Brief - The Hustle

Coming to a retail curbside near you: samples, and lots of ’em

Written by Kolby Hatch | Mar 12, 2021 10:39:21 AM

Slinging back samples at the grocery isn’t just good customer service, it’s good business.

In-store samples are a bread-and-butter growth tactic for new consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. The pandemic has put samples on lockdown, forcing upstarts to go curbside.

Recently, electrolyte-drink startup Cure Hydration partnered with Walmart to place its samples in curbside orders at 1k+ Walmart stores.

Cure Hydration CEO Lauren Picasso…

… tells CNBC that curbside sampling has cut costs by as much as 80%, and guarantees more samples in customers’ hands — because who can resist a 2 oz. bottom-bag surprise?

Big brands are stuffing brown bags, too.

General Mills is ramping up production of sample-sized bites to be included in curbside deliveries at Target, Kroger, and Walmart.

Walmart execs have hinted they may start charging for insertion — something subscription boxes have done for years — as the company looks to drum up lost in-store revenue.

Shopping carts are clearly so 2019

Sales of grocery store deliveries and pickups have skyrocketed since the beginning of the pandemic, and continue to remain strong.

According to Statista, delivery and pickup dollars hit a high of $7.2B in June 2020, up from $1.2B in August 2019.

With more curbside sales volume, sampling makes a ton of sense. One study found that samples increased brand sales more significantly than coupons.

So sample on, curbies.