#3 of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish (Sampling) – Chapter 14

by Stan Phelps

in purple goldfish project,sampling

[Over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing excerpts as we work towards completing the manuscript for ‘What’s Your Purple Goldfish?’. Today is Chapter 14, the third of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish]

Sampling is the lowest hanging fruit in marketing

There may not be a more cost effective way for brands to drive purchase intent and conversion than sampling.

The proof is in the numbers as highlighted in this article in BRANDWEEK.  Here are the top two takeaways from the Arbitron survey:

  • 24% of consumers bought the product they sampled instead of the item they initially set out to purchase
  • 35% of customers who tried a sample bought the product during the same shopping trip

But why does sampling just have to be about the prospect? Why can’t you leverage current customers with an additional ‘little extra’ to increase satisfaction, drive retention and promote word of mouth.

Let’s look at a handful of companies who do exactly that:

This purple goldfish has a fragrant bouquet

#505 in the Purple Goldfish Project was submitted by Frances Lewis

sephora samplingSephora

“Thanks so much for the MENG webinar. Laughed out loud — I had “3 or more” moments in last week — stayed at a Doubletree (though had great experience with housekeeping as well as cookie) and ate at Five Guys.

My third was Sephora — was searching for a perfume for a gift, and salesperson not only gave great “traditional” assistance, but created customized samples in little spray containers, then bagged and labeled.

I grew up in New Orleans and remember “lagniappe” very often as a tray of hard candies given in lieu of a penny’s change. Great concept.”

The act of creating customized samples is a nice touch on behalf of Sephora.  If Sephora leverages it in cosmetics . . . then Kiehl’s absolutely wields it to great effect.  According to Real Simple magazine,

“Kiehl’s hands out samples of every product it sells — approximately 10 million giveaways a year.”

Kiehl’s samples in 3 different ways: #1 At a Kiehl’s store. #2 At a Kiehl’s counter in a department store. #3 Or over the phone!

What was the 3rd one again?  Call Kiehl’s and tell the operator what you’d like to try and the company will send you up to 3 samples. If you don’t believe it, here are their digits (800) 543-4572.

According to Kiehl’s website:

We understand that no two skin or hair types are exactly alike and that products work differently for each person. To ensure you find the precise products that meet your needs, Kiehl’s pioneered an extensive Sampling Program many years ago. We’re confident that when you try our products, you will recognize the high quality and efficacy of the preparation. We invite you to try 3 Kiehl’s samples with your first order of the day to discover other Kiehl’s formulations from our extensive line of skin, hair and body care.

This one brings a little extra flavor

#582 in the Project is submitted by Katie Morrow of Aveus

izzy's scoopIzzy’s

“Izzy’s ice cream shop in St. Paul, MN offers a free “Izzy” scoop with
each scoop order. Every scoop gets a free “Izzy” – a miniscoop of
another flavor on top.”

Izzy’s Ice Cream is an iconic ice cream store in St. Paul, Minnesota. The owner Jeff Sommers was told to do two things when he opened his shop:

  1. Smile  . . . .  and
  2. Give away samples

He disliked the idea of just giving away free samples, so he created his own wrinkle. What he does is allow customers to add an IZZY scoop to each order. It’s a small scoop of any flavor. Great for customers who can take a ‘worry free’ chance to try a new flavor. It’s a little extra that goes a long way. Don’t take my word for it, Izzy’s was voted the best ice cream shop in America by Reader’s Digest.

Tee Time

Purple Goldfish #378 – Bigelow Tea submitted by Jack Campisi, aka ‘Social Jack’ or ‘Maverick’

Bigelow Tea“I found a Purple Goldfish in a box of tea today. I opened a new box of Bigelow Vaniila Chai Tea and I was surprised to see a different colored label on the tea bag I pulled out. I wondered if I had bought the wrong flavor, but it turns out it was a bonus bag of their “Constant Comment” orange spiced chai tea.

It was a nice surprise and a great chance for me to sample another variety of their tea without having to buy an entire box of a flavor I may or may not like. And the good news is that I liked it.

This is a great example of lagniappe because it surprised and delighted me and it was very relevant. If they had not done that, I probably never would have tried that kind of tea… but now I just might go get a box. So mission accomplished Bigelow; you made a customer happy, turned me on to another one of your products and you are generating word of mouth buzz. That’s a Purple Goldfish.”

Try something new . . . on the house

#512 in the Project comes courtesy of my neighbor Eric Wiberg

Nagoya Restaurant

“Every time Nagoya Japanese restaurant in South Norwalk / SoNo CT delivers their (excellent) food, they add a “compliments of the house” special freebie, which is always high quality, always different, and always elicits gratitude. The freebie ranges from complex California sushi roll type samples to edemame, a dessert, or a soup. They are small but of high quality.

The freebies introduce us to foods we would not normally try and always make us eager to open the delivery and see what is in store for us. On each gift is a simple black magic marker saying “on the house” or “house special”. they have never mentioned it on the phone or delivery person, never failed to include it, and never asked for anything in return.

In return we give them our total loyalty for all Asian food purchases for our house and guests. We’ve never even eaten in the restaurant or met the staff (aside from friendly drivers) but because of this simple “Purple Goldfish” gesture, we are die hard fans of Nagoya of SoNo and suspect that we are not the only recipients of their discrete kindness.”

A Guarantee, Free Gift Wrapping, Hand Written Notes and all the Non-Pareils You Can Eat In-Store

josh early candiesCheryl Ahto offers up Josh Early Candies as #225 in the Purple Goldfish Project.  What a sweet example of marketing lagniappe:

“Word of mouth marketing will get you into the store. Sampling their famous nonpareils will turn you into a repeat customer before you’ve even walked out the door. Josh Early Candies is a fifth generation family business based in Allentown, Pennsylvania and they understand marketing lagniappe. The quality of their candy and their friendly, hard-working sales people make for an unforgettable customer experience. But it’s the purple goldfish – the free, incredibly delicious, nonpareils that will keep you coming back for more. Believe me. I’ve been buying their chocolate for decades!”

Fantastic example.  Josh Early Candies is a Lehigh Valley institution. Cheryl sent me a box of the non-pareils as a ‘thank you’ last week.  There a few things in life that can live up to high expectations . . . Josh Early non-pareils needs to be added to the list. Hand made chocolates with hand made extras. Move over Evander, they are the ‘real deal’.

Smell, see it, touch it and taste it

great harvest bread company#383 in the Project from Nicolas Nelson:

“The Great Harvest Bakery is a relatively small franchise chain of wonderful American-style bakeries that is growing slowly on purpose–they want to make extra sure that every new Great Harvest Bakery is top notch and fully reflects the ethos of the original one.

Lagniappe is what Great Harvest Bakery is all about– it comes across in a dozen ways. But the first one any visitor will notice immediately is the free bread tasting every time you come in the door. Yep, everyone who even stops by gets a free slice of their choice of the day’s fresh-baked bread. A generous free slice.

Whether or not you buy something. Whether or not you even stay in the bakery after you take their bread. Whether or not you say thank you. Free bread, every visit! Of course, there’s a catch: the bread is unbelievably good. That free slice of bread will convince you to buy a whole loaf. We do, almost every week. The panini sandwiches are pretty amazing too, by the way (but not free).”

Marketing Lagniappe Takeaway: As a general rule, “People don’t know what they like . . . they like what they know”.  You need to figure ways to get people to try new products.  Make it easy and risk free.  Great Harvest gets to pick the bread of the day and let customers experience something new.  Smart move.  Sampling is the lowest hanging fruit in marketing.

Try a new coffee or tea drink while in line

starbucks sampling#351 in the Project is submitted by Ted Simon @tedlsimon:

Starbucks in Terra Linda

“When the line gets really long, it’s common for one of the staff to come out with a tray of complimentary samples of the latest and greatest beverage. A nice treat while you wait in line”.

[Next Up is Chapter 15. ‘First and Last Impressions’– the fourth of 12 different types of purple goldfish]

Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra for good measure) – Jack talks about his experience with Bigelow:

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#2 of 12 different types of Purple Goldfish (In the Bag or Out of the Box) – Chapter 13
September 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

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