I was making lunches for kids the other morning and as I was getting food out of Tupperware containers, it hit me: I’ve owned those containers since the late ’70s or early ’80s (ok my mother owned them and I then “took possession” as you do)! Whoa! For thirty-odd years, those Tupperware containers have chilled, stored and carried food for me and my family, they’ve hunkered down in the freezer at times, and they’ve knocked around in the school bags and sports bags of my three kids. And here they are, still going strong. Now THAT is quality. Looking around my kitchen, there’s not much else that has persevered for that long.
It got me thinking. I’m not much of a cook – I don’t make dinner (much!), I make bookings – but even I know the brand name Tupperware. How is it that a plastic container company has become a household name?! As I thought about it, I realised how smart Tupperware has been as a business. Here are 4 lessons we can learn from Tupperware:
1. Product quality is everything. Tupperware isn’t cheap – it never has been. How do you convince people to spend a lot of money on your product (in this case, a plastic item), even though there are tons on cheaper competitors in the market? You stand by its quality. People are willing to spend more if they know it will go the distance so you need to convince them it’s the only one they need – that this purchase is FOR LIFE. Sound dramatic? Not to Tupperware – they offer a life-time guarantee on their products. How’s that for confidence?! You can see why consumers now share their confidence (and why most of us have drawers filled with the stuff!).
2. People buy from people they trust. Most people will consider buying a product if they’ve heard a friend raving about it. Word of mouth is still the strongest form of marketing. It makes perfect sense – you trust your friends, you trust their judgement. So when a mate invites you to come round for a night of fun and to check out some good kitchenware, you go into it with an open mind (and potentially an open wallet). Tupperware’s party plans are a stroke of genius – it means you have friends buying off friends, so the trust and credibility is already there. And it gets friends marketing directly to their network, as they gather a group big enough for a fun night in. Tupperware were into social networking waaaay before Facebook was on the scene! (truth from male perspective: I did go to a tupperware party once as my mates wife put it on and he wanted “support” – it was real fun actually, truly!)…
3. Tupperware make the sales process fun. A bunch of friends, some nibbles, good wine and laughter and you have the recipe for a great customer experience. And what comes from a great customer experience? Sales. When people are having fun, they’re more likely to buy. Even if you know you can perhaps get a better deal elsewhere, you’re happy to pay a premium for a fun night out, in the same way that you’re willing to pay more for a product if the sales assistant has been over-and-beyond helpful or knowledgeable.
4. They’ve bought excitement to a boring product. Let’s face it, buying plastic containers for lunch and leftovers is hardly exciting. It’s right up there with restocking the toilet-roll holder and making a bed. Boring. Mundane. Domestic. But Tupperware have done pretty well to keep their offering fresh. Each season they offer new products, new designs, new colours, new styles. They’ve branched out into new lines, including utensils, children’s ranges, sunglasses holders and party products. They’re innovative with their products. Best of all, they continue to do well at offering a solution. Need to organise your pantry? Keep your flour in one place? Stack your seasonings? Tupperware will help.
Who would have thought businesses could learn so much from a plastic-container company! Go, Tupperware! (Personally, I hope to be writing posts like this in the future about our own successful plastics company, NZ’s Sistema, which is slowly taking over the nation!).