Category Archives: In Store

Retail Trends for 2018

Retail trends are continually changing and consumers are always looking for the next ‘big thing’, whether it’s an experience or a product.

Personalisation and convenience are two major factors trending at the moment. Both are important to the consumer but one is all about enabling the shopper to build and customise their product, and the other is about making the buying process as easy as possible.

Let’s look at this in more detail:


A clear trend for 2018 is enabling shoppers to build and customise products. This does not simply mean putting someone’s name in an email, it means enabling shoppers to build products and customise them to the very last detail.

Take Dresden for instance. Dresden is an eyewear retailer that offers sustainable, affordable and locally made eyewear.  Dresden has revolutionised their retail experience by allowing consumers to create a pair of sunglasses according to their preferences. The consumers’ interchange frame parts and lenses then select their size and colour – all to fit their requirements.

Brands are finding new and innovative ways to infuse technology into the shopping experience across all channels. One US retailer uses augmented reality to deliver personalisation. Online furniture retailer Wayfair recently launched a new augmented reality mobile app that lets customers see products in 3D. Users can see how a couch or lamp would look within their space, and then make purchases straight from the app.


Convenience is a buzzword for retail this year, especially as more and more shoppers use mobile devices. Many shoppers research their products online with their mobile but then go on to buy from a different device, preferring not to input their data onto the small screen of their mobile. New one-step checkouts such as Apple Pay change all of this, allowing shoppers to research, select their product and pay all from one device – no more entering your credit card details online – payment is simple and quick!

Convenience is a key retail trend

Visual search technology is a growing trend to watch out for. Rather than a word-based search query, a shopper will be able to snap a photo of their desired product to generate relevant search results. Imagine, for example, searching for a little black dress with a specific hemline. If the keywords aren’t within the product description, it’s likely going to be a nightmare to find. But visual search can use a photo to quickly narrow down products, making it much simpler to research and then purchase.

Any focus on convenience must also look at delivery options. Amazingly 80% of consumers want delivery on the same day while 61% of shoppers need their packages faster, in fact within 1 to 3 hours of requesting an order. (Temando Research Survey). These stats prove that next day and same day delivery will become the new norm for both online and offline retailers, which is why Amazon has been experimenting with drone delivery.

All of these trends are on the rise and will be something we see more and more of in 2018. It is our belief that the real winners in the retail space will be the companies that offer the utmost in customisation, speed and convenience.

If you would like to explore how to apply these trends to your retail or event experience, then give Keiran or Rich a call on 0800 10 99 88.


Guide to Shopping Mall activations in New Zealand.

Activating a pop-up store, sampling or experiential campaign in a shopping mall is a well proven route to getting your brand in front of a broad range of people. Malls offer almost guaranteed foot-traffic numbers, regardless of the weather. The variety of retailers onsite provide instant redemption of offers or bounce backs for brands wishing to drive awareness, launch products  or sample.

At Brandstand, we specialise in helping clients make the most of their “in mall opportunity” and over the years we have developed a special relationship with mall owners, management companies and mall staff.

D2G - sampling desk

Design and Production

Design and production are key to a successful activation. Malls can be an unforgiving space so your gear needs to be robust.

Often the mall set up is surrounded by stores, their brand signage, their window displays and their lighting. It’s a feast on the senses which is hard to avoid, but it means that your activation must stand out. Add to this the height restrictions and display requirements normally in place, and you have a very unique set of circumstances. It’s very different from an event, where often the exhibitor can reach higher with their stand.

Location is key and consideration must be given to the sitting of your stand and the customer flows around it. Getting this right comes down to how the stand is designed, liaison with mall staff and an understanding of good 3d design. Depending on your activation you will want to engage with as many people as possible, so how you work with the natural flow of foot traffic can become quite critical to success.

Sampling in malls


You can’t just stroll into a mall and set up. Set-up teams need to be authorised and site safe. Approvals need to have been gained and timings are key. Liaison between us, the client and the mall are crucial so that everyone understands what is happening. A professional and well planned installation not only gets you off to a great start where you can focus on the number one priority – engaging customers!


Good design is always achieved when “form follows function” so think about what it is that your activation needs to achieve. Will you be retailing a product, sampling or asking people to stop and sigh up? Ensure that you think of all of the practical requirements be that storage, seating or displays to help you to make the most of your captive audience.


Mall activations can mean long hours on your feet and for some people it’s not easy to maintain your focus and enthusiasm for hours on end. Take time to plan your schedules well allowing for breaks and double ups of team when the mall is going to be at its busiest. It’s often worth investing in experienced brand ambassadors to work for you rather than just relying on your own staff. Great agency team can be confident product advocates, experienced and flexible, especially on evenings and weekends.


Have happy enthusiastic staff on your stand


Left unattended, your gear can go walkabout. Yes there are security guards in the mall, but there are also a LOT of people. Sometimes your stand goes unattended or your staff are distracted.  For this reason you need lockable storage areas within your stand, and have a policy for how the stand is left at the end of each day.


Create some hype around your activation and be sure to invest in a photographer so that you can leverage the groundswell of enthusiasm and publish to a wider audience through your Social Media pages. Try to persuade the mall to support you in this too, utilising their social media platforms to advertise your activation and support it whilst your live.

If you need help organising a mall or a sampling campaign then please contact Michelle on 098 970 1484 or visit our showroom in North Harbour.

5 Sampling/Brand Engagement Trends

So what does the future look like for Brands wanting to engage with their customers?

As one of New Zealand’s foremost providers of brand experience and sampling campaigns, we thought we would take a look.

Brand Engagement is king

The reality is that ‘engagement’ is clearly a focus for brands in 2016. Every brand needs to focus on creating a better customer experience at each touchpoint, throughout their customer journey. Experience Planning is becoming part of the brand strategy process and Brandstand can help in creating branded displays that improve the ease of the buying decision at point of sale. Our sampling stands help to deliver a consistent brand experience, with additional elements that boost engagement beyond a simple product tasting. But let’s not lose sight of the commercial imperative in all this – activity has to lead to sales and that’s why we always frame our responses around influencing the path to purchase.

Smapling Table

Engagement Over Awareness

Individuals are currently bombarded with marketing messages. According to certain sources, people come into contact with anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000+ brand messages a day. The value of simply getting in front of a prospect has been diluted. With the pervasiveness of digital touchpoints, engagement now comes with higher worth to a brand than more macro metrics such as awareness and ultimately brand consideration.

Brands in 2016 should be thinking brand immersion more than brand reach, and for good reason. It’s brand immersion that will drive memory, and so brand consideration at point of sale.

Our unique sampling campaigns and bespoke builds ensure that sampling and brand experience campaigns deliver a higher level of engagement. At Brandstand, we think beyond purely display and look to deliver interactivity within our campaigns. We deliver multi-platform measurable campaigns that use video, interactive displays and multi-sensory elements to build higher levels of engagement and meet campaign objectives.

Huawei Stand

Multi Sensory Brand Engagement

More and more brands are exploring the senses to create unique worlds for consumers. Four Seasons, for example, uses an air system to diffuse custom scents throughout its properties. Virgin relies on personalised screens, on-demand food and beverage ordering systems, and iconic purple lights to ensure its flying experience is like no other airline.

Our plinths and tables can be lit to glow or pulse in any colour required, ensuring a unique yet consistent brand engagement. We’ve used scent to guide and influence customers at point of sale, and sound to engage and drive interest.

Our interactive screens can be positioned and programmed to provide a unique user experience, driven by each user and their needs and desires.

The importance of video

Video continues to play an evolving role in customer service, with more and more brands noting the importance of offering face-to-face interactions for a richer, more personalized experience. Videos may be used for greater self-service by offering customers tutorials on company websites, testimonials about brands to educate and inspire customers, and, of course, video chat for optimum customer service. Indeed, Gartner has predicted that more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat by 2018. Video technology is further evolving to use customer data as a means of delivering personalised videos for stronger customer service and marketing targeted at each specific customer’s needs.

Take a look in Mitre 10 at ter How To videos – suddenly the world of DIY becomes more accessible as we’re guided to our higher purpose in the aisle!

We constantly look at ways to integrate screens and videos into our displays to entice customers to stop at our exhibition stands, or to better control their journey around our stand. We supply a range of display walls that can all take video or interactive screens, whilst also being lightweight and simple to set up.

Yale Exhibition Stand

More and more clients are investing in their digital assets and then ensuring these are displayed across multiple touchpoints – websites are becoming increasingly creative and engaging whilst apps deliver a better level of service and information. Video forms part of these assets and ensuring they’re used and viewed in multiple places becomes increasingly important.


We’ve all heard about the importance of data, and never has this been more true than in marketing. Measurable returns are the key to understanding customer drivers. By measuring results, future campaigns can be designed and executed and success more easily gauged.

At Brandstand, all our briefs include detailed info on how success will be measured and the objectives of the campaign in which we’re involved. For an exhibition, lead measures vs awareness vs product trial will all affect our stand design in differing ways. We’re fanatical in searching out ways to measure the success of what we’re doing and in creating ways that make it easy to measure. We insist on implementing SMART measures into all we do because great creative and design means nothing without meaningful metrics.

Did You Know Series?

Demo Tables

Demonstration tables, portable counters, promotion stands – what ever you like to call them, Brandstand has a complete range of solutions. We’ve been supplying them to brands and agencies for the past 20 years, and you’ll have seen many examples in supermarkets across the country. Here’s 10 facts about our Demo tables that might surprise you:

Brandstand NZ - Demo Tables

  1. We have over 12 different types of demonstration tables in our standard range, housed in our Auckland Warehouse.
  2. We manufacture bespoke solutions to suit specific campaigns so call us to discuss your requirements and timeframes.
  3. Our most popular demo table is the SuperLight 800, which is used by some of the country’s leading sampling companies for some of our most iconic brands.
  4. The SuperLight 800 demo table is our lightest table, weighing in at a mere 7kg which makes it easy for carrying from car to venue, and back again.
  5. It only takes a few minutes to assemble one of our demo tables, meaning more time sampling and less time preparing. Plus, no tools means nothing to get lost!
  6. Table tops come in a range of options, to suit their purpose. Choose from food grade melamine, lightweight vacuum formed plastic or a heat resistant surface.
  7. Our demo tables are designed to fold flat when not in use, making them easy to carry and efficient to store.Brandstand Carry bags
  8. Demo tables come with 3 graphics options
  • A digitally printed laminated graphic, which is mounted to rigid PVC on the front of the table using Velcro for easy interchange.
  • A full digitally printed laminated graphic wrap, which covers the front and two sides of the table. It is affixed with Velcro, easily interchanged and stores in a tube in the carry bag.
  • A full colour lycra sock or fabric graphic for a higher end longer term solution

9.   Our tables can be adapted to suit your needs, such as:

  • Adding a Header Board to create greater impact and provide more premium brand/message space.
  • Add cable entry caps to the table top for electronic items
  • Produce the table top in a custom colour with unique graphics
  • Add flags to the table to create greater impact
  • Adjusting the height of the table
  • Adding extra shelves for storage inside the table
  • Heat resistant inlay for cooking
Crunchy Nut gets noticed!

Crunchy Nut gets noticed with a header above the table!

10. Need more space than our standard table sizes allow? Simply join a few up and then we’ll create a wrap that goes around them all and a top that covers them! Or call us, and we can have a specific size made just for you!


Brand Ambassador’s or Sales Generators?

Brand ambassadors have primarily been used for in-store sampling to increase brand awareness and drive sales but are they still important and has their role changed?

Brandstand NZ - Sampling traysThe NZ retail sector has seen changes over the past few years in both grocery and the non-grocery environments. This change is effecting how we engage with consumers and what they expect from their shopping experience. The team at Retail Safari has written a great article entitled “From Brand Ambassadors to Engagement Specialists”. Here are some key highlights:

Consumers are thriftier and smarter

With our fingers just a touch away from product information, consumers have higher than ever expectations, particularly from the in-store experience. Brand ambassadors are expected to be exceptionally knowledgeable about the product, offering honest expert face to face guidance giving consumers the confidence to make the right purchase decision.Brandstand NZ - Brands

Competition is tougher

There are so many brands out in the marketplace today the pathway has become very complex and cluttered. It is therefore essential that brands and retailers know when and where to engage the consumer along their purchase journey.

A shift in the balance of power to retailers

With a decrease in consumer spend and an increase in online shopping, retailers have had to reduce staff numbers on the shop floor. Thus, making it more important that brands put their own ambassadors out in the stores to engage, educate and ultimately close the sale.

A new model

In the FMCG channels, competition is tough and budgets are shrinking so there is a push for more sales through smart activations. A new model referred to as ‘Sales in Action’ is seeing some positive results. The main difference with this new model is that brand ambassadors not only create brand exposure and the opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ but they also get the sale. By moving away from the traditional low-key store activity, brand ambassadors are now becoming part of a lively shopping experience. This allows them to become tangible sales generators.

Brandstand NZ - Experiential MarketingAt Brandstand we totally agree with what they say. Being one of the main providers of portable display equipment in NZ we have seen a large shift in custom built stands for in-store sampling and experiential marketing. Clients are not just asking us for a product they are asking us for a solution to enhance the shopper experience.

We are in the business of making you look good, so give us a call and let us help you out with the perfect solution on 0800 10 99 88.


Supermarket sampling is a fantastic way to gain product trial and sales, because it happens right at the point of purchase. Sometimes though it’s tricky to target exactly the right kind of people for your brand.

Brandstand NZ - Sampling trays


In the old days product sampling consisted of a table and a pull up banner, and that was about it. Now things have become much more sophisticated, as both brands and supermarkets realise that in-store sampling creates an entertaining customer engagement, educates the customer and provides them with added value in store. In-store sampling stands now feature header cards to optimise visibility, cooking and serving facilities, interactive displays, and various promotions to add interest.

But they are still a passive medium in that they rely on customers to stop and approach the table.

Brandstand NZ - Sampling TraysThe tables have turned though (excuse the pun!). Supermarkets now allow brands to mobile sample around their stores. This means that demo staff can roam around the store, actively targeting the right kind of customers – both gender and age specific. The same applies to malls – no longer do demo staff have to stand within a mall booth, they can now move around the mall searching out the perfect target consumer.

Brandstand has been producing vendor or sampling trays for around 5 years now. They come in many shapes and sizes, and indeed many of them are bespoke due to the requirements of the product and the sampling situation.

There are a few key elements though:

  1. The tray will often be quite heavy when fully laden, so it’s important that the tray is well balanced and the strapping is sturdy and comfortable to wear. Normally the trays feature web straps that go over each shoulder, as well as sometimes an additional waist strap to support the tray.
  2. The tray needs to stand out despite being a much smaller surface area than a sampling stand/kiosk. Some of our trays feature a skirt to give them a larger front surface on which to advertise. Others feature 3D graphics that really stand out beyond the borders of the tray itself.
  3. Brandstand NZ - Vendor TrayThe tray will be carrying quite a few sampling essentials including product, cups/plates/napkins etc. It all gets pretty cramped, so we often include a die cut tray that holds various elements in the right place and creates a more appealing, organised look when standing in front of a customer. It also makes life easier for the demo person, who has each element stowed in the right place, and so there’s less chance of spillages etc.
  4. Depending on overall weight, sampling requirements, budget and intended lifespan. sampling trays are produced out of durable plastic or cheaper Corflute.

For companies with more complex brand portfolios, we have created generic plastic trays which can be customised for each brand. Simple face strips allow for brands to be interchanged at a moment’s notice, plus various insert tray options allow for each brand’s sampling requirements.

If you’re looking at a sampling campaign for your brand, then talk to us about your options, and make sure you’re targeting the right people and getting the optimum conversion to sale you can. We can not only advise you on the best sampling method, but also assist in ensuring you have the right sampling staff.


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.


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!


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.

Branded Demo/Sampling Tables

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.
Benjamin Franklin

Let’s be honest, this quote is a little over-used but it still rings true when talking about product demonstrations and trials. It’s important to involve your audience not simply talk or teach to them.

As the #1 display company in NZ, we at Brandstand have a few ways to help you achieve this.

First of all, you need a demo table. And have we got a LOT of demo tables!  We’re probably the biggest supplier of demo tables to FMCG brands and supermarket sampling companies in New Zealand.

Neat Demo Table and sampling kits for Symbio!

Neat Demo Table for Symbio!

As well as simple off-the-shelf solutions which include a plastic top and branded wrap, we can create even more impact with poles and an overhead Header Card. It’s a simple solution but it works, because suddenly your sampling station can be seen right across the supermarket. These are easy and quick to set up in-store and they’re built tough for repeated use.

Crunchy Nut gets noticed in the Supermarket

Crunchy Nut gets noticed!

Want to jazz it up a bit? No problem, we’ve got various shapes and sizes to create a bit more interest. We can also put your branding on washable fabric to make the whole package even more lightweight, even simpler to set up, and even easier to keep looking tip-top. (Did I hear Ice Cream? Yep we supplied tables for a Tip Top sampling campaign too!).

various Demo Table options, including product sampling trays

Consider a Sampling Tray when you want to roam around the store.


Brandstand iPad/tablet interactive branded display UnitBut a table alone isn’t enough. That’s why we’ve got a range of leaflet holders, product display shelving and iPad/tablet holders to help create greater interaction. Need to cook on the stand? No problem, we’ll keep you safe with heat reflective materials, reinforced shelves, and built in chopping boards where required.

Still not cutting it, then what about a totally bespoke solution?  We love a challenge and have the best “can-do” people in the industry – that’s why Cadbury’s experiential agency approached us first.  We were asked to come up with something magical in-store to support Cadbury’s Joyville ATL campaign. We came up with this incredible sampling machine! It had kids and adults queuing up to get a taste and brought the TVC to life for many. It actually dispenses chocolate down a chute!

Brandstand's magical in-stire sampling machine


Brandstand has years of experience, working with many of NZ’s experiential agencies. We understand why solutions must be easy to transport, why the gear needs to be built tough and why it must be simple to assemble. It’s why so many NZ agencies work with us; and because we ALWAYS get the job done on time and on budget!

Take a look at some of the demo tables we’ve created over the years, right here at our online showroom. It’s a great source for ideas, and if you see something you like, give us a call on 0800 10 99 88.