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By Jim Wells
In the age of where shopper experience is critical, it is important that retailers and marketers understand the value of in-store sampling and demos and the goals they can attain.
With efficiency, expertise and superior execution you can obtain incredible results. Marketers can achieve 10 key goals with sampling and demos:
1) Obtain same day sales lifts ranging from 200 percent to 2,000 percent – Results of sampling have a wide range of success for different categories and how well they are executed.
2) Leverage reciprocity amongst retailers, suppliers and shoppers – Goodwill does not go unnoticed. This is not only true of the supplier-retailer partnership, but also true for the shopper-retailer relationship.
3) Strengthen brand loyalty for both the brand and store – Building affinity amongst brands, retailers and shoppers can result in long-term connections, repeat visits and sales.
4) Increase register rings through add-on sales – Sampling can often reach beyond the sale of the sampled product to related products resulting in higher basket totals.
5) Gain new buyers/consumers – Many shoppers avoid risk of the unknown. Retailers and suppliers can mitigate shopper risk with sampling and demos.
6) Regain lapsed and occasional users – Sampling events serve as reminders and provide necessary re-trial and awareness to win back shoppers.
7) Stretch sales to other varieties – Once initial brand trust and preference is established, consumer confidence extends to other SKUs from the same brand and manufacturer, resulting in additional sales.
8) Introduce new consumers to the category – The initial category trial, has a lasting, minimizing, blanket effect to the risks of other products in the same category. This results in total category gains.
9) Heighten in-store visibility/ real estate – Awareness and share-of-mind close to the point-of-purchase are active ingredients to any marketer’s success.
10) Maximize social and sensory engagement – The social aspects of sampling provide immediate feedback and a chance to directly engage with and know the shopper. Additionally, sampling can activate every human sense within an arms reach of purchase.
In order to achieve best-in-class retail execution, it is important to work with a sampling and demo company that encompasses all the aspects of experiential marketing and does so with flawless implementation. Integrated services such as employee-based staffing with a variety of talent for brand-aligned, shopper-tailored presentations can enhance the brand experience. In-house fulfillment systems, research, reporting, as well as creative design support and print production also play a role in the success of a program.
Best-in-class companies even offer a process for certifying eligible demonstrators. Often this is streamlined in an online training course and provides a higher level of shopper engagement. Having knowledgeable demonstrators not only represents the brand well but also improves customer service levels in each store.
Editor's Note: Jim Wells is SVP of sales for The Sunflower Group, which specializes in experiential marketing, including product sampling, demonstrations and brand events.