purposes, you might have to charge a nominal fee for each experimental blending so you don't end up with a customer in there blending up 50 bad experimental blends for free


Our current plan is to allow customers to blend and brew in-store for free. You would only pay if you take a cup to-go out of the store (though there is some debate on this as well - http://www.tearetailer.com/article_21.html).

I've been watching tea people in a retail tea shop environment for five years now. I am led to believe that very few will abuse this, but it will be an interesting test and can always be limited in the future.
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby virago_ns » Dec 12th, '09, 18:24

What would draw me in? A company that takes responcibility.

Environmentally friendly options like using your own travel mugs, re-using tea tins for refills to reduce packaging, a composting program for spent tea leaves, recycling for the plastics and tins that are disgarded.

Responcibility for their emloyees. They must be educated and know tea well. Perhaps not to a tea master level, but definalty on the level that they know what a 1st and 2nd flush are and the grading of tea leaves.

An awards program, buy 9 and get one free, or a frequent buyers club card that offers discounts. A featured tea (once a month maybe) that allows a "premium" tea to be sold a regular price (by the cup, not the tin). The tasting idea is great, I know of a couple tea houses that offer free samples, but none that cup them for you!
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Re: What would attract you most to a new tea shop?

Postby ABx » Dec 14th, '09, 03:29

I think that the big thing will be to know your target "audience." Portland is big on culture, especially Asian culture, and so places like Tao of Tea offer an experience more than a product, even in the retail store. Other places around town are mostly tea houses and they either go for an Asian atmosphere or a comfortable atmosphere that is very "Portland."

Something to keep in mind:
Consumers Stop Buying As Number Of Options Increase
(There's lots of other great articles if you search the site for "consumer choices.")

One of the problems that you have here on the site is that we're enthusiasts, and you won't make money by catering to enthusiasts. It's the same way that software that caters to geeks doesn't do well. We want to try it all, so sensory overload is great, but most people want simple and familiar. There was an old marketing book that also talked about that, and pointed to a gourmet pizza shop that got around it by offering a guarantee: if you get a slice of gourmet and don't like it, they'd give you a free slice of your normal standby.

At one point I gave my mom a big bag full of samples that I had accumulated. It was so much that it overwhelmed her, and she didn't know where to start. At some point she just pulled one out at random per day and actually started to really love it.

Something that the guy that started Stash and Tazo is doing now is to do blends of small batches of high quality tea that will sell quickly. So you will go into the store and they will have a limited supply of a handful of unique blends of higher quality tea than they're accustomed to, and it will be a different selection each time; that would certainly keep it simple for those that get paralyzed by too many choices, and keep the obsessive types coming back regularly :)

Of course I imagine that some paralysis could be avoided by splitting types of teas up into different areas of the store. Tao of Tea does some of this: they have a big set of shelves in the back, but all the better stuff is in little islands throughout the rest of the store, among teaware and decorations. That way you're never looking at too much stuff at once.

I'm guessing that this goes without saying, but if you're going to give lots of info, I would put simple info that's easy to visually parse up front with more detailed info on the other side. I can sit on the computer and read tea info for hours, as a geek, but I wouldn't have the patience in the store and I imagine that the average consumer would quickly feel overwhelmed.

As an aside, I think you should package the puerh in small paper bags :) With the right label it could even make it look neatly rustic :) (That's in addition to making it taste better.)
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