Sampling Goes Online, Too, in Pandemic Era

Acosta's consumer marketing division is teaming with a technology provider to offer at-home sampling
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Sampling Goes Online, Too, in Pandemic Era
Acosta offers at-home sampling through partnership with tech provider.

In-store sampling, which essentially ground to a halt during COVID-19, doesn’t seem to be picking up anytime soon. According to findings from Canadian technology provider Sampler, more than a third (36%) of shoppers do not planning on sampling products in store in the future, even after health-related restrictions are lifted.

Because sampling is such an important sales tactic, giving up on the concept isn’t an option for some who are pivoting to another version of getting consumers to try products. Acosta, an integrated sales and marketing provider in the CPG industry, announced this week that its FrontLine Marketing business unit is launching an online sampling program.

The new FrontLine Marketing @Home program is a digital, direct-to-home sampling program that moves consumers from trial to purchase and allows for a dialogue with retailers. The program uses a platform from FrontLine’s technology partner, Sampler, that engages shoppers in a network spanning a reach of 59 million.

"Sampling is a tried-and-true strategy to drive trial and conversion, but the pandemic permanently changed the availability and approach of traditional in-store sampling programs, making it much more difficult for CPG brands to reach consumers," said Derek Bowen, president, marketing services, North America at Acosta. "It was important to Acosta and FrontLine Marketing to develop a solution that helps CPG brands get noticed as consumer priorities continue to evolve — and our new program does just that.”

Added Trey Geiger, director of strategic partnerships at Sampler: "As consumer behavior has transformed over the past year, driving targeted trial and gathering valuable consumer data and feedback is more critical than ever."

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