Bad LSM: Passive Sampling

 In Drive Trial, Good-Bad LSM

In our series “Good LSM, Bad LSM,” we share real-life examples of both good and bad Local Store Marketing (LSM) we see as we’re out and about to help you in your marketing and sales driving activities.

This week, we’re sharing a bad example of passive sampling from a restaurant. Before we share the photo, let’s review both active and passive sampling techniques. Active sampling means that there is an employee either handing out samples, or attending a sampling station. In addition to offering samples, they also provide information about what customers are trying. Passive sampling means that samples are left for customers to help themselves, and the “stand” is  typically unattended except for refilling and maintenance.

Bad LSM Sampling


In this example, the food is left unattended, surrounded by lots of menus and flyers. And the samples are covered in a chafing dish, meaning customers have to open it up to see what’s inside. Without a helpful employee there to tell customers about the samples, it seems likely that customers with either:

  • disregard the sampling station as they don’t know what’s inside, or
  • grab and go without stopping to learn about the restaurant.

There are instances where passive sampling does work. A great example: the nibbles of cheese at Whole Foods that are strategically placed right next to the full-size versions of those cheeses. This type of sampling often encourages the customer to pick that sampled cheese over other cheeses, since they have tried it and (presumably) liked it.

Whole Foods Cheese Sample

But, for the restaurant above, active sampling might be a better tactic. With a friendly and inviting employee there to greet potential guests and tell them about the food they are sampling, we bet that an undecided customer would be likely to take a chance on this restaurant for lunch or dinner.


See more in the “Good LSM, Bad LSM” series here, and share your examples with us below!

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