In this post, I want to highlight something that Foojoy, a brand of tea widely available in Asian stores, is doing that I think is a wonderful idea that can help people to learn more about tea, and that is also a good marketing decision. If you are a loose tea enthusiast, perhaps tempted to skip over this post, I want to ask you to bear with me on this one, as I conclude this post by describing how this simple offer of free tea bags might actually benefit loose tea culture in the long-run.
The following image, from Foojoy's website, shows a promotion that the company is running:
The idea is simple: buy a box of 100 tea bags, and you will receive a sampler of 18 tea bags, of 6 different types. I think this is a great idea, both for helping people to learn more about tea, and for the company promoting their own teas.
The samples help people to discover more of a company's product:
On a very basic level, the free samples included in the box will help Foojoy by helping people discover new teas that they might not already buy. This could increase the sales for the company in a number of different ways.
For example, someone may be used to buying Foojoy's plain green tea, but might sample their Lungching (dragon well) green tea (which, incidentally, has very favorable ratings on RateTea, surprisingly high for such simple tea bags) and might be converted to buying this slightly higher-priced product. Another way the samples could help is by making it more likely that someone would discover a new favorite tea, one that they would buy more of. It could also increase customer loyalty, as a customer realizes that they like many of Foojoy's teas, not just one.
The samples help people to learn more about tea in general:
I think that one of the best ways to learn about tea is by sampling different types of tea. One reason I personally like this promotion, offering free tea samples, is that it is a promotion that helps the person buying the box of tea to become more knowledgeable about tea. Furthermore, rather than just including one tea bag of each type, Foojoy includes three tea bags. This allows the person to experiment with brewing, and/or share a tea bag with a friend.
This promotion makes the product more attractive on the shelf:
One reason I think this promotion is such a great business decision is that it's offering something additional that will make it more likely for people to purchase the product. This could draw in new customers who have not purchased Foojoy tea before, such as a casual tea drinker, who is visiting a Chinese grocery store for the first time, and is unfamiliar with the brands of tea for sale in this store. This sort of promotion is also likely to appeal to people who enjoy sampling different teas, and these are ultimately the people companies would do well to draw in as customers, because they are most likely to spread the word about the company's products.
The offering of samples shows business confidence:
I also think that the offering of free samples shows business confidence. Companies that sell an inferior product generally will not benefit from samples, because people will try them and not like them; these companies must rely on other types of marketing to sell their low quality product.
When a tea company goes out of their way (incurring some additional up-front costs) to offer samples, it makes it more likely for me to believe that the company knows that their teas are high quality.
For the loose tea enthusiasts:
For those of you who are die-hard loose tea enthusiasts, I want to point out that Foojoy also sells loose-leaf teas, including some of very high quality. A promotion like this, which encourages people to try new types of tea, may not directly promote loose tea drinking, but I think that it ultimately will help prod people in the direction of exploring tea more, which usually leads in the long-run to people exploring loose-leaf tea. By offering both a more inexpensive line of loose-leaf teas, as well as a higher-priced line of artisan teas, Foojoy is not only giving people the option of moving into loose tea, but is poised to benefit as their customers make this transition.
What do you think?
Do you think that this promotion is a good business decision by Foojoy? Do you agree with my reasoning given here? Have you seen other, similar promotions, offered by other companies?