What can you learn about marketing from Tapioca Express?

When my friend Kiruba was here for a few days last week, we went around several places that he wanted to see. At the end of the day, we wanted to stop for a drink. Kiruba does not drink coffee or tea and I don’t drink beer – so we had to settle for something different. So I chose to take him to a place where he might not have been – to a tiny joint called Tapioca Express in Cupertino, Bay Area, California.

While Tapioca Express may be a small joint, that has not stopped them for making the most of whatever they have when it comes to marketing.

Note: You can read more about Tapioca here. They have different variations of drinks based on Tapioca. In here, the drinks were smoothie-based with different kinds of fruit flavors. Price per drink was around $4.00.

Let’s dive into what we can learn about marketing from Tapioca Express:

1. Positioning

Right from the get go (starting with the name – Tapioca Express) the positioning is clear. Their specialty are the following – tea, coffee, snow bubble and juice. It is very clear for anyone reading that board.

2. The hook

Even before you walk in, there is an offer with a free cup of tea when you buy a Bento Box. That’s a sweet deal for someone who is deciding whether to go for take-out-lunch from this place. For those who are into details, you will also notice that there is a “catch all” option. Just in case you don’t like Oolong Tea, they will give a $1.00 off on any other drink of your choice. With this, they have a deal for almost anyone.

3. The second hook

Right at the counter, there is another (second) hook – again talking about the Bento Box. This time they say that the Bento Box is $6.99 and there is a free tea worth $3.00 – show that the deal is indeed sweet.

4. Advertising

Right when you are at the counter, there is a TV display with a running set of advertisements on the various offerings at the store. Each advertisement is clear with a photo of the dish and a name.

5. New Product Introduction

There is a big display of their new offering – bold an beautiful – it’s like another well-designed advertisement for – Try Tapex “New” Blend Yogurt Frost!

6. Upsell

For a $.50 more, you can supersize your order. Watch the image as they show the comparison between the standard option and the supersize option. It seems like a no-brainer deal.

7. Merchandising

You order a drink and the cashier shows you the choice of pearls we have. The entire arrangement is an eye candy making you feel like you need to come back again to try some of those other pearls.

and lastly,

8. Loyalty Program

You can become a VIP Member (didn’t check the price) and for an entire year, you can get 10% off on all your purchases. Definitely good for repeat visitors.

Over to you:

Have you seen any small business using marketing techniques that are worth a mention? Please share in the comments section.