A Beginners Guide To In-Store Sampling

When you have a business producing food or drinks, the proof is in the tasting. If you can find a way to get potential customers to taste your products, you will find your sales start climbing. But how do you do that? You can’t exactly go into people’s houses and offer them a sample! So instead, you invest in something called in-store sampling. Working with retailers who sell your products, you arrange to provide their customers with free samples while they shop, so they can taste it for themselves and fall in love.

Brand Ambassador in-store sampling

Fizz Experience brand ambassador sampling for brand

 

What Is In-Store Sampling?

In-store sampling very much does what it says on the tin. Retailers allow customers to try and taste their products in-store, without having to commit to buying them first. The most common products for this are food and drinks, but other types of products can be demonstrated in-store as well, like cleaning products, or even household gadget. Stalls are set up within a retail environment, branded with a specific product, and employees offer free samples to shoppers throughout opening hours. Brand ambassadors talk with shoppers, gather feedback, provide information, and showcase the product, to engage the customer to purchase.

It sounds simple when we put it like that, but there’s a lot of science that goes into making in-store sampling so effective.

How Do I Start In-Store Sampling?

In-store sampling is one of those things that, once you’ve done it once, you will be hooked on. The results speak for themselves. But getting started is the hardest part, so let’s look at the two most common approaches you could take:

  • The DIY approach: Bear in mind though that this means you will need to designate several employees to take on this role for your business. You will then need to provide them with extensive training on how to prep, set up and carry out in-store demos safely and effectively, this includes considering things like food hygiene – since it’s your responsibility to ensure customers are safe and that you comply with food hygiene standards. Sales training is also advisable, as well as making sure all employees are briefed on the goals of your campaign and what they need to do to achieve them. You will also need to think about how you want to present your sampling activity, and there could be an upfront investment to purchase the correct sampling units, promotional point of sale and equipment.
  • Bring in an expert: If you don’t have the staff or resources to commit to handling sampling yourself, you can bring in an expert. Experiential marketing companies like us are perfectly positioned to provide you with everything you need to put on a fantastic in-store sampling event. From research and planning right through to boots-on-the-ground delivery, expert companies can provide you with the highest quality sampling services with minimal effort from you.

Whichever route you choose, it’s important that your sampling events are backed by a rock-solid strategy. That means understanding who your ideal customers are, what attracts them, and how you can integrate that into your event. There’s no such thing as too much planning when it comes to in-store sampling, and we’re always on hand to help.

Brand Ambassador in-store sampling

Fizz Experience brand ambassador

The Pros And Cons Of In-Store Sampling

Benefits

In-store sampling can definitely have a lot of positive impacts on your retail business. For one, it makes you stand out from the crowd by offering a unique in-store shopping experience. This in turn creates awareness around your business and your products, generating organic word-of-mouth marketing and helping your business grow.

In-store sampling also allows you to introduce your customers to new products or new varieties, and entice buyers who are on the fence into buying from you. This is known as a ‘consumer trial’, and it takes the risk out of trying a new product, making customers more likely to buy. If you can achieve this step, research has shown that customers are more likely to continue buying that product. This links into some other benefits as well, like building good relationships with smaller retailers and brands, and helping boost sales up to 5-10 times their normal during promotions, and can lead to higher sales long-term.

Finally, in-store sampling presents an opportunity to gather feedback from your customers. This can be on anything from marketing and price point to flavours and ingredients, all of which give you a chance to improve your products and their marketing.

Costs

No matter which way you slice it, in-store sampling costs money, and that’s one of the biggest barriers for many retailers when deciding whether or not they will try in-store sampling. Whether you’re doing it yourselves, which will include labour costs for the employees, or paying someone else to do it for you, there is an inherent cost involved with in-store sampling.

You will also need to provide the product to be sampled. How much product will need to be written off for sampling depends on the retailer and their clientele, but this is another cost consideration you will need to factor into the sampling experience.

At Fizz we are experts in in-store sampling, creating a buzz around brands for decades. We plan and execute everything. This includes bringing the right sampling equipment, designing your sampling station, carrying out safety checks, and supplying trained staff. Working with our team removes hassle for on-site staff, store managers, the brand and buying team. We pride ourselves on innovation, and we’re always looking for fresh ways to excite and engage consumers. With our help, you can see the benefits of in-store sampling for your own business, and enjoy them for years to come. To find out more just get in touch with the team today.