HELP! A beginner’s guide to in-store sampling.

Brandstand - Cadbury In-store SamplingAs the foremost supplier of sampling vendor trays and demonstration tables in New Zealand, we want to help you get the most you can from your in-store sampling campaign. There are a few things to consider, so here’s a helpful round-up.

Research

Both PROGS and Foodstuffs have regulations on what you can and can’t do in their stores. It’s best to do your research early as these stores are important to your business and your brand. Don’t blow the relationship in the early stages by not following the rules.

 

Objectives Think about what you want this campaign to achieve. Take a look at the options below and pick ONE primary objective then focus on delivering against it. Here are your choices:

  • Sales
  • Awareness
  • Trial

You’ll desperately want to pick more than one, but that can get confusing. By knowing what you want from this campaign, you’ll be able to measure your success and make certain choices much easier.

Optimising Sales

 

Brandstand NZ - supermarket sampling using sampling/demonstation table and header cardMake sure you have sale product on or near the demonstration table; you’ll want your sampling staff to encourage shoppers to select it then and there as part of their script. We recommend you include a coupon in your planning. We find this works better than an in-store special, because you physically give the shopper a coupon and they feel they need to use it there and then! Make sure you count the number of products on the shelf at the beginning of the in-store shift and the products on the table, and then count them at the end so you can measure just how amazing the shift has been! Make sure everyone does this for every shift and then start a competition to really drive those sales up!

Maximising Awareness

 

Brandstand NZ - In-store sampling table and header card

Crunchy Nut gets noticed!

Use a good sized table, perhaps with a banner over the top. You want to grab attention and get your brand in people’s faces. Think about how you ‘cut through’the clutter of brands and people in the supermarket. People tend to shop on auto-pilot so you need to work extra hard to get noticed. Think about doing something different or quirky. Perhaps have your sampling staff dress up a little differently or consider some giveaways that get your brand in people’s homes.

Gaining Trial

Brandstand NZ - Vendor TraysWhy not consider not having a demonstration table at all! This is where our Vendor trays come in really handy. Instead of passively waiting for shoppers to approach your table, with a vendor tray or mobile trolley you can actively target the right demographic with your product. If you have to have a table, then consider a secondary ‘hand off’ stand, which is a simple branded plinth where you place your tray of samples. This allows you to keep your main table as working space while your prepared product sits close-by, yet easy for shoppers to get to. This hand-off stand can have shelves included so as to provide an extra space for off-location merchandising.

Sampling Kit Brandstand NZ - easy to carry bag contains all the sampling kitYou want your sampling staff spending all their time actually in-store with your product, not walking backwards and forwards from the car park. So, keep your kit well packed and easy to transport. Most of our tables are designed to fit into a supermarket trolley and be quick to set up and dismantle – no fiddly screws and no tools required!

Site Safe Most supermarkets require sampling staff to have Site Safe passes. After you’ve spent hours booking your shift, don’t fall at the first hurdle by not having accreditation or by leaving your pass at home. Generally it’s an easy online course, so there’s no excuse!

Functionality Think about the size of your table and what you’re doing at the table. If you’re sampling dry goods, then you might not need much space. Go for a smaller table because you’ll have more flexibility over where it can be set up. Remember that if you need electricity, then your location and the timing of your shift will be severely limited. Most stores only have a couple of ‘powered sites’ so book early to avoid disappointment!

If you’re cooking on your stand, then think about how ‘on display’you want this to be. Perhaps the microwave can go under the table if it’s not a key feature of your product. We can tailor our tables to your requirements, adding shelving and heat retardant materials where necessary. We can also conceal cables too so that everything looks neat, well organised and appetising!

Graphics

Investing in sampling equipment is a big step. Don’t go for permanent graphics which can’t be changed. Instead, invest in hardware once and then change out the graphics panels when you need to. Consider our new fabric graphics panels which are easy to use, super lightweight and can be washed over and over again so your table always looks brand new!

Measuring Success Think about how you measure your campaign – don’t just rely on hearsay. If you want to count how many people you spoke to, then count your coupons at the beginning and end and be sure to give everyone you speak to a coupon! If your campaign is all about sales, then count the products on the shelf before and after. If you want to know what people think about your product, then have two bins for their paper plate, one marked LOVE IT and then the other marked YUK perhaps! If you want to grow your database, then run a Free Prize Draw, inviting people to fill in a card and post it in the box – but make sure the prize is worthwhile because generally people don’t stop for long when they’re on a shopping mission.

Timing Think about your target market and think about when they go shopping. If awareness was your initial objective then make sure you’re in the supermarket at it’s busiest time – perhaps a Friday night or a Saturday morning. If your target market tends to be older and retired then they often avoid the supermarket at these times, preferring a mid week. Do some research and ask the store manager to make sure you’re in the right place, on the right day at the right time. If kids are your target, then go for the after school slot around 3pm onwards. Twenty-somethings will often go shopping on a Thursday or Friday evening after work because they have other, way-cooler stuff to do on the weekend!

Brandstand NZ - TimingIt’s tempting to agree to any in-store slot that is offered to you by the supermarket, but why waste the opportunity – better to wait for the right time and day so you optimise your shift.