The Food Warehouse In-store Sampling

Having opening their first ‘Food Warehouse’ stores in 2014, Iceland Foods sought to drive up footfall and carve themselves a niche by making sampling a key element in the shopping experience they offered customers. To do so, they’d need a bespoke sampling model for their stores that showcased the premium nature of their new product ranges.

We couldn’t wait to get started – delivering all aspects of this new model on a fully outsourced basis. This meant coordinating logistics, staffing and ongoing reporting – trialling our new approach in a small number of stores before leading a controlled roll-out across further UK stores.

Crucially, our new model must not affect the smooth running of any in-store operations. We’d also need to offer a custom demo kit – including a new on-brand and entirely bespoke sampling unit that would enable our brand ambassadors to offer hot and cold food, while adding a touch of theatre to The Food Warehouse experience.

Our Solution

First, we assigned a dedicated campaign manager to the project – tasked with co-ordinating the company’s head office, store staff and our own brand ambassadors. This was especially important given the small-size teams in each of The Food Warehouse stores and the breadth of the campaign, which initially covered 6 stores across the UK.

Supporting our campaign manager were our field managers, who visited each store on a regular basis, spotting opportunities for further improvement and delivering their insights in our weekly reports, which also included detailed information on store-by-store and product-by-product performance.

To design our new demo kit, we hunted for a UK engineering company that could match the innovation and quality demanded by our brief. Our solution should use materials that were durable, bold, easy to maintain and flexible to arrange.

Eschewing the traditional collapsible unit design, we therefore opted for a fixed unit that could be moved in and out of aisles, and be stored on the shopfloor when not in use. This also allowed us to incorporate several other solutions from beyond the field marketing industry – including compact sink and grill solutions designed for caravans, robust lockable casters and off-the-shelf storage units.

Simplicity was key, as well as ensuring that every element of the sampling experience was tightly branded to keep customers focused on the new Food Warehouse proposition. Our brand ambassadors could, in turn, concentrate 100% of their efforts on driving sales. These brand ambassadors were themselves selected by Fizz for their experience and accredited food-safety knowledge.

The results

Our first 3 months of working with The Food Warehouse were a rousing success.

Achieving 99% coverage (activity completed vs. activity booked), we boosted sales of featured products by an average of 128% – with some ranges increasing by as much as 181%. 100% of surveyed customers said that sampling improved their Food Warehouse experience; 54% said they wouldn’t have bought products without having tried them first, and 98% said that in-store sampling had encouraged them to try something new.

Having rolled-out our sampling model to other Food Warehouse stores, we’ve continued to achieve similar results. But we haven’t rested on our laurels. Seeking customer and brand ambassador feedback, we’ve continuously improved our sampling model for the brand – including introducing new larger sampling units in several stores and updating the visual identity used on each unit.

By building an effective feedback loop, we learn quickly which products work well for in-store campaigns, helping us plan future promotions and boosting the ROI of The Food Warehouse’s sampling budget.

The bottom line

Sampling has since quickly become a cornerstone of The Food Warehouse proposition – adding intrigue to their customer experience, driving footfall and building brand differentiation.

For Fizz, that’s all in a day’s work. What could we do for your brand?