The marketing value of a free cup of tea


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The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 14:25

We're having an internal debate about the proper role of Tea-to-Go in the new Adagio store. You can read the details http://www.tearetailer.com/article_21.html . The question is whether a tea shop that offered free cups of tea would bring you into the shop more often, and would those visits result in you buying more tea to brew at home?
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 14:39

I have never liked a cup of tea from a disposable cup. Usually cardboard taste transfers to the teas I tend to enjoy the most. Therefore it would not attract me to return.

However, an in store cup in a decent cup, freshly brewed by someone who knows what they are doing, or comparison tasting in decent teaware would attract me to a store if the teas offered also attracted me.

One tea store visited recently actually permitted the honor of brewing to me, now that was interesting. Interesting teaware and set up in an approachable setting ... friendly , knowledgable staff.

So, definitely yes with certain caveats ... this would invite frequent returns rewarded with purchases! The product mix still needs to be on target.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 14:43

Thanks Chip. I should clarify that we intend to allow comparison cuppings (using traditional professional ceramic cupping sets) in-store at no charge. Ideally the customer will want to brew and taste the tea with an eye towards purchase. I do know from experience, however, that many customers will be looking for a drink to take with them. Unfortunately the paper cup is still our only option for Tea-to-Go.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 14:53

Charles wrote:Thanks Chip. I should clarify that we intend to allow comparison cuppings (using traditional professional ceramic cupping sets) in-store at no charge. Ideally the customer will want to brew and taste the tea with an eye towards purchase. I do know from experience, however, that many customers will be looking for a drink to take with them. Unfortunately the paper cup is still our only option for Tea-to-Go.

Yep, read about the comparison tastings which I was reenforcing! :D

And yep, to go has limitations. But it won't do anything to help a customer appreciate a finer or delicate tea. It will help someone who wants a "fix" or is drinking a tea that will mask the taste of the cup such as flavored tea. So it will work fr some customers but not for all.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby JBaymore » Dec 10th, '09, 15:06

So this is "thinking outside the box".........

At a commercial level, and particularly if manufactured overseas, the production costs for a very simple machine-made small yunomi style cup (no handle) in a simple but distinctive glaze are very, very low. A modern automatic jigger/jolly machine cna crank those out at an alarming rate. If bought in bulk....... you might be able to get these ceramic cups very inexpensively wholesale on a per unit basis.

For a little more $... you might be able to get a distinctive SIMPLE "logo" of some sort on them.

So what happens if you offer your "free" tea in EITHER the standard version.... paper cup.... or for a VERY nominal charge (bet this could be a non-$ loser at maybe $0.50) in the "real tea cup" the customer gets to keep?

Now you get people walking around shopping and sipping tea out of not only the "usual" paper cups with the logo... but ALSO with the "classier" ceramic cups.

One potential problem in that department is the "no food or drink" things that most stores have on their doors.

best,

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

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 15:13

Interesting, John. Then the visit is reenforced at home or work by the reusable cup.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby JBaymore » Dec 10th, '09, 15:37

Chip wrote:Interesting, John. Then the visit is reenforced at home or work by the reusable cup.


Precisely. Even if you have to "lose" a tad on giving away the cup...... you plan that loss into the marketing budget. It isn't a loss if you do it right :wink: .

With my good customers I often put a little "extra" item into orders when I pack them. In Japan this practice is called サベス (sa-be-su)..... "service". These small items really are related to "marketing".

best,

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

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 16:05

Brilliant idea John! I've already started the wheels in motion to check on the feasibility and minimum order quantities to have these manufactured overseas.

Awesome!
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Intuit » Dec 10th, '09, 17:07

Disposable paper cups are wax-coated to make them impervious for holding hot and cold liquids. I sincerely doubt you can 'taste' the cardboard. :-)

You can encourage customers to Bring-Your-Own cup for sampling, if taste, paper waste and cup cost are an issue for your store or the customer. Alternatively, you can sell, for a nominal cost, logo-ed ceramic cups, or 'to-go' thermo-mugs - as JB suggests, above.

Samples are a vital part of specialty food and beverage merchandising. Even large grocery stores are finding that when they offer customers samples of show-cased items, it pays off handsomely in sales.

Tea sampling has an additional bonus - demonstration of suggested brewing technique or correction of brewing misconceptions. Can't stress the importance of this concept, else the customer may find that the tea tastes quite different when prepared haphazardly at home.

Your store has an advantage over the Adagio online retail model - you can test out new teas directly with customers. These teas would not be available through the corporate website unless selected later for national sales.

That's the hook - you can buy certain teas that are seasonal or special limited offerings at the shop. It keeps your product repertoire 'fresh' and interesting, and provides a reason for regular visits.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 17:12

Intuit wrote:Disposable paper cups are wax-coated to make them impervious for holding hot and cold liquids. I sincerely doubt you can 'taste' the cardboard. :-)

Surely you are not suggesting that a 160$ per pound delicately beautiful Long Jing will "taste" the same in a cardboard cup as a fine porcelain tasting cup?

And yes I can ... even if it is partly perceived taste differences, it is still perceived. But I have had tea in carboard cups and have tasted a difference.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Charles » Dec 10th, '09, 17:24

Has anyone noticed that we tea people are really picky? ;) LOL

Truth be told, one of the largest downsides to To-Go cups, thermoses and the like is that the flavor of a tea is NOT stable. First Flush Darjeelings are at the top of my list for delivering on tea's potential for nuance and complexity... but put the finest First Flush Darjeeling in a 20oz container and 20 minutes later the color has changed from green straw to putrid orange and the taste, well... it makes me want to cry.
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby Chip » Dec 10th, '09, 17:29

Charles wrote:Has anyone noticed that we tea people are really picky? ;) LOL

Truth be told, one of the largest downsides to To-Go cups, thermoses and the like is that the flavor of a tea is NOT stable. First Flush Darjeelings are at the top of my list for delivering on tea's potential for nuance and complexity... but put the finest First Flush Darjeeling in a 20oz container and 20 minutes later the color has changed from green straw to putrid orange and the taste, well... it makes me want to cry.

+1 on all counts. :lol:
We can be a bit testy too. :oops:
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby JBaymore » Dec 10th, '09, 18:00

Charles wrote:Brilliant idea John! I've already started the wheels in motion to check on the feasibility and minimum order quantities to have these manufactured overseas.

Awesome!


Glad you liked it, Charles. Been a FT professional potter for a long time........ it helps to think outside the box.

I really, REALLY hate that I had to suggest the "offshore" aspect of this. But it is the only way it likely will be economically feasible. Domestic production is typically more expensive due to labor and material cost differences. Even with shipping, I think you'd do better there. You might try to look to Thailand as well as China.

I'd love to say that I'd take it on........ but you'd need a HUGE marketing budget. :lol:

Keep me posted how it works out.

best,

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

Postby kymidwife » Dec 11th, '09, 10:46

Just to expand on the non-disposable cup idea... If you made the reusable cup travel-friendly with a lid (would cost a bit more on the front end of course)... you could offer a free refill any time they bring into the store. You get your logo out there, you get brand recognition every time they see the cup, and you get them purposefully returning to the store to get that cup refilled.

I would definitely purchase a refillable cup/travel mug if I had a local tea shop offering such a service.

Let me add that I am thrilled Adagio is going retail... about time that OTHER tea place had some competition. Take it national, I want to see you in my area. Heck, let me know when you start selling franchises! :)

Sarah
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Re: The marketing value of a free cup of tea

Postby geeber1 » Dec 12th, '09, 13:46

I like the idea of the lidded cup and I think people would be willing to purchase a quality cup/mug if they could bring it in for free refills. If the store was located in a mall type location, though, I think you would get tired of carrying the cup around.
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