Testing new products in an experience-economy setting
Gone are the days that fast moving consumer goods manufacturers had to rely on people in white lab coats to find out what consumers crave or hate. FMCG colossus Unilever has opened up Ola ice-cream stores in Turkey and France, Lipton tea kiosks in the UK and Unox soup shops in the Netherlands.
Not only do these outlets promote new products and bring in revenues, they also provide valuable information about customer preferences and behaviour, and all this in an experience-economy setting.
For manufacturers that can’t or don’t want to set up their own branded, urban kiosk-cum-labs, a Dutch company called Sample Kitchen (the company is no longer active in The Netherlands) set up ‘Try-Me’, a 100m2 sample-store in a shopping mall in Hilversum, near Amsterdam.
Manufacturers can have their products tested for roughly EUR 10,000 per month (source: foodpress.nl), with shoppers enticed with free samples and tastings.
In exchange for the freebies, customers will answer some quick questions about taste, and will be asked for suggestions. The results are passed on to the manufacturers, helping them to decide whether to discard or adjust the product, or to leave it as it is and roll out a huge marketing campaign.
Try-Me wants to expand to Belgium after a first results evaluation, but Springwise suspects that this would work in virtually every shopping mall and street around the world.