Changes in Store Traffic and Product Sampling Bring New Opportunities

I often gain inspiration for my column while sitting at the coffee shop at my local grocer. Here, I observe the shoppers’ activity coming and going, the store employees interacting with clients and other interesting activities in the store.  Today was no different. Today, I viewed a midweek product sampling by a local food entrepreneur. What was different about this activity was a sampling event on a Tuesday.  

I have noticed this store has added and increased midweek sampling events. In the past, we would never have considered investing marketing funds for midweek sampling events. Weekends were scheduled for demos to maximize the investment in personnel and product when store traffic was at its highest levels for the week. 

The pandemic has changed many traditional shopper behaviors, but this is one I had overlooked: the skewing of traditional heavy shopping days on the weekend to an increase in-store traffic on weekdays. 

This has undoubtedly happened due to the proliferation of employees working from home. The shift from office to home has also encouraged an increasing number of fill-in trips and a decrease in stock-up trips.

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Working from home allows a shopper to make a quick “run” to the store for items per meal, versus having to stock up for 1-3 weeks at a time. 

The change of more frequent shopping trips has impacted fresh food sales. This grocer’s move to midweek sampling events is brilliant.

I have also noticed an increase in local food and start-up food entrepreneurs showcasing in-store.

These are great opportunities for all:

  1. The shopper can try a new food product without any financial risk.
  2. The grocer benefits from the higher dollar ring and profitability, which is often the case with a new value-added product introduction. Carrying value-added products, which do not need deep or frequent price promotions, can help to increase a grocer’s bottom-line profitability.
  3. The food entrepreneur. What better way to create consumer awareness and trial with a minimal financial investment and time commitment? And also, a great way for company founders to engage directly with consumers for feedback and product requests and improvements.

Today, I had the opportunity to meet Brianne and Ryan Bucki, the owners of Fit Butters. They are just one example of new on-trend, value-added products sampled at my local store.

I had an opportunity to meet them and hear their story. Congrats to them and to the retailers who are supporting them and growing their own sales and profitability as a result. Check out their products and story at:

How might your store benefit from the change in shopping days and frequency? It is brilliant for this grocer to conduct sampling events on the weekdays. Sampling events are a cost-efficient way to create awareness of a new product and gain terrain.