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It’s a gift!

04. October 2021, MAXFIVE

Win customers with free samples. Packaged as a disco shopping event, they’ll even stay till after closing. Lively ideas for increasing revenues.


Sales increase


© Sanne's pics

Creating a taste for stationary POS’s again. Amusingly enough, in-store tastings are a good fit. A well-matured ham from the Italian provinces over here, biscuits with double-chocolate filling over there – the two will meet in the shopping cart before long. But also in principle: Free samples have an effect no matter what they are. They attract customers and get them to buy. “It’s because they awaken a need, or bring it back to awareness”, says Dan Ariely, behavioural researcher at Duke University in North Carolina. To stay with the example of the chocolate bikkies: When I’m nibbling on a biscuit, it occurs to me how good it is and that I actually want more of something sweet. A study in the British Food Journal (“An empirical investigation of in‐store sampling promotions“) showed that 75 per cent of all customers accept a free sample when it is offered to them. And: If they were already thinking about buying a product in this category, they will more likely take the brand they just sampled home with them. This has a lot to do with the interaction and personal contact that the customer has with the staff or promoter. As always, the social component is the main advantage of offline retail compared to web shops.

75 percent of customers accept a free sample when it’s offered to them.

Because our natural instinct comes into play. Behaviourist Ariely: “If someone does something for you, somehow you feel obligated to return the favour”. That means: If a customer is offered a chunk of freshly baked, super sourdough bread, he’ll probably take a loaf because otherwise he’d have a bad conscience for the rest of the day. This has led to retail chains, like the American Costco that has perfected the art of sampling, being able to increase sales of certain products up to 2,000 per cent, which is a huge increase. “When we compare various in-store media, product demos have the most upward potential”, says Giovanni DeMeo, head of Costco sampling. That’s why MAXFIVE has a comprehensive tasting package that includes planning and organisation as well as selection of the perfect presentation spot and most suitable promoters. Accompanied by – naturally – radio programming and digital networking at multiple touch points. Tastings or handing out other samples – whether cleaning products or shoe polish – becomes a minor event at a POS. An even larger event at the POS – or, samples of another dimension: disco shopping.

Disco shopping: When the lights in the supermarket go out, the LED spots go on.

It’s about bringing customers into the store. But also, just as much, about selling. Or about spreading the word about a product. Even spreading the word about one’s self as a POS. Originally the idea came from the Netherlands – in Dutch, Disco Boodschappen – where a handful of young companies came up with the first invitation to a supermarket beano in 2015. In just a few hours the event in Amsterdam was sold out. Rock ’n’ roll in the aisles, dancing in the freezer section, kissing at the cheese counter… party time, in other words. 700 visitors were counted a few months later when the phenomenon of disco shopping came to Germany – in the capital, of course. “Berlin is now the party metropolis of Germany. That’s why it was obvious that we’d do this”, says Tobias Tucklenski, the regional manager for Kaiser’s stores in Berlin and Brandenburg who took up the Dutch idea.

For ten euros, there’s free beer and a list of free products that the guests can take home with them.

The supermarkets not only get points for friendliness – disco shopping is a brilliantly good opportunity to offer samples and free marketing material to customers. For ten euros the party guests get free beer and a shopping list of things that they can take home for free. Or nibble while there. In any case, they will associate these products with the supermarket party, which is why they will remember them. The way unforgettable nights can be.

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