A cup of matcha tea madam?
Rituals is a chain in the UK that sells bath and beauty products.
The stores are nicely designed, everything smells pleasant and they have a broad range to suit all tastes.
And they offer you a free cup of matcha tea when you enter their stores.
Is this just because they’re a friendly bunch?
Possibly, but unlikely.
The reason they do it is because it makes business sense:
1. It gets you to spend more time in their stores than you might have done.
Tea is hot so unless you’re a masochist it’s going to take you about 5 minutes to drink it. This increases the chance something you like will catch your eye and you’ll end up making an impulse purchase.
2. It makes the store more memorable because it’s an unusual experience.
The human brain is a pattern making machine which clubs similar looking and feeling experiences together. Something that doesn’t quite fit the pattern stands out and is therefore more likely to be remembered because it’s processed as ‘new’ information.
3. It’s a subtle way to invoke the law of reciprocity.
This is one of the six levers of persuasion examined by Dr. Robert Cialdini in his excellent book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It’s the idea that as a species we have evolved to return favours. If someone gives you something, you feel duty bound to give them something in return. The simple act of a small but free tea makes you more likely to want to repay the favour by making an in-store purchase.
This tea offering tactic is a great example of service design. This is the practice of looking carefully at each step of the customer service experience to shape better outcomes for your business.
Have you noticed any similar tactics in action? Leave a comment below.
If you’re interested to learn more then check out our course on service design which offers a step-by-step guide to creating the ultimate service experience.