Helping Costco take sampling to Reykjavik

Team Fizz has worked with Costco Wholesale UK since the wholesaler opened its first UK store in 1993. Today our sister company, Warehouse Demo Services (WDS) is the sole supplier of demo services in UK Costco warehouses – delivering over 70,000 product samplings and demonstrations across 28 UK locations, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year.

You can find out more about our Costco sampling services, here.

In 2016, Costco asked us to expand our sampling service to their new warehouse in Reykjavik, Iceland.

There was only one issue. Field marketing didn’t exist in Iceland – there wasn’t even a word for the practice! But that didn’t stop us, and the results have been nothing short of staggering.

Our Solution

Introducing sampling to a new country brought with it a host of challenges.

For a start, we had to build our understanding of Icelandic laws and culture from scratch, which meant recruiting brand ambassadors though no word existed to describe the role. We had to rethink how we deliver demonstrations, as Icelandic health & safety laws differ from UK ones. In Iceland, it’s illegal to cook food on a shop floor, for example.

A well-defined plan was an essential start-point for such a challenging project. Ours was put together by our experienced in-house project manager, who worked closely with the Costco UK team to co-ordinate all aspects of the campaign.

Next, we got down to the nuts and bolts of the task – negotiating new employment contracts with Costco, to cope with much higher Icelandic living costs; setting up a new Icelandic company; recruiting an Icelandic management team; procuring and shipping all necessary materials, and translating and finalising all necessary documents – including sign-off from the Costco UK team.

Finally, we invited our new management team to the UK for a crash course in sampling and demos, which included the production of a bespoke video to help train future members of staff on the same.

The Results

The first chapter of the project ended with the warehouse opening event, where our new brand ambassadors were on hand to educate the Icelandic public in the art of sampling.

But our work wasn’t over. Fizz’s WDS team continues to support Costco in Reykjavik to develop their demo offering via regular visits and providing relief staff to ease recruitment challenges.

Today, Costco Reykjavik is home to 15 brand ambassadors hosting a programme of up to 40 product demo sessions each week. Icelandic consumers, meanwhile, have welcomed product sampling with open arms. 1 in every 8 Icelandic citizens is now a Costco member, and sales of selected products jumped 485% in our first week of the demos at the warehouse. Lovely!