October 29, 2010

Sample Pack Rats

Takahiro Kawano took traditional free sampling to a new level — the ground floor retail level.

He created Sample Lab!   It’s a store that allows consumers to explore sample products, bringing  a fresh concept to “tryvertising”. 
The ‘lab’ is filled with lots of unreleased goods in food, beverage, and beauty products.  
There’s a store front.  A demonstration room.  A woman’s powder room to try out cosmetics.  Experimenting is the key in this lab.
After sampling, members (15 and up who must register) are required to fill out surveys via cell phone.  If they really like the item they may buy it if it’s available.  If not, they can take up to 5 or 10 samples home. 
The brand, designers, and manufacturers use the surveys to improve and tweak their product before release.  Sample Lab!’s unique system not only offers brands consumer feedback but also helps generate word of mouth buzz and excitement for new products. 
The franchise is still young, but Sample Lab! has around 700 consumers walk into the Harajuku store a day!  Stores aren’t located outside of specific Asian countries, but there is definite interest in opening Sample Labs! internationally. 
Anyone up for trying one?