Jan 5th 2012 Issue
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Changes to Our New Store

Chris Bourgea - Jan 5th 2012

Media Wall

Tea to Go Menu

Merchandise Display

We've focused on three main changes:

  • Tea Merchandise
  • Blending
  • Cups2go
  • Tea Merchandise
    When we opened Naperville in late 2010, we had over 200 teas out for people to purchase and enjoy. We built a store that was aimed at creating the ultimate tea experience. The whole 80/20 rule comes into play here: having our teas on the wall is great for the customer, but is expensive and forces you to have less merchandise on display. Since only about 20% of the teas were really popular we decided to narrow the collection to 100. This allows us to still sell all of the popular teas, but also allows us to show off more of the Adagio merchandise. Since we cup the teas for the customer before they buy and the customer doesn’t make a purchasing decision based solely off of name and appearance, the popular teas in store aren’t exactly the same as online. I’m aiming for two goals from this change. The first is to increase the average ticket while the number of tickets stays the same or increases. The other goal is to decrease how overwhelmed the customer feels when they walk into our store. Currently when customers walk into our stores they are usually overwhelmed by the selection and, even with help from a tea consultant, they’re still clueless where to begin. If one customer leaves because they feel overwhelmed and didn't know where to start, then we’ve failed at what we’re trying to accomplish. Now when a customer walks in and asks, “Can I have a peach tea?,” we don’t have 5 different types to offer them. By offering a more approachable selection we’re able to cup more teas with customers and ultimately more happy customers.

    When we opened our first store we wanted to create an environment that felt like the playground of tea and let customers do whatever they wanted with the leaf. The problem we ran into is that not many customers wanted to be empowered to make their own blends or their own cup of tea. We had hoped that people would create a blend they loved and would keep coming back to purchase that blend and the same went for cups of tea2go. This wasn’t completely unsuccessful, but it certainly didn’t take off as expected, and the amount of time we spent blending with customers didn’t turn out to be profitable. What we realized is that the customer would rather purchase a blend that WE’VE created for them to enjoy. The customer doesn’t want to spend an hour trying to figure out what teas might blend well together. The blending classes we offered were extremely popular and we’ll continue of offer them, but we'll take a step back from blending during open hours. To counter the issue of customers not wanting to make custom blends, we launched a line of blends called "Adagio for Life" and they’ve been popular thus far. We’re hoping to launch other lines of blends in early 2012.

    After noticing that the customer doesn’t want to make their own blends, it's no surprise that the customer didn’t want to make a cup of tea2go themselves. We’ve decided to move our tea bar from the sales floor to behind the counter so only employees can use it. We also decided to add a Trifecta to our tea bar that allows us to make extremely unique cups of tea. We’re currently the only tea company and second company of any kind in Chicago to use one. Something new we’re offering is $1 off of any cup of tea2go for customers who share on Facebook or Twitter. I’ll keep you posted on the success of this endeavor. We still have flat prices for all teas in store: $2.45 for any 12oz and $3.95 for any 20oz hot tea.

    Adagio Teas