10 Tips For A Successful In-Store Food Tasting
In-store food tasting is an essential marketing element used by brands and distributors. They are one of the most direct and powerful routes to customer education, acquisition, and retention. However, not all tasting events are successful. In this article, I will tell you all you need to know to make your in-store tasting a success.
Reasons For In-Store Food Tastings
There are several reasons why you should consider having an in-store tasting.
Boost the sale of a product that does not move well and of which there is a lot of inventory
-To introduce a new product
-To promote a product whose expiration date is approaching
-Even though the sales volume of a product is acceptable, a tasting helps to reinforce the presence of the product and increase its sales
The “Promoter” Is The Key To A Successful Food Tasting
The figure of the promoter is a fundamental element for a successful tasting. We speak of the promoter as a professional capable of establishing a relationship of trust with the customer and guiding him in the active multisensory experience of food tasting. These are the qualities that you should look for in your in-store promoter.
–Positive and proactive attitude: for customers to taste and buy the product, the promoter must be proactive. Time is of the essence in the tasting event, if there is no one at the tasting station at a certain time, it is the promoter’s duty to get out of the boot and lure customers to the station.
–Outgoing personality: the promoter must be a people’s person. Shyness is the enemy of a successful tasting.
–Methodical and organized: a good promoter prepares before the tasting and plans how to conduct the demo. This involves learning as much as possible about the products, the store, the demographics, and the key selling points.
–Good appearance: Promoters need to make a good impression before they even start talking about the product. A sales boy or girl wearing neatly ironed and clean uniforms, as provided by the company, with the brand on, will have an impact. Well-groomed hairstyles, trimmed nails, polished shoes are essential elements that every promoter should follow.
Having an adequate sales force is a must, but if you want to get the best out of them, you must provide them with the tools to exploit their talent. A training program does that. A good training session before an in-store tasting should include:
1. Knowledge of the product
2.FAQ’s about the product prepared by the brand
3.How to overcome objections and rejections
4.Steps for a successful tasting
5.How to show a positive attitude
6.How to close the sale
10 Tips For A Successful Food Tasting
As we said, a well-trained, well-groomed promoter, who knows what he/she is doing and how to personally handle each customer with their respective emotional understandings of the product is a key element. But if you want to ensure the success of the tasting you need to do these 10 things.
1.Consider what type of event would best fit your establishment. Is your establishment better suited for a casual, walk-around approach or a more focused sit-down tasting?
2.Define the best date and time to conduct the tasting based on the store traffic statistics. Weekends and special holidays are normally the best days.
3.What demographic will you be serving? If there is an element that can be focused on, the event can be tailored specifically to engage this audience.
4.Select the best place to set up the tasting station. The tasting station must have visibility, accessibility, and proximity to the shelf where the product is displayed. Consider that three or more people could gather at the tasting station at the same time. This means that your customers participating in the sample will need room to gather safely, outside of the normal flow.
5.Merchandise the product before starting the tasting. This means the shelf is full, there are no products with close expiration dates, and the POP material is in place.
6.The appearance of the tasting station is very important. People are drawn to places that stand out from their surroundings. See some examples below.
7.Look for support from the store. It would help the food tasting if the store manager announced hourly over the intercom that the sampling is taking place.
8.Offer incentives to purchase. Sometimes price is the limiting factor for a customer who is hesitant to try and then buy something new. A free sample gives them all the experiential proof they need to be sure your product is good, but this still doesn’t address their potential price concerns. However, hardly anyone can resist the combination of a tasty free sample and a discount on the actual product.
9.Educate the customer. Once you’ve got your customers gathered around you, pleasantly discussing how enjoyable the sample is, now is the time to share the true, interesting facts. Make the sampling memorable by sharing information about the sampled product that your customers probably didn’t know about before. Ingredients and uses are a great place to start but your sampler may also want to have product history and other contextual information.
10.Integrate social media to evaluate and give continuity to the food tasting. In the new social age we live in, social media has become an inseparable part of the customer experience. Try using some form of analytical online tracking, like Google Analytics, Instagram or Facebook likes, etc., to track your in-store food tasting traffic. Using digital analytics for real-world marketing can greatly enhance your outlook for your next move. Data is invaluable.
How To Measure The Success Of A Food Tasting
As with any business operation, you need a clear strategy for using in-store sampling for brand/product activation. An important but often overlooked fact is that you need to first know what success looks like. By having the right measures and goals in place, you can work backward to lay out a plan of attack. These are some of the commonly used metrics.
-Traffic engagement: percentage of passing shoppers that stopped to taste the product.
-Product engagement: how long a shopper spent at the tasting station.
-Conversion rate: percentage of shoppers who tasted the product and ended up purchasing.
-The number of likes and comments on social media.
Importance Of In-Store Tasting And Sampling
Several studies have been carried out to measure the effectiveness of tasting and sampling as a promotional resource. I will use an article published by Today’s Grocery magazine based on two studies conducted by Arbitron and by Knowledge Networks. Here is the summary of the findings.
-Two (2) out of every three (3) people who were offered the sample accepted it.
-One third (33%) of the people sampled bought the product that same day
-Twenty-six (26%) of those who bought the same day were new consumers compared to thirty-one (31%) who were already consumers of the sample product.
-The incidence of sampling was a 177% increase in sales of the sampled product during the tasting and a 58% increase in sales in the 20 weeks after tasting.
-The incidence of sampling on the rest of the line of the sampled product was reflected with a sale increase of 107% on the day of the event and 21% after 20 days.
-In-store tasting resulted in an average 10% increase in-store sales.