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This Tea Company Steeps Its Business in Social Media Adagio Teas integrates customer feedback into its product development as well as other aspects of its business.

By Samuel Greengard

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Selling tea over the internet isn't the simplest proposition. There's no way for online consumers to smell or taste a delicate chocolate chai or a bold pi lo chun green before they place an order. "A fair amount of guesswork is involved," admits Ilya Kreymerman, chief technology officer at Adagio Teas.

The cumulative result of Adagio's social media efforts has been steady growth in sales--up about 300 percent since 2004--as well as dramatic reductions in advertising costs.

But the folks at the 13-year-old company, which operates online and from three stores in the Chicago area, don't like to leave their internet customers guessing. Instead, Adagio's patrons are encouraged to offer recommendations through Facebook, Twitter and Google+. And the conversation doesn't end there. Adagio is on the leading edge of a movement toward extracting actionable data from the social media stream, cultivating insights about products and trends from its robust customer community.

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