Be sure your samples properly represent the product… if it is a hot product, serve it hot. If cold, cold. Don’t let ice dilute product.

If cutting the product into portions destroys the appearance (for example, it may be difficult to sample a hamburger) consider offering mini-sizes. For the burger, order slider-sized buns.

If the product is usually topped with something extra (whipped cream, a sprinkle of something), add a bit of that topping to ensure the customer gets the full experience.

Once piece of advice we read (somewhere) is to “sample products near the end of their shelf life.” We strongly disagree with that. Sampling is not about finding ways clear out old, dying product. It should feature your freshest products and position what you have as strongly as possible.

Here are some additional ways to ensure your sampling and demos provide a great show.

Great Show: Feature A Personality

Select employees with the best personality. (Let’s be honest, selecting a good looking employee helps too!) Train them fully on the products they’re sampling or demonstrating.

Great Show: Quality Not Quantity

It is tempting to feel really great about giving out 5,000 samples at some big event. However, those samples are only valuable if they are being handed out to likely potential customers.

Remember this is about “local” store marketing. Our intention is to reach those who would be most likely to visit our location.

People will take your free stuff, but it doesn’t mean they’ll come to your store to buy it.

Great Show: Avoid Creating Trash

No need to create extra trash by providing flyers and extra materials that may just end up in trash cans – or worse – tossed onto the ground. If you are going to hand something out, make it of high value to the customer (a coupon or special offer), so it is worth keeping.

Have Trash Cans

We highly recommend you provide trash cans in and around the area you are sampling. Great product sampling can easily be ruined by the waste of wrapper created when people choose to litter instead of throw your packaging away. Assume if there are no trash cans the distance from where you’re sampling to how far away someone will walk consuming your product – that they will throw your wrappers on the ground.

So often, especially in cities, you’ll see someone sampling a product (a candy bar, for example), then within a x-foot radius of that sampling the ground may be littered with wrappers and other sampling.

When you’re done with your sampling, send the crew to do a trash clean-up. Leave the area cleaner than when you set-up. No one is going to mind if you help the neighborhood by cleaning up a bit of trash!