Many years ago, a major supermarket chain released the facts about their sampling events. More than 80% of the shoppers admitted that having samples enhanced their experience. Of those shoppers who took samples, 68% admitted they purchased the item because of the event. The store found that after a sampling event, sales increased by 600 to 2,000%. That’s a huge increase.

When you decide to have a sampling event, you can’t just expect it to be a smash hit. It takes careful planning and execution for the event to be a success. Here are some of the tricks the experts use to make sure the experiential marketing technique delivers results.

You Need the Right People to Drive Sales

The people who provide the samples, known as brand ambassadors, are the key to a sampling experience. If they are unfriendly and distant, no shopper is going to feel warm and welcome. How hard can it be to find people who will smile and be respectful? It’s not always as easy as you might think.

If you’ve ever been in a warehouse store, you’ve seen brand ambassadors lined up giving out samples. How many do you see that seem truly happy? How many seem upset or even angry and not at all approachable? It’s not an easy job. Throughout the shift, these workers need to keep samples stocked and sell your product. You have to think of the other things that they are expected to do at the same time.

They have to deal with crowds of people who can sometimes be incredibly rude. In addition to preparing and handing out samples on a timely basis, they need to answer questions, address people who push and shove others out of the way, and keep their cart or table tidy. The store or venue may also have rules brand ambassadors also have to follow such as giving directions to customers or attendees, tidying up the shelves or area around them, and monitor inventory on shelves.

Multi-tasking, a cool, calm, friendly composure, a passion for the product, and the ability to stay on the feet for hours at a time are important. Carefully choose your brand ambassadors to have these traits. When you find them, do everything you can to secure them for your future experiential marketing events, too.

Know Where to Focus Your Time and Energy

Free samples always draw a crowd. Some of those people that approach your product demonstrator are in it only for the freebie. That’s one of the biggest challenges with sampling events. You’ll have that one guy who returns for the 10th time looking to turn the free sample into a full meal. Make sure your brand ambassador knows how you want the sample seekers to be handled. Calling them out can lead to negativity about your brand that spreads quickly.

When someone does seem genuinely interested, special attention needs to be given to that person’s questions. If it takes a couple of samples to secure the sale, make sure the brand ambassador knows it’s important to take the extra time.

Be Bold

In a large venue where there is a lot of competition, you need to do something that makes your table, cart, or both stand out. Pair experiential marketing techniques if it’s going to help make your brand more noticeable. You could hand out a free sample and engage people with a prize wheel where they could win branded merchandise, too.

Expect the Unexpected

Even with the most carefully laid out plan, things can go wrong. Make sure you’ve got a back-up plan in place for those situations. What happens if the samples are damaged during transport to the event? What happens if some of the samples are missing? Anything can go wrong and you won’t have much time to correct it on the day of the event.

Say you are giving out samples of organic avocado. You use the first box and open the next. That box of avocados isn’t ripe. What do you do? Do you cancel or find a way to fix it? It may be advantageous to figure out how to quickly ripen the avocados to prevent having to cancel that sampling event and disappoint shoppers. When this happened to a brand ambassador the day before the Super Bowl, she and her boss did some quick research and found you could soften avocados by microwaving them whole for a couple of minutes. Tricks like that can save your event.

Use the Experience for Future Growth

If you do get any negative feedback from attendees, learn from it. We all want to hear how great something is, but it’s not always going to be the case. Instead of dwelling on the feedback, take it to heart and figure out how you can use those comments to improve the experience for the next person.

Enthusiasm for the product is so important. Finding people with that passion takes time and intuition. We excel in it. We’ve helped many companies hold successful sampling events in a variety of settings. If you need a sampling event that captures attention and sends sales soaring, give Factory 360 a call.

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