December 2010 Issue
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Recommendation

The Old v. The New

by Cynthia Fazekas

Funky new teas pique curiosiTEA

Every year the holiday season has inherent challenges, such as what to offer, how much of it to buy and what events to plan. There is also always the conflict of whether to offer the traditional versus what is novel. Should you go with the tried and true or be daring and take risks with the new and untested?

The truth is, you need both. Customers like to have the steady comfort of things they are familiar with but having new things to explore will keep them visiting your shop more frequently and perhaps have greater appeal to new customers.

If you are selling, the key is to be excited about the products. Enthusiasm is contagious and people like to get swept up in happy things. Talk about your products, vendors, and upcoming events and express why you and your staff are excited about these things. Your passion should come through and will be mirrored by your customers' response. More and more, people are seeking the story behind a product and like to have something to talk about when they buy or give gifts. Any knowledge you can share about why you chose to offer a product or some detail about its source is very interesting to the potential buyer.

Even if you are selling a long time customer favorite such as Irish Breakfast, having details about how popular it is, where the teas used to blend are grown or even some anecdote about Irish tea culture will enliven your customers’ image of the blend. Your staff should have this knowledge to share as they are emissaries of your product message.

Sometimes new products need a kick-start to get the skeptical customer to take the risk. A great story of why you chose it and description can get them over the hurdle. Be sure your team is well versed in your decision making process.

This time of year people are looking for comfort and inspiration so be sure to provide both, sprinkled with enthusiasm!