Local Store Marketing Ideas – Sampling Your Products

I have been asked to expand on some of the points on the Local Store Marketing Ideas for 2011 (post Jan 12 and excerpt from 50 Ways To Build Your Sales) so I shall take several each week and see if I can elaborate on each of these points.

Sample products to prospective customers on a regular basis.

All food franchises have promotions, specials, etc.,  that they are trying to promote. If those specials are able to be sampled in small portions it is a great way to draw new and existing customers through your doors to try the special or just as a way to promote your store and products.

This is also a great way to promote products that are slow moving, are new to the menu or are near the end of shelf life. After all it would be better to give them away to customers by trial promotion than throwing them in the bin!

If you are in a shopping mall you may be limited to your lease line but try to move a little way from your store or onto a different walkway than your customers would normally use.

Some quick ideas

A new beverage, hot or cold, can be sampled in 2 oz sample cups (available from all reasonably sized paper cup wholesalers). Write “50 cents” on the side of the cup and explain to the guest that they will receive a 50 cent discount if they return the empty cup and buy a drink at full price. A great way to induce trial and the cup redemption helps to keep track of how well the sampling is working.

If you sell cakes or any other ambient product that can be cut into bite-sized pieces, put them on a plate and place them near the cash register with a small printed sign (don’t forget your logo and description ) with toothpicks. This is also a great way to use products that are almost out if shelf life and to grow sales. Self sampling is a great idea and doesn’t cost too much in labor.

Use your best people

Sampling works best with great personalities. The better the engagement with your customer the more chance they will try your products. So use your best people. If you are using your team to sample products ensure they are in a clean uniform and are the best team member you have. Go through a script with the team member and ensure that they are fully aware of the product and its ingredients and any other information your customers need to know. For example if the product is gluten free or is not suitable for people with nut allergies.

Remember with product sampling it is a long term investment in your business and although the customers may not come back to your store on that day, you have planted the seed in their mind for the next time.

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