Product sampling is alive and well – and driven by local shops

26th October 2020: New research has revealed that Covid-19 has not dampened consumers’ enthusiasm for in-store promotions based around product sampling: 98% said they still feel comfortable talking to promotional staff and receiving information about new products and samples/trialling when they are out shopping.

In fact, 82% said they are now more willing to stop and hear about new products and take samples compared to the start of the year, as they now have more time to consider and try out new products.

As for where shoppers prefer to sample these new products, more than half (57%) want to do so at a local shop near their home – 40% inside the store and 17% just outside.

Of those consumers, a quarter (25%) say they now tend to use their local shops more as they have realised how convenient they are with a good range of products. Almost as many (24%) say product sampling is a great way to ring the changes and see something different when they’re popping to their local shop.

In addition, one in five (20%) highlighted that they now appreciate their local community more and have got to know the people who run their local shop.

The survey was carried out among more than 1,000 UK shoppers by behavioural communications agency HeyHuman. It also canvassed around a hundred local retailers and found that nine out of ten (91%) plan to run the same number of, or even more in-store promotions now, compared to pre-Covid.

Liz Richardson, managing partner at HeyHuman, notes: “Local and independent shops have fast become the backbone of the Covid-19 shopping experience. They’re the source of much-needed items and a key part of the UK’s growing sense of community as we strive to beat the pandemic.

“Because people are doing much more of their shopping locally, our research shows there’s a real opportunity to run effective, well-received activations in this channel, one that’s often overlooked by brands. It’s a great way for local retailers to offer new things to try and keep people coming back for more. The brands that understand and tap into these new shopper behaviours are the ones that will do best in our current climate


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