Prime Planet’s Marketing Team knows well that retailers love to offer a free point-of-purchase sampling of the many packaged goods they sell. And why not? This marketing strategy is as old as commerce itself. It’s known as product sampling marketing, and it works – reliably – for the following reasons:
- -Boosts Sales – Experts say that compared to other in-store merchandising, sampling has the highest impact on sales.
- -Reinforces Customer Loyalty – The practice of offering free snack samples helps build customer loyalty to brands and the stores in which they shop.
- -Turns Stores Into “Destinations” – For many shoppers, grocery shopping often feels like a tedious and time-consuming chore, but knowing there will be free snack samples available makes it a much more pleasurable experience.
- -Consumer Obligation to Buy Samples – Research shows that shoppers subconsciously feel obligated to make a purchase of an item after sampling it, whether because of social pressures from the staff members or from other samplers.
- -Helps Customers Save Money – Some customers make entire meals out of samples. It’s an actual lifestyle for them. One survey respondent admitted that she and her boyfriend eat entire meals by sampling products at least three times per week, bouncing from one store to another. She says it saves them between $40-$80 per week on their grocery budget.
- -Makes Consumers Crave More – The adage, “Never go grocery shopping hungry,” can also be applied to sampling free foods. You might not have been thinking about buying sesame crackers and cheese, but after tasting how well they paired together at the sample counter, you might just decide you can’t live without them.
But has food-product sampling marketing survived COVID?
Various sources say, yes. As early as June of 2021, The New York Post published an article entitled, “Food Sampling Returns to the Grocery Aisle – With Pandemic Protections.” That same month, Ad Age ran a piece claiming, “New Poll shows a surprising acceptance of the tactic that was shelved during the pandemic.”
That’s good news for retailers hoping to rely on the traditional approach. But what’s interesting about the pandemic has been its influence on what was already a burgeoning scenario that was based on in-store product sampling but exists in the digital world.
Is sampling an online option for consumers still wary of this practice?
Because free food sampling is such an important sales tactic for retailers, abandoning the method was never an option. Many have instead turned to an alternative version of getting consumers to try products.
Sales and Marketing providers in the CPG industry have been experimenting with online product sampling programs that include digital, direct-to-home sampling software that moves consumers from trial to purchase and allows for dialogue with retailers.
This approach takes more time than the traditional method (you need to wait for your samples to be delivered, then reply to the company, etc.), but for those who would still rather not sample in-store, it’s a viable, fun, and a rather futuristic option.
We say, “Why Not!”
Marie Gonzalez, our Business Development Manager here at Prime Planet, thinks Digital Product Sampling is a great idea, with the following caveat: “As long as the distributors or retailers have the budget for it and have staff available to manage the results, it is a very effective method of sales stimulation. It’s a lot like social media in that sense; it needs to be constantly managed, so businesses should thoroughly consider how they might implement and maintain a Digital Sampling approach.”
About Prime Planet
An innovative international snack food company based in Miami, Prime Planet is committed to bringing to market a line of crunchy Tostones snack chips that are truly all-natural, gluten-free, non-GMO, and even kosher-certified. Tostones not only come in the most delicious flavors (BBQ, lime, sweet chili, habanero, and original) but are an all-around healthier snack option, too.
Knowledge, expertise, and direct access to leading global distributors of wholesale snacks and bulk-food products allow Prime Planet to benefit from the shortest and most efficient commercial routes for ideal product shipment and product placement.
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