Natural Foods Merchandiser

3 ways to sample products

Nothing grabs customers' attention like free samples. Here are fresh tips from industry veteran Cheryl Hughes, owner of the Whole Wheatery store and restaurant in Lancaster, Calif., to get shoppers tasting your products.

  1. Keep it moving. Don't set up a table and just wait for customers to walk up; take the sampling to the shoppers. "We use the old Vegas cigarette-girl idea, with an employee carrying a tray with a ribbon, walking around the store and giving out samples," Hughes says.
  2. Keep it cool. Can't spare an employee to man the sample station? Use a Plexiglas pitcher with a freezable core to keep a beverage cool for shoppers to taste a new soda or tea at a self-service sampling table.
  3. Keep it fun. Is your store hosting a lecture or book signing? Serve cheese and wine, or cookies from the bakery. "That way they come to learn about supplements but get to try a new wine," Hughes says.
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