How to Merchandise Tea and Spa Drinks Intentionally

Pouring healthy tea
See how you can merchandise your tea and spa drinks.
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You don’t have to be a tea connoisseur to know that a freshly brewed cup is the perfect complement to a rejuvenating spa treatment. Not only does it enable the customer to feel pampered and relaxed, but it can tie into a selected service and promote related health benefits, further enhancing their visit.

Spas that also sell tea and related accessories can further maximize the customer experience by helping recreate these moments back at home. To help stave off winter’s chill this year, consider these merchandising tips from tea makers and day spas in the know.

Supplier Support & Treatment Tie-ins

When choosing which tea brands to stock, spas should look for partners that offer a wide range of supportive services. For instance, The Republic of Tea provides tea samples and educational materials, while Tea Forté supplies free presentation items and teaware for spas setting up a tea bar. Other vendors like The Tea Spot, which produces whole-leaf teas for private label, touts’ exclusive benefits for its wholesale customers such as reduced pricing, display options, custom menus and custom labels. In addition, a monthly promotional mailer featuring group tea discounts is distributed to wholesalers only. Customers that spend $300 on The Tea Sport’s wholesale website are also entitled to free shipping. “We really do try and give as much as we can to our wholesale spa partners,” says Madison Heim, customer experience manager.

Tea selections need not only focus on what to carry at retail, but what to incorporate into spa treatment menus. “We have seen success when the spa is creative with how tea can be used in services, as well as being served to guests,” notes Kristina Tucker, minister of enlightenment and commerce for The Republic of Tea. Treatments that include tea samples are one way to highlight this connection.

Merchandising Done Right

Selling packaged tea and tea-related accessories in-spa requires a thoughtful approach to merchandising for effective sell-through. Tucker recommends selecting blends that specifically relate to the spa experience. “Seek flavors like cucumber mint or organic turmeric ginger green that complement the values of your spa,” she offers. Allison DiCarlo, on-premise manager for Tea Forté, suggests showcasing teas in the company’s presentation cases, trays and teaware as a visual cue for encouraging purchases.

Because the educational component is key to communicating the health advantages of different tea varieties, spas that train their staff to impart this information to their customers can serve as a resourceful destination. “I think it’s helpful to focus on not just serving the tea, but as it’s being served, explaining why the tea is so beneficial,” offers Heim. “Our customers enjoy our tea not only because it’s delicious, but it serves a purpose and looks amazing on the shelf.” Noteworthy selections from The Tea Spot’s assortment are Turmeric Tonic (for joint inflammation), Lights Out (for sleep-related issues), Desert Sage (for digestive issues) and Morning Mojo (for a black tea burst of energy).

Related: Helpful Hydration: Ayurvedic Spa Drinks

Seasonal Picks

With the arrival of the new year and resolution-making focused on health and wellness, spas have an opportunity to entice their customers with a new crop of tea flavors and teaware. Tea Forté is promoting its Frank Lloyd Wright Collection, featuring classic flavors and spiced blends, along with its Fiore Stone Blue Teapot and Steeping Cup.

Carrying over from the holiday season is The Republic of Tea’s Mulled Apple Spice and Chocolate Babka herbal teas. “Last winter, we launched Stressless Wintermint with ashwagandha, peppermint and centering lemon balm to keep the holiday stress at bay,” says Tucker. For customers pining for scents of the season, The Tea Spot has responded with cinnamon spice tea. “We were able to create a blend that combines cinnamon, rooibos, tangy apple bits, zesty orange peel, cinnamon flavor and a hint of clove to give you a truly warming experience,” says Heim.

Success Stories

Spas with a robust beverage program, either as a complementary service, a tie-in to their treatment menu or available for purchase at retail, can satisfy customers’ focus on hydration and its overall wellness benefits. At Special Effects Salon + Tea in Greenport, N.Y., customers receive a freshly brewed cup of tea during their visit. “All clients have the option of enjoying our full afternoon tea service, scheduled either before or after their salon/spa services,” says Victoria Schade, a licensed esthetician at the four-year-old shop. This winter, Special Effects will promote its hot cinnamon spice tea and homemade chai tea latte, which can be enhanced with housemade pumpkin syrup.

Upstate in Saratoga and Albany, N.Y., visitors to Complexions Day Spa can relax and unwind with a beverage that rotates with the seasons. Past flavors included cranberry tea with apple juice and cinnamon. In recent years, the spa, which has been in business since 1987, worked with a master tea blender to create its signature blend based on Ayurvedic beliefs. “It is blended to have an effect on the sympathetic nervous system and calm the guest before they begin their services,” says owner Denise Dubois. This tea is sold in two sizes of loose-leaf tin bins and is one of the spa’s most popular retail items to date. Along with Complexions’ proprietary blend, the spa carries a mushroom-infused tea, as well as tea diffusers, steeping mugs and mugs, all of which are favorite gift items.

Tea isn’t the only beverage that finds favor with Complexions’ customers. On the spa menu, detoxifying treatments include a detox juice shot, made with organic apple cider vinegar, papaya pineapple and aloe vera coconut water. To help launch the Dubois Beauty skin care line, Complexions recently partnered with a local smoothie company to create a blend that benefits the hands, skin and nails. Customers had a chance to taste test two flavors and vote for their favorite smoothie. The winner was announced at a second event and generated a lot of beverage buzz at the spa. “Our clients loved it,” enthused Dubois.

Pamela Brill is a writer based in Northport, New York.

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