Natural Foods Merchandiser

Retailer roundtable: retailers answer, "How do you encourage customers to try new products in your store?"

Retailers tell how they encourage customers to try new products, including word of mouth, personal recommendations, sampling, telling a product's story, discounts, in-store advertisements and signage

Stacey Iturzaeta, manager of Mother’s Market and Kitchen in Huntington Beach, Calif.

I like to give personal recommendations. I talk to customers and find out what they’re looking for, and then offer advice from experience. I know not all supplements work for everyone, but I try to give as many options as possible by suggesting recommendations that I know have also worked for others. Word of mouth is definitely the best way to promote new products.

Phil Myers, general manager of Central Market in Houston

The best way, other than sampling, to get customers to try new products is to tell the product’s story. If you can say something like “a mother and daughter started making the product in their kitchen, and it’s their grandmother’s recipe,” they’re hooked by the story before they even try the product.

Jill Samplawski, manager of Newleaf Natural Grocery in Chicago

Word of mouth is a really great way to get customers to try a new product. We also have a weekly newsletter that we use to promote new products. That really helps get the word out, and people actually come in asking about the ones we feature.

Gavin McComas, owner of Sundance Natural Foods in Eugene, Ore.

We put signs on shelves that designate them as new products, as well as information regarding whether they are local, organic, fair trade or non-[genetically modified]. Sometimes we offer them at a discount and advertise in store flyers. I find that our customers like to try new things because often, natural foods stores have a limited selection. Once we draw attention to a new product, our customers will often tune in. Vegan and vegetarian customers are always looking for new options.

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