Dutch Chinese established a Tea Online Shop- Teasenz

Wenzhuo Liu

Sam Lin, a Dutch Chinese born in Wenzhou, worked as a financial advisor in Amsterdam. Later, he moved to Shenzhen, China with his wife and worked as a project and digital marketing manager. Out of a desire to try, he established the Teasenz online tea shop in 2012. By applying his knowledge in data analysis and online marketing accumulated through his career, his revenue increased rapidly. In 2014, he quit his job and decided to manage his business on a full-time basis. When I asked about some advice for Chinese tea companies to expand abroad, Sam says “Given the large size of the Chinese tea market, I think most tea companies aren’t interested in expanding abroad. However, if they do decide to sell to international markets I advise them to build a professional team, which can bridge differences in culture, language, and understand local preferences.”

At the age of 4, Sam immigrated to the Netherlands with his parents from Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China. He and his wife, an architect, lived in Shenzhen in 2011 and had the opportunity to visit the local tea market. He was surprised to find that there were so many types of leaf teas, so he bought a covered bowl and began to try tea tasting. Gradually, he fell in love with drinking tea. At the end of 2012, out of curiosity or a desire to try and play, he established an online tea sales website called Teasenz for the international market, recommend high-quality tea products from China to the international market, which was able to apply the experience he learned as an online marketing manager in Shenzhen. Sales increased rapidly and his income stabilized. After 2014, he began working full-time for his sales website.

It has been observed that many competitors started from social media, but Sam did not choose to appear in public or create a “personality” image as a tea master. He did not attract website traffic by writing blogs or running social media accounts, but instead invested more energy in online search market research. By reviewing search engine data, as well as reading discussions on tea forums and groups, Sam can understand what types of tea international customers search for online and what keywords they typically enter. He then conduct data analysis to optimize his product descriptions. It is ideal to ensure that his product can rank high in various search engines and appear on the first page, which has attracted a large number of website visitors.

From the tea companies that ship tea international from China, Sam observed that many companies have failed after a while, and it is important to identify the international market positioning. While Chinese tea brands are developing internationally, according to Sam’s analysis, it is necessary to establish a professional team specifically targeting foreign markets. The team mainly promotes the international market, and such a team is easy to form. For example, hiring local people from various countries to serve as customer service, language and cultural advantages can manage tasks such as writing descriptions and launching products. Sam has a small team in Shenzhen, consisting of three full-time employees, one tea artist, one tea evaluator, and one office staff. Tea artist and tea evaluator will recommend tea products of different quality levels to him, and generally, they will ultimately choose the middle quality grade. Some international customers may report to them that high-end green tea has a weak taste and they do not know how to drink it. So when selecting products, the team will tend to prefer those with strong aroma and taste, and good appearance, but good taste is the most important. Different tea products also need to have significant differences in taste, allowing beginners to easily taste the differences.

Sam and his wife currently reside in the Netherlands. In the future, he plans to open a tea studio for office use in Amsterdam and build a small team of 5 employees, mainly responsible for social media promotion such as video shooting. We will also organize some offline tea tasting activities, which can go from online to offline and directly interact with customers. We need a tea room to sit down and chat with tea. The local tea consumption market in the Netherlands is relatively small in Europe, but Amsterdam is a relatively open city, and many people still want to try new things. With tea bags becoming less popular, traditional loose leaf tea is rapidly developing. Sam found that more Dutch customers came to inquire curiously, which also gave him some impetus for his Dutch development plan and spread tea culture.

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