The second instalment of our product sampling guides covers experiential supermarket sampling. This delves into more detail with regards to this specific type of product sampling activity.
Product Sampling Guide – Part 2
Before we start there is one main caveat to experiential supermarket sampling activity, which is that your product must be or about to be listed within the supermarket chain where the sampling takes place. It is unlikely (but not impossible) that brands which are not available for sale within the supermarket will be allowed to be promoted in their privately owned space. That aside, the good news with experiential supermarket sampling or ‘car park sampling’ campaigns is that there is a huge amount of scope to what can be achieved. It also means that there is an immediate chance to purchase once the consumer has tried your product. As a rule of thumb, space is usually allocated within the parking bays allowing a large promotional event area to be created. There will be little to no constraints on what can be achieved meaning generators, cooking apparatus, vehicles, trailers are all good to go!
Whatever avenue you decide or we advise, EXECUTIONAL can handle the entire booking process and provide footfall data against the stores that we are using. This can help with shaping the geography of the campaign and choosing the locations which are the most important in terms of reaching your target audience. Depending on the supermarket in question, it is usual for the supermarkets to provide sales uplift data too, including sales uplift on the day and uplift over the months that follow. This is all compared to the sales data pre-sampling activity giving a guide to the sales uplift on the day and the weeks and months that follow. Obviously what this does not take into consideration is the massive brand awareness and exposure for your products within the supermarket chain. It doesn’t have to end there as there are opportunities for coupons or vouchers to further drive resulting sales on the day or the weeks that follow.
Design & Concepts
So, now we have discussed the overview, we need to think about the concept and the aesthetics of your campaign. As part of your proposal process, we will always look to provide a ‘look and feel’ of the concept we are creating. Our designers provide a sketch or concept of the sampling event (similar to the example above) to stimulate thoughts and feedback from our clients. This will develop the idea into the final sampling programme. We work with our clients closely to develop a concept that matches their needs and also pay close attention to their budget.
Stock Management & Logistics
EXECUTIONAL can handle all types of stock management and logistics from simple ambient products requiring fulfilment and shipping, through to bespoke chilled logistics and storage. Where possible we try to utilise the existing brand and supermarket supply chain – our thought process on this is two-fold, one tapping into existing supply chains is faster and easier to utilise, and secondly avoiding bespoke distribution substantially lowers costs. Put simply if the additional stock can be ordered into stores for sampling, this makes the sampling programme much more streamlined and cost-effective. That said, where this cannot happen, EXECUTIONAL has nationwide logistical hubs who can handle all of the collation and distribution of your product sampling stock. An important note to consider is the stock uplift for increased sales on the day. We will discuss this as part of the sampling process but we need to consider having more stock available for sale over the sampling days, we do not want to disappoint potential customers.
Staffing & Implementation
An experiential sampling campaign requires a high quality event area and well thought out campaign strategy – but is nothing without experienced and well selected promotional staff. On each activity day EXECUTIONAL ensures the team of staff on the ground fully fits the brand and campaign we have created.
We always use more senior Event & Assistant Event Managers to manage the campaign from the field:
Event Manager – Consistent throughout the campaign they will be responsible for: driving the event trailer/vehicle, setting up on-site, organising promotional materials and samples, managing the entire team, reporting feedback and photography.
Assistant Event Manager – Taking the lead from the Event Manager, they will again be consistent throughout the campaign and support the manager on their main duties, along with driving the supporting (where required) logistics vehicle to each location.
Local Supporting Product Samplers – Local sampling staff will be part of each experiential sampling day, joining the Managers at busy campaign days and locations. They will take the lead from the event managers, interacting with the targeted audience and distributing samples of your product. Utilising local promotional staff also increases local knowledge and drastically reduces costs associated with moving a larger team across the country. They will always undergo in-depth training and briefing before the activity commences so they will seamlessly join the event managers at their local supermarkets.
EXECUTIONAL understand the importance of providing comprehensive feedback and reporting on every campaign that we carry out. We create bespoke portals that are filled out by staff after every single shift, with a view to gaining the understanding and consumer responses needed from an experiential supermarket sampling campaign. This is then collated and usually reported back in two ways:
Weekly Reports – At the end of each week of activity EXECUTIONAL will collate the feedback and present this online back to our client, to ensure they are fully up-to-date with the campaign. This weekly report will include staff and consumer feedback along with photography from each day of the campaign.
Post Campaign – After the final day of activity all feedback, photography and video from the experiential sampling campaign will be collated and placed into a document, available both online and in hard copy. This will then be discussed through an end of campaign meeting with our client and EXECUTIONAL to discuss all points of the campaign and view for future activity.