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2007 Best Merchandising Ideas: Blooming Teas.

The market for gourmet blooming teas is hotter than ever right now, with customers turning to these beautiful teas to enjoy at home and to give as gifts. When it comes to deciding which blooming tea to carry in your store, it's important to look for only the highest-quality tea and blossoms. Before brewing, make sure each blossom is individually packaged, and preferably vacuum-sealed to ensure freshness. Next, place the blossom in a clear teapot and add boiling water. You'll want to see that the floral designs have been carefully sewn together and don't fall apart, and that the flowers are large and full of color.

Perhaps the most important factor in choosing a blooming tea is the tea itself, and you should look for a brand that only uses full-length leaves that have been evenly cut. One of the most sought-after teas is Silver Needle White Tea, a rare high-quality tea grown in China. Not only does this tea offer an outstanding taste, the pale color of its brew is ideal for blooming teas because even when fully steeped, you still have a clear view of the blossom. It's also important to find a brand that carries a full line of gift sets and glassware to go with the blooming teas, because this will be a big part of initial sales as well as add-on sales later.

DisplaySetting up an attractive display is easy with blooming teas, because their natural beauty will draw customers without any effort. Be sure to choose blooming tea products with attractive packaging, preferably brands that feature an image of the actual tea on the box. Brands with bright, colorful labeling are the most eye-catching, and will complement the intricate floral designs of the blooming tea.

Placing teapots and cups on top of their attractive boxes will give customers a firsthand look at the products while drawing attention to each intricate design. Brands that offer clear glass teapots and cups with large viewing areas are ideal so that the beauty of the blooming tea can be seen in full detail. Customers should also be able to see the blooming teas before they have bloomed to give them a better idea of the process.

It helps to have a fully bloomed tea in a teapot as part of your display, and you may even want to feature different blooming teas throughout the day. Be sure to choose a brand of tea products that offers a wide selection of blooming teas and glassware; that way you can show how the different teas will look with different glassware. And, of course, don't forget to cross-merchandise other tea-related accessories like water boilers and warmers, teakettles, demitasse spoons and honey jars.

PromotionWhen deciding which blooming tea products are right for you, be sure to consider promotional materials that will help your business succeed. Look for brands that offer point-of-sale materials like signs, graphics, DVD demonstrations and training guides to help your staff make the most of your display. A company that will work directly with you to help your business promote blooming teas is also a huge plus.

Promoting your selection of blooming teas depends largely on up-close-and-personal experiences for your customers. Be sure to place your materials in a location where they'll be highly visible for passing customers. Since blooming teas offer a stunning visual experience, they are self-promoting when placed in high-traffic areas. That's why it's important to choose a brand that offers point-of-sale materials that are eye-catching, with original artwork and branding that will make a lasting impression on customers.

In Bloom DemonstrationIn addition to setting up an attractive display and prominently placing your promo materials, it helps to perform product demos during your peak business hours. Set up a display in a high-traffic area of your store and brew one or more of your blooming teas for an In Bloom Demonstration. If your vendor has provided a DVD, you'll want to run this on a loop near the display, so even customers that can't stop and watch one of the blooming teas open can see how the process takes place.

To attract attention and stop people in their tracks, place a blossom in a clear teapot and add boiling water. While the tea slowly opens and reveals the beautiful design of flowers, share information about the tea with customers, and answer any questions they might have. For blooming teas that contain Silver Needle White Tea leaves, you can let your customers know that this rare brew actually contains more antioxidants and less caffeine than any other kind of tea.

You'll also want to pass around the unopened blossoms to show how they are sewn together and also let customers see the quality of the tea leaves. Once fully steeped, pass out samples of the brewed tea to show that blooming teas are not only gorgeous and healthy, they will delight the palate, as well. With a great display, promo materials and periodic demonstrations, your store can turn blooming teas into big business.

On The Web Blooming Teas FAQ Guide
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Publication:Gourmet Retailer
Date:Aug 1, 2007
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