Category Archives: Vendor Trays

Food sampling and tasting – what factors make the difference?

When it comes to your sampling activity, what are the things you need to get right?  It’s a question you need to ask yourself when you are deciding on the details of your sampling campaign, and there are a few factors to take into consideration. Here some tips for your next campaign…


It’s important to know what drives purchase decision making with your brand, and how your customers typically buy your product on their normal supermarket shop. If you are clear on this it becomes more obvious as to where to position your sampling station.

For instance do you need to educate people about the taste or health benefits of your product in order to generate trial? If so, then it maybe better to stand outside the store, where you have access to all the supermarket’s shoppers for the day – outside provides a wider opportunity than the aisle.  If you were in-store you would only have exposure to customers in the aisle in which you were positioned, and if a customer does not walk down that aisle then you may have lost that potential sale.

Some products could be positioned in more than one aisle – heading to the front of the store or outside means you’re not pigeon-holing your brand.

Positioning and Hardware

The position that you request from the store manager may not always be the position you get. So remember to be as specific as possible, including the amount of space you require for your stand. Your need for power will also determine your floor allocation. If you can be self sufficient and not need power your options are improved. Most sampling agencies will have a good relationship with the store manager and should be able to get a premium space for you.

Cadbury Demonstration Table - Displays 2 Go

In-store demonstration table at the end of an aisle.

Not all stores allow mobile sampling, but it’s well worth considering for a new product, as you can then roam the store and actively target your ideal purchaser rather than more passively hoping they turn down your aisle! Remember, if you are mobile sampling it’s important that you have the right sampling trays to be able to showcase your product effectively and efficiently. They must satisfy store OHS requirements as well as being easy for the sampling staff to use, and of course must look fabulous!

Conversion to purchase

The conversion-to-purchase metric is what it’s all about, sometimes!  Many companies run sampling campaigns to sell more products. But if it’s a new product then perhaps trial is the key and actual purchase less necessary in the early days.

Let’s look at a potential sales scenario for a moment:

For example if we had a 100 samples in-store and we achieve 20 product sales this means our conversion to purchase would be 20%.

Simple right? Well yes and no. This is our conversion-to-purchase, but you need to be clear that if you are based in-store you will only have access to customers that are shopping in that aisle, therefore your total sample volume will be a lot smaller than being positioned at the store entrance. When you are not near the point-of-purchase your conversion rate will be reduced.

Some figures from a recent supermarket campaign investigated both positions on different days, and the results were interesting. The outdoor sampling at the store entrance gave away 1200 samples with a conversion of 4%, achieving sales of 50, in the aisle they achieved 620 samples and a 7% conversion rate, or 43 sales. As you can see from the figures the brand achieved more new customers from being positioned at the store entrance than in the aisle on this occasion.


We are lucky that technology allow us to really follow up on marketing campaigns, and the data we can collect from the supermarkets is fantastic. It not only enables us to collect sales data prior to sampling day but also data from two weeks after. Giving us trend data on consumer behaviour, and hopefully an increase in sales as a result of the sampling campaign. Feedback from the staff conducting the sessions can also help you understand any nuance in product trial numbers for each sampling session.

product measurement

Understand how effective your campaign has been with data.


We all know that staff can make or break a campaign, so make sure your talent understand the objectives of the campaign and are knowledgeable on the product.  Ensure they are aware of where they are sampling, and if they are mobile make sure they have product nearby to re-stock.

Damage can easily be done to brands via poor quality staff, so invest some time in mystery shopping them from time-to-time to make sure they are doing a good job. Agree terms with your sampling agency before the campaign starts. For instance, the number of no-shows acceptable throughout a campaign. Agree the proportion of ‘poor’ mystery shops before remedial action is taken – don’t leave it to chance, make sure your sampling agency has ‘skin in the game’ too.

Exhibition staff

Ensure your staff are engaging like this Shell Rep.

Investing in sampling does not need to be costly, but it is important to understand your shopper and to know where the best position is for your brand. Make sure the hardware is fit for purpose, looks good and portrays the right image. And spend the time briefing your staff – because they will make the first impression!

If you require any advice or need a demonstration table or sampling tray for your next campaign then check out our website at


Promotional Pricing

One of the major factors in any purchasing decision is price. We all know that everyone likes to think that they got a bargain. So, in any promotion, pricing is an important part. Firstly, you need to decide what the perceived value of the item is and then what consumers will be willing to pay for it. Once you have this figure in your mind it is easier to create a promotion. Price promotions come in all shapes and sizes these days as we have to take into consideration the online shopper as well as the ‘physical’ shopper.

Promotional pricing

For instance, to encourage consumers to buy a product, you may offer:

  • Instant money off
  • Future coupons / online vouchers
  • Free product trial
  • Free shipping and delivery
  • Competitions

However, depending on the consumer group you are targeting it is often better to bundle offers to get people to purchase now and afterwards. To this end, bundling is becoming increasingly popular.  It is gaining traction as a very useful marketing tool as it enables you to target selected audiences by giving them the offerings that they will be most receptive to. This reduces the amount of time and money spent on implementing promotional programs down the line.

For example if we were promoting a new yogurt we would probably want to run a campaign that encouraged consumers to participate in a free trial.

Physical Consumer – Taste and Purchase

Displays 2 Go Demonstration Table

This could be done by having an in-store sampling team handing out free samples, perhaps accomplished by either setting up a portable demonstration table or employing one of the mobile sampling units such as a vendor tray or the click stand. The promotional talent would then be able to talk to the consumer and after the trial, offer them an instant reward of a money-off voucher to use in-store.


Online Consumer – Sign up and Taste

Sampling Promotions

Offer consumers the chance to get a free sample of the product either delivered to their door or with an online voucher that can be used when they shop online or can be scanned at the checkout. They can only receive this by going onto the website and registering online. This way you get the consumer’s details and are able to market to them again in the future.

Both methods work well but the key difference is who your target audience is and what they perceive the value of the product to be. Many members of generation Y would not flinch at giving out their email address whilst other generations would prefer the ‘here and now’ approach of tasting and receiving an instant reward.

Displays 2 Go have a wealth of experience when it comes to sampling-campaigns so next time you have a new product to get out into the marketplace give the team a call and let’s see how we can help make a difference.

New Product Launch

Displays 2 Go - New product launch blogThere are many ways to launch a new product into the marketplace and businesses do it every day, but only a small proportion are successful. What steps can you take to increase your chances of success and make a greater impact in the marketplace?


Review your product before launch

There are 3 key areas you need to review before you launch the product to market.

1. Evaluate the readiness of your company to support rapid growth. Do you have the staff, production and customer service structures and protocols in place?

2. Reviewing the product itself at this stage is imperative. We all know that there is a natural tendency to over-hype the product initially, so make sure your rosy view of the product is backed up by thorough testing and consistent results.

3. Evaluating the marketplace will have been an ongoing exercise and market research provides vital information that will help you launch your product. Humans tend to suffer from something called confirmation bias; that is we often seek out data and sources that confirm our views and ignore or place less value on those that don’tObviously it is crucial that you are honest with yourself, and that the research truly does indicate that there is a market for your product.

If you are not sure about any of the above probably delay the launch. You only have one chance to make a buzz in the marketplace and you can’t afford to waste it.

Displays 2 Go - NPD Blog


Plan your launch 

To launch a product successfully you need to know your marketplace and have a plan. To help deliver this you will need to review a few things.

Competition – this is a vital part of your success. It can help you identify and shape your product and give you vital information about how and where your product will sit in the market.

Target Market – outlining the specific demographics and behaviours of your target market will help with the planning of your launch strategy. Not only will  it provide a picture of what your “typical” customer looks like it will help you target those who are most likely to purchase.

Marketing Strategy – a well planned approach with a variety of marketing channels will give you the best coverage possible. Make sure you use all the data you have collected above and then use a multi-faceted approach to reach your customer.


Displays 2 Go - NPD BlogExecute the Launch Event

Once you have a plan in place and the launch date is circled on the calendar it’s time to start thinking about what ‘pre-launch’ activities need to be fed to the marketplace to get the best reception for your new product.

Promote Early – It’s important to get the name of your product out into the marketplace early so customers can recognise the name on launch day and potentially purchase it. Let well known editors, bloggers, experts review your product to whet appetites and generate some excitement.

Be creative – If you want to launch your product in the marketplace with a bang you need to think outside the box and be creative. Ensure that you are creative in the way you express information.  Whether it’s through social media, infomercial or video, you need to stand out from the crowd.

Be Social – Social media has changed the way we think about marketing and it has amazing power if used well. Ensure you generate conversations around the product by using compelling content and imagery.

Displays 2 Go - NPD BlogInvite to the Post Launch Events

People get invited to go to the launch of a new film but not everybody gets invited to the after party. The after party is where you have to ‘work it’ to stay on top and be front of mind and it’s no different with a product launch. Post launch events are what makes the product a success so be sure there is easy access to the product and the information on it, whether it’s free trials, videos or product demos.

Free trials and giveaways are a great way to get your product out into the marketplace. People love a freebie to take away with them and if it’s of a generous size or value your product will maintain its impact longer.

Product demos and sampling can deliver instant results, especially if the product is food and you are sampling it within a supermarket. Research indicates that 1 in 4 people who try a product will go on to purchase it. With this in mind make sure that the hardware you are using to showcase your product is well designed and branded. Does your product need to be mobile to gain the attention of your customers by using a sampling tray, what cooking/preparation facilities do you require to showcase your product, do you need a large demonstration table or small? It’s essential that you have the right equipment for the job as you only get one chance to make an impression.

Displays 2 Go - NPD Blog


Review what worked and what didn’t

With all launches it is imperative that you review your strategy and see what media tools worked for you. Look at what gave you the best ROI and what gained you the most engagement with your customers. Once you have all these facts and figures then work on building the brand and customer base with regular promotions and research.

Displays 2 Go - NPD BlogHELP

Displays 2 Go is Australia’s leading manufacturer of in-store demonstration and sampling equipment. We understand DISPLAY and we’re enthusiastic about creating impactful and effective materials that promote your products at launch events and in the marketplace.

With an outstanding range of products, a clear understanding of the marketplace and custom built designs that provide the perfect solutions to meet your needs, isn’t it time you gave us a call?

Call us now 1300 240 250





Supermarket sampling is a fantastic way to gain product trial and sales, because it happens right at the point of purchase.  Research suggests the conversion rate of the free sampling efforts yielded a conversion rate between 25 and 30 percent, meaning that at least a quarter of those who tried a free sample ended up buying the product.

So why do we do it?

First, offering a quality product as a free sample not only gets your product out in the marketplace it also makes the rest of your inventory look good.  So make sure that you are sampling one of your best tasting products.

Second, if you’re entering the marketplace with a very unique product – one that may be difficult to describe – giving free samples will help your potential audience get a taste for the product and spread word of mouth.

Things have changed!

In the old days product sampling consisted of a table and a pull up banner, and that was about it.  Now things have become much more sophisticated, as both brands and supermarkets have realised that in-store sampling creates an entertaining customer engagement, educates the customer and provides them with added value in store.  In-store sampling stands now feature header cards to optimise visibility, cooking and serving facilities, interactive displays, and various promotions to add interest.

But they are still a passive medium in that they rely on customers to stop and approach the table.

Displays 2 Go - Sampling traysThe tables have turned though (excuse the pun!). Supermarkets now allow suppliers to sample products in mobile formats.  This means that demo staff can roam around the store, actively targeting the right kind of customers – both gender and age specific.  The same applies to malls – no longer do demo staff have to stand within a mall booth, they can now move around the mall searching out the perfect target consumer.

Displays 2 Go has been producing vendor or sampling trays for around 5 years now.  They come in many shapes and sizes, and indeed many of them are bespoke due to the requirements of the product and the sampling situation.

There are a few key elements though:

  1. The tray will often be quite heavy when fully laden, so its important that the tray is well balanced and the strapping is sturdy and comfortable to wear.  Normally the trays feature web straps that go over each shoulder, as well as sometimes an additional waist strap to support the tray.
  2. The tray needs to stand out despite being a much smaller surface area than a sampling stand/kiosk.  Some of our trays feature a skirt to give them a larger front surface on which to advertise.  Others feature 3D graphics that really stand out beyond the borders of the tray itself.
  3. Displays 2 Go - Vendor TraysIf the tray will be carrying a number of sampling essentials such as product, or cups/plates/napkins etc etc it will start to get pretty cramped, so we often include a die cut tray which holds various elements in the right place and creates a more appealing, organised look when standing in front of a customer.  It also makes life easier for the demo person, who has each element stowed in the right place, so there’s less chance of spillages etc.
  4. Depending on overall weight, sampling requirements, budget and intended lifespan, sampling trays are produced out of durable plastic & acrylic, or cheaper Corflute.

For companies with more complex brand portfolios, we have created generic plastic trays which can be customised for each brand.  Simple face strips allow for brands to be interchanged at a moment’s notice, plus various insert tray options allow for each brand’s exclusive sampling requirements.

Displays 2 Go - Click standIf your product is too heavy but you still want to get mobile in-store then the Click-Stand could be a solution.  The Click-Stand is a mobile sampling unit that is on wheels and can have a sampling tray attached to the stand enabling the demo staff to still move around the store and target the right people.

If you’re looking at a sampling campaign for your brand, then talk to us about your options, and make sure you’re targeting the right people and getting the optimum conversion to sale you can.  We can not only advise you on the best sampling method, but also assist in ensuring you have the right sampling staff.

HELP! A beginners guide to in-store sampling

D2G - eyecatching stand

As one of the foremost suppliers of sampling trays and demonstration tables in Australia, we want to help you get the most you can from your in-store sampling campaign. There are a few things to consider, so here’s a helpful round-up.


Both Coles and Woolworths have extensive guides on what you can and can’t do in their stores. It’s best to do your research early as these stores are important to your business and your brand.  Don’t blow the relationship in the early stages by not following the rules.  Grab a coffee, your iPad, a comfy chair and then click these links!

Coles Instore Demonstration Guide

Woolworths Instore Demonstration Guide


Think about what you want this campaign to achieve. Take a look at the options below and pick ONE primary objective then focus on delivering against it. Here are your choices:

    • Sales
    • Awareness
  • Trial

You’ll desperately want to pick more than one, but that can get confusing. By knowing what you want from this campaign, you’ll be able to measure your success and make certain choices much easier.

Optimising Sales 

D2G - Supermarket in-store Make sure you have sale product on or near the demonstration table; you’ll want your sampling staff to encourage shoppers to select it then and there as part of their script. We recommend you include a coupon in your planning.  We find this works better than an in-store special, because you physically give the shopper a coupon and they feel they need to use it there and then! Make sure you count the number of products on the shelf at the beginning of the in-store shift and the products on the table, and then count them at the end so you can measure just how amazing the shift has been! Make sure everyone does this for every shift and then start a competition to really drive those sales up!

Maximising Awareness

D2G - Weis Yoghurt Retail Demonstrator In-StoreUse a good sized table, perhaps with a banner over the top. You want to grab attention and get your brand in people’s faces. Think about how you ‘cut through’ the clutter of brands and people in the supermarket. People tend to shop on auto-pilot so you need to work extra hard to get noticed. Think about doing something different or quirky. Perhaps have your sampling staff dress up a little differently or consider some giveaways that get your brand in people’s homes.

Gaining Trial

Displays 2 Go - Vendor TraysWhy not consider not having a demonstration table at all! This is where our Vendor trays come in really handy. Instead of passively waiting for shoppers to approach your table, with a vendor tray or mobile trolley you can actively target the right demographic with your product.

If you have to have a table, then consider a secondary ‘hand off’ stand, which is a simple branded plinth where you place your tray of samples. This allows you to keep your main table as working space while your prepared product sits close-by, yet easy for shoppers to get to.D2Go - CarryBag  This hand-off stand can have shelves included so as to provide an extra space for off-location merchandising.

Sampling Kit

You want your sampling staff spending all their time actually in-store with your product, not walking backwards and forwards from the car park. So, keep your kit well packed and easy to transport. Most of our tables are designed to fit into a supermarket trolley and be quick to set up and dismantle – no fiddly screws and no tools required!

Site Safe

Most supermarkets require sampling staff to have Site Safe passes. After you’ve spent hours booking your shift, don’t fall at the first hurdle by not having accreditation or by leaving your pass at home. Generally it’s an easy online course, so there’s no excuse!


Think about the size of your table and what you’re doing at the table. If you’re sampling dry goods, then you might not need much space. Go for a smaller table because you’ll have more flexibility over where it can be set up. Remember that if you need electricity, then your location and the timing of your shift will be severely limited. Most stores only have a couple of ‘powered D2G - Cooking Instoresites’ so book early to avoid disappointment!

If you’re cooking on your stand, then think about how ‘on display’ you want this to be. Perhaps the microwave can go under the table if it’s not a key feature of your product. We can tailor our tables to your requirements, adding shelving and heat retardant materials where necessary. We can also conceal cables too so that everything looks neat, well organised and appetising!


Investing in sampling equipment is a big step. Don’t go for permanent graphics which can’t be changed. Instead, invest in hardware once and then change out the graphics panels when you need to. Consider our new fabric graphics panels which are easy to use, super lightweight and can be washed over and over again so your table always looks brand new!

Measuring Success

D2G - Measure successThink about how you measure your campaign – don’t just rely on hearsay. If you want to count how many people you spoke to, then count your coupons at the beginning and end and be sure to give everyone you speak to a coupon! If your campaign is all about sales, then count the products on the shelf before and after. If you want to know what people think about your product, then have two bins for their paper plate, one marked LOVE IT and then the other marked YUK perhaps! If you want to grow your database, then run a Free Prize Draw, inviting people to fill in a card and post it in the box – but make sure the prize is worthwhile because generally people don’t stop for long when they’re on a shopping mission.


Think about your target market and think about when they go shopping. If awareness was your initial objective then make sure you’re in the supermarket at it’s busiest time – perhaps a Friday night or a Saturday morning. If your target market tends to be older and retired then they often avoid the supermarket at these times, preferring a mid week.  Do some research and ask the store manager to make sure you’re in the right place, on the right day at the right time. If kids are your target, then go for the after school slot around 3pm onwards.  Twenty-somethings will often go shopping on a Thursday or Friday evening after work because they have other, way-cooler stuff to do on the weekend!  D2G - Timing

It’s tempting to agree to any in-store slot that is offered to you by the supermarket, but why waste the opportunity – better to wait for the right time and day so you optimise your shift.