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.
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.