This year’s Black Friday/ Cyber Monday sale seems all about the pre-sale for Western puerh vendors. This is likely due to the absolute strength of Yunnan Sourcing in the Western puerh market saying, It doesn’t have to be all out craziness on one weekend of the year. No thanks. We’ll go first and get this out of the way. And so they did a few weeks back and it was good (and there will be more to come)! And others followed suite…
The Essence of Tea released a few tongs of 2009 Mr Feng BWQ, an Autumn drinker Bangwei that went for $82.00 for 357g cake, a few weeks ago. This one didn’t last until the sale. Bitterleaf Teas upped the ante for there annual pre- Black Friday sale, their Anniversary sale, by offering more substantial discount than normal with a tiered sales promotion with some actual discount, some promotional gifts, and some free tea goodies. It looked like you can add discount codes on top of the sale as well. Tea Urchin has a 15% off all tea orders on now that runs until the end of the month. I’m already declaring this the best puerh sale of Black Friday and the actual sale is two weeks away!
white2tea decided to forgo tradition and not release their Autumnal puerh cakes on Black Friday- they instead released them a few days ago. They did so with a similar email marketing campaign that brought them much praise and, likely, success in their early spring release. I always consider their annual Halloween promotion their pre-sale hype marketing thing over the last few years. This year for white2tea it seems like they will have four major sheng puerh releases throughout the 2019 season. One quick out of the gate early Spring release of most of their 2019 Spring line up, one Summer release of gimmicky marketing limited quantity Spring cakes, one Autumnal puerh pre-Black Friday release of most of their Autumnal puerh cakes, and then…. I predict (just like their summer release) a Black Friday release of gimmicky marketing limited quantity Autumn cakes.
It actually makes good marketing sense to release the sheng puerh in these patterned waves because there are going to be some people that simply can’t wait for a promotion or free shipping and that absolutely must buy now. Then there are going to be other buyers who as soon as someone whispers… sale (although white2tea never actually reduces prices) … or … limited release… they will without much thought fill the cart. Which one are you???
Paul is the master of Black Friday marketing spectacle and this year I think it will be bigger and bolder than last year. The big question is whether he will do another limited Snoozefest cake. white2tea has only ever released the same cake 3 years in a row a few times and never has Paul released the same cake 4 years in a row. Last year he released 2 limited releases 2018 whtite2tea Tunji and 2018 white2tea Snoozefest (I picked up some Snoozefest last year and came to the conclusion that it Is A Gift). I think that Paul will probably do 3 or 4 limited sheng releases this Black Friday. I’m not sure if the white2tea Black Friday brand is now intertwined with the Snoozefest release but it’s been done before and I think he might just do a different budget limited cake, a middle range limited and a premium limited.
I just had a peak at what white2tea has been doing on social media and I wonder if he is hinting at releasing a 2019 We Go High to follow up the popular 2016. Paul was point on with the political references in 2016 and very forward thinking there. You may know that Paul often names his blends hip hop song titles. It seemed that naming his 2016 cake We Go High was prophetic when Chance the Rapper dropped a song with the same namesake this summer.
With a bit of the unpredictable, I also predict that white2tea will use the same formula of offering free shipping, bracketed or tiered promotions- a tote bag or what not, an free hunagpian X-mas cake from the tea club, ect., with the typical caveat of not offering a discount in price. Anyways, that’s my prediction of the way it will go down so we will see.
In the end you can’t help but think that the sales actually offered on the day won’t top the ones offered here before. I think you can point to YS in releasing the market pressure out of Black Friday but it’s just as likely that others felt they would be at an advantage by doing a bit of the same. Was it a reaction or the plan all along? We will never know. There is only so much noise you can create on the biggest shopping day of the year. Looks like my prediction that 2019 Black Friday will be bigger than ever was wrong… or was it…. time will tell but I am convinced now that this 2019 Black Friday is all about the pre-sale ( I say this as Yunnan Sourcing just drops another 15% off on all of us).