Good Marketing Isn’t Hocus-Pocus


Good marketing isn’t hocus-pocus but it certainly can work like magic when tea business owners are willing to focus their passion, creativity and innovative thinking behind their merchandising efforts. That was the underlying theme as Holly Hunt, owner of Fleur de Teas and Dragonfly Tea Company, offered her myriad gems of advice during the session, “Magic Merchandising,” at World Tea Expo on Friday, June 1.

A 25-year retail veteran, Hunt shared fun and creative tips for successful tea store merchandising and marketing, including how to best merchandise tea and tea-related products, integrate new products that compliment store environments, use space and window marketing effectively and merchandise in category areas using color schemes and product pairings to boost sales.

Focusing on pairing teas and merchandise with seasons and holidays and marketing accordingly were just some of Hunt’s many winning strategies for putting together an attractive, profitable and customer-friendly store that attracts loyal clientele.

“I’ve found what works for me is to utilize every season and opportunity to merchandise the store to the biggest deal that I can,” said Hunt.

Some of Hunt’s key tips for creative merchandising and out-of-box marketing included:

·        Figure out your store identity and merchandise and market accordingly. For example, is it a gifty store or one that focuses more on education?

·        Focus teas and related merchandise around seasons, holidays and fun themes with a special emphasis on flavor and visual appeal, including color coordinating and merchandise grouping.

·        Have a focus table in the front of your store that changes every two weeks and coordinates with the current theme, holiday and/or season you’re promoting.

·        Change out merchandise in store and window displays regularly to keep things fresh, interesting and exciting.

·        Offer plenty of grab-and-go gifts and gift baskets for holidays and special occasions to bump up sales and increase revenue.

·        Maximize your store space with fun alternative products, such as candles and spices.

·        Pay attention to tea featured in the media – if a specific tea is being touted by popular health experts, pull that tea into a display and provide educational material about it.

·        Create strong brand visibility by labeling everything in your store, including alternative merchandise.

·        Take full advantage of online tools and establish a strong social media presence. 

“As far as drawing people into the store, which is a huge piece of your merchandising, use all the online services you have available to you, such as Facebook, Twitter, the Internet and your blog and tie them all in together,” said Hunt. “For example, I’ll snap a shot of my new display and put it on my Facebook page and then if I’m running a special on a tea I’ll also include that in the same post. Really utilize those tools – they’re better than any print advertising you can get!”

Shabnam Weber, owner of The Tea Emporium, concurred with Hunt’s assertions about the marketing power of the digital world when she spoke about the importance of social media in the session, “How to Compete With the Big Guys.”

“We live in a world today where marketing budgets don’t matter anymore and that’s the beauty of what’s happening in social media right now,” said Weber. “Social media allows you to communicate on a national level with just a computer or a Smartphone. It has leveled the playing field as far as media budgets go – use it!”