One of the advantages of the consumer packaged goods industry is that there is a tangible product that brand owners can include as part of a product pitch. There is nothing like looking at, trying, tasting or using the actual product to help get the message across.
Here are a few tips straight from those who have been on the buyer side of the desk.
Make it easy to review product now or later
If applicable include utensils/cups/applicators etc. incase they try the product with you. Be prepared for an office or store setting.
For perishable food products store packed cold or frozen so they can review later without spoilage.
For food products that are consumed with another product (like a dip), include that food.
Be prepared to leave everything behind for their review at a later time.
Organize the samples so that if they are passed to other team members or reviewed at a later date documents (sell sheets, presentations, product info) stay with the samples, this could mean making a custom bag or box to help samples and documents stay together.
Offer to leave behind multiple samples or send additional to distribute to team members.
Present finished product, not a prototype
Buyers receive products everyday and they want to see finished product as it would appear on store shelves, it is well known that prototypes often differ from actual finished versions.
Be straightforward if your sample is not the final version, this includes processing, ingredients, packaging, size, format, etc.
Put yourself in their shoes
Buyers receive samples continually, make it easy, enjoyable and memorable.
Don't take it personally if they do not review product with you, sometimes they will take product to their team for input, at some companies this is a formal process.
If leaving samples at a store, the challenge is even bigger to make sure the product is treated properly and gets in the right hands. This is where creating a sample box or bag can be useful.
Buyers have a deep understanding of the category, be ready for and open to feedback you might not expect.
A final tip is to avoid being one of the stories we hear from buyers about things like 20 pound sacks of unlabeled pancake mix, random product samples in kitchen containers, and products without any label or background information!
Written By: Venturepark Labs Team