Tealive is well on its way to hitting 1,000 stores by 2024 as it recently opened its 800th store in Malaysia, which is a drive-thru outlet at Ikano Centres Batu Kawan. There are plans to open nine more drive-thru outlets within the next 12 months to add to the current 14, according to Loob Holding's chief marketing and digital officer, Ng Yau Chuan.
It is also accelerating its digitalising process for customer convenience to enhance the various cashless and contactless ordering channels, including scan to order, order ahead and drive-in or pick-up models across the store network. Ng, who joined the team in May this year, said Tealive's growth plans would continue to be driven by strong brand loyalty and continued focus on customer convenience and digital strategy.
The drive-thru at Batu Kawan showcases Tealive's proof of pushing for customer convenience and experience as Ng said it wants to continue reaching out to Malaysians everywhere. A+M has reached out to Tealive for additional information.
Tealive joins brands including KFC, A&W and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to be part of the Ikano Centres Batu Kawan's F&B drive-thru concept. The mall expanded its Batu Kawan mixed-use development in March this year by introducing new essential offers to cater to the everyday needs to the community. Tenancy agreements were signed with brands including Tunas Manja Group and MR D.I.Y., with both scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of the year.
Separately, bubble tea has become a popular drink among Southeast Asian consumers, with bubble tea lovers in the region spending US$3.66 billion a year on the beverage and similar new drinks, according to a study by Momentum Works and qlub. The industry's annual turnover in Malaysia is US$330 million and the market has even reached US$20 billion in China.
Bubble tea is more than a consumer sensation, the report said, as F&B brands and tech players are also riding on the bandwagon, with Grab dishing out bubble tea offers and Shopee holding a boba festival. McDonald's even had a brown sugar boba McFlurry.
While Ng declined to share the monetary value of Tealive's marketing budget, he told A+M in a separate conversation that Tealive is spending the budget on multiple digital touchpoints to deliver convenience, customisation, and value to consumers. When asked if marketing is even important for bubble tea or is the demand there without even marketing, Ng explained that marketing's real purpose is to ensure the customer experience is authentic, enjoyable, and relevant to their lifestyles.
"And we have to ensure that customers feel this way throughout all our touchpoints, from social media, to word-of-mouth, to the tearistas who serve you, to the bright breakthrough colours of our cups," he added. To keep the brand fresh, Tealive is always searching for newer, better ingredients and innovating unique, flavourful drinks for its customers. "Thus, our way of keeping our brand fresh is our willingness to break through into new flavours constantly," Ng said. This is evident in its Aren Palm Sugar Series which rolled out in the Philippines earlier this year as part of its entry into the market.
Ng believes that bubble tea drinks are both loyal and experimental. "Our brand receives much support because of our long-term commitment to quality. At the same time, our constant innovation with unique, flavourful drinks provides delightful reasons to break out of our usual daily routines and try something new," he said.
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