A visit to a hyper market is never complete without an experience of trying and tasting a new product. The processed food culture in India is still in its nascent stage. Hence the processed food industry has resorted to sampling of their products and what better platform than the modern retail outlets. Here the brands are exposed to thousands of customers.
Few years ago most of us did not know what a probiotic drink was? What are its benefits, when is it to be consumed? Today no day is complete without a probiotic drink. Infact a friend states that if he does not consume the drink he feels that his digestion might be disturbed. This is the impact of sampling in the minds of the customer. This was possible only due to long term investment by the brand in educating customers about the product and building awareness. Initially the sales would not justify the investment but as mentioned earlier these are long term investment which a brand needs to undertake to build a category especially if it’s a low awareness category.
Frozen food is yet another category which grew entirely on the sampling platform. The frozen category in itself was alien to Indians. Today French fries have found a permanent place in a home maker’s refrigerator. Initially the frozen food companies received a lot of complaints with regard to the taste , difficulties in usage etc. which led to a few companies take upon themselves the task to educate customers that the product is not be thawed to get the best results etc. Today these products are in the menu of every kid’s birthday party. Remember stores ordering for huge quantity of such products as there was a birthday party order.
While the list of such success might be long, the bottom line is that these brands have gained confidence of the customers. Tasting the products gives the customer the confidence to buy it.
A store manager of an upmarket store once narrated an incident. As the store dealt with international and imported products they had to deal with the problem of arrival of huge quantity of stocks at a time due to irregular supplies. Once the store received thousand units of an imported sauce never heard of in India. With the passing of days the sales never picked up leading to the fear of expiries. Finally the store manager decided to sample the sauce to the customers. Guess what??The entire thousand units got sold in a few weeks and the store placed a repeat order. This incident reaffirmed the store’s faith in sampling. Today the store spends more than 10% of its sales value on sampling. The joke around is that if a customer enters the store on an empty stomach by the time he exits the store he would be full only by tasting the samples. The store samples a huge variety of products-cakes, expensive cheese, variety of dips, imported fruits, breakfast cereals, sauces, juices, dry fruits etc. The effort by the store team has lead to great results. This upmarket store with high rentals, high employee cost and the high sampling cost has turned profitable within a year of its opening. This is a case study in itself. The power of sampling!!!!
Last heard a wine retail outlet has started wine sampling to educate customers on different types of wines available and to help customers make a informed decision. Is India prepared for this?? Only time will tell.
Any brands which was built on the sampling platform? Any instance of sampling leading to brand loyalty. Please share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org