Do You Want to Try a Sample?

Article by Catherine Vaught, Account Coordinator at Curb Crowser

We’ve all been there: Game face on as you tackle yet another week of grocery shopping on a bustling Sunday afternoon. Even the sample lady can’t get you to look up long enough to try XYZ product. The goal: Get out as quickly as possible with everything on your list.

That being said, in-store sampling is still one of the most effective ways to activate the senses and create memorable experiences for consumers. So, how do we convince shoppers that our sample is worth an extra minute in the store?

Answer: It’s not easy. I learned this quickly after doing sampling for two Minneapolis-based, health food start-ups. With an ever-changing, quick-paced retail space, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get eyes and ears around your product. But, identifying consumer behaviors can help us tackle the challenge of less intimidating and more successful in-store sampling experiences.

Humanize your brand. Consumers like to know the brand story and the people behind your product. Did you begin your smoothie company with a blender in your parent’s basement? Was your granola first sold at a local farmer’s market? Share your journey and talk about your passion, but keep it short and meaningful. We’re looking at you, elevator pitch.

Show interest. It’s important to start a conversation around your product and ease consumers into sampling. Ask them questions like, “What do you usually eat for breakfast?” or “What products do you clean your kitchen with?” Learn more about your shopper’s habits and then use those insights to explain how your product fits into their daily lives.

Educate lightly. Even if your product isn’t new to the marketplace, you’ve more than likely got competition. Don’t turn a consumer interaction into an extensive lesson plan, but do provide the basics. How does your product fare compared to an existing product? Consumers care less about what the benefits of the product are and more about how it benefits them.

Use props. If your product goes beyond a simple sample, show people how it’s used. Are you launching a new stain remover? Get out an old grass-stained shirt and show your magic. If you’re sampling a new snack, create a kitchen table mock-up using a tablecloth or placemats. Little details like these are more likely to stop consumers for longer than a glance.

There’s no doubt in-store sampling is still effective, as long as you’re considering the new ways consumers are engaging with brands. According to Retail Touchpoints, the sales lift for existing products sampled increased, on average, 177% on the day of the event and 57% after a 20-week period. If sampling is done in a thoughtful manner, continued growth and consumer loyalty may give your brand the boost it needs on the shelves.

Want to learn more about how Curb Crowser is making an impact on in-store experiences? We’d love to connect.