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It was with some amusement that we read a piece in the Washington Post about the practice of sampling in supermarkets, noting that some retailers (Costco, Whole Foods) do it better and more extensively than others. The piece also reports on a study done by Club Demonstration Services, the company that handles food demonstrations for Costco, showing that when connected to a demo, product sales increase 89 percent of the time. And there are other studies quoted suggesting that more often than not, people will choose to shop at a store that offers samples, and will buy new brands more often when offered samples in the store.
KC's View:
What amazes us is that it is 2005, and people are still writing these stories and conducting these surveys and reporting these results.

Not that there is anything wrong with the stories and surveys. But why, for heaven’s sake, are there retailers still in existence that don’t sample products liberally and aggressively?

The taste and smell of good food is the single most compelling argument for buying something. Anyone who doesn’t understand this and make sampling a centerpiece of in-store marketing efforts perhaps ought to be looking for another retail segment in which to labor.