Ximending is the heart of Taipei’s urban youth vibe. Everything new, hip or cool can be found here. There is an overabundance of all sorts of shops selling the latest clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, shoes – everything a hipster could want. This results in so many brightly lit store signs, that they just meld together. For an occasional visitor it’s a mish mash of colour – nothing really stands out. Except this:
At the first glance, I just glazed over the sign, but as soon as my brain registered what it said, I turned back. Simply “Come Buy”. No flashy lights, no banner ads, no loud music – just a simple imperative to walk over, hand them your money, and get something. Talk about barebones marketing! So of course, I had to go over and see.
Turns out, “Comebuy” is a tea shop. Not only are they in Taiwan, but all over Asia, America and Europe. Their stated goal is to be the “Eastern Starbucks”, and so far, they seem to be winning. Real winning, not the Charlie Sheen kind.
There is nothing spectacular or hugely different about Comebuy. They offers the same range of tea and tea based drinks available at any 2 bit tea shop in Taiwan. So why the international success?
Besides smart marketing, and correct timing, I can’t help but wonder if the name has something to do with it. In a country where business names run along the lines of “Happy Joy Dreamtime” or “Spring Flower Heart”, “Comebuy” is much more forceful and compelling. It’s pretty much the only reason I walked over in an area teeming with stores. They command you to get your ass over and buy something.
If it works, then I should call my blog “Read This”. Readership of 100 000 overnight? I’ll take that! Maybe even start a restaurant called “Eat Here”.
In any case, Comebuy is kicking ass and taking names all over the world. For them, the name’s a self fulfilling prophecy – people are coming to buy.