In Australia, especially Melbourne, coffee culture is developing, and Melbourne was chosen to the coffee city of the world (Siebert 2014). However, the tea specialty store, T2 became successful in Australia. T2 set up from 1996 in Fitzroy, Melbourne. There is variety of flavoured teas such as Melbourne Breakfast which was created in the light of Melbournians (O’Brien 2012). Also, they have been introducing well-designed new tea goods to customers. Their products are known for authentic and premium quality among tea lovers. In 2013, Unilever which is one of the biggest tea makers in the world acquired T2 and Unilever introduced T2 to other countries such as London (Sue 2014). Currently T2 has about 65 stores in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the US (Sue 2016). T2 attracts consumers and built brand awareness in the market they expanded. The one of the way to attract customers and increase brand awareness is devising their distribution channel. Their style of distribution is own stores, online and retail intermediaries.
Own retail stores
First, they started with their own retail stores and have been generating brand awareness. The retail store channel plays the key role which controls vital communications with customers such as developing knowledge about products and purchasing the goods. Also, they offer unique experiences to consumers in the store. For example, there are more opportunities to acknowledge their products well to customers and cross-sell more products based on choices of customers in the store (Ghatak & Sachet 2011, pp.31).
Therefore, it is always influential to keep consumers interacted with this hands on experience on their products. T2 stores are nicely decorated and it welcomes all customers. They characterise various tables by providing platters with a tiny sample of the tea leaves and tea tastings. Also sometimes T2 staffs demonstrate how to make tea and they recommend their best seasonal products (Stafford 2013). Consumers are able to smell and taste the tea they are interested before they purchase. Hence, this unique customer experience in the store leads to the purchase of T2 products with lots of conviction.
After T2 became popular, they created the website and started online business services in 2004 (Tea Too Pty Ltd. 2016). When customers start to purchase goods via online services, they have an inclination to choose the online service which is attached to their favourite retail stores. In the beginning, customers are not familiar with the online system and have some doubts about the products and service, but they would be getting used to it and move to the online distribution channel from their favourite retail store. Also, online distribution channel is more easily accessible so customers might prefer to shop in online store (Melis et al. p.284). Therefore, online services that T2 introduced in 2004 have helped to make their products more accessible to customers who have already shopped in retail stores before.
Recently, consumers are able to purchase T2 products in retail intermediaries such as department stores. For instance, David Jones which is one of the biggest department stores in Australia sells the range of T2 products. This makes much easier for customers to access their products in different locations. Also, department store has luxury, unique, differentiation and a top-class shop experience for customers (Medina 2010). Therefore, selling T2 products in department stores sustains brand value.
In addition, T2 serves their products to restaurants, cafes, hotels, cultural events, corporate clients and so on (Sue 2016). They have been engaging with many different business partners to share their flavoured tea and their products have become more familiar with consumers.
In conclusion, T2 provides their products via number of distribution channels. They started from own retail stores and now take advantage of online services, department store, restaurants and so on. Consequently, there are more places to purchase and try T2 products for consumers and this leads to the success of T2.
By Shoko Kobayashi (211723445, skobaya)
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