Sampling Services

Sampling Agency of Record / Multi-Project Management Services

  • The Sampling Store is unique in the industry because of its parent, CoOptions, allowing us to both bring strategic thinking and provide end-to-end solutions to each project from planning through post-execution.

    We provide printing, packaging, over-wrapping and fulfillment / shipping services to optimize your budgets, streamline projects and save you time and money.

    For companies that have large sampling needs with multiple executions, we also provide full program management services as your “sampling agency of record,” even negotiating and handling executions with other sampling companies, and often saving you on those.

Production & Fulfillment Services

  • For more than 35 years, IPI has provided promotion packaging services to companies ranging in size from multi-national Fortune 500 companies to smaller regional businesses.

    IPI is uniquely suited to cater to a price-sensitive promotions industry that relies on innovation, flexibility and efficiency in order to be successful.

    For the past 25 years, IPI has been more than a vendor to Co-Options’ for printing, overwrapping and fulfillment services, they have become our trusted partner and a key part of our supply chain.

    Centrally located in Minneapolis, IPI is ideal for staging and shipping and IPI also serves as our mid-west fulfillment and shipping center.

    If your sample requires overwrapping, packaging, sealing or fulfillment, let us quote with IPI to provide cost-efficient, end-to-end solutions for your sampling programs, usually saving you significant expenditure on both overwrapping as well as shipping finished product to our facility.

Custom Venue Development

  • Some of our clients want something very specific, a venue or touchpoint developed just for them.

    Sometimes venue development is focused on one specific program; whereas other times networks are developed for a project but become part of our own portfolio of offerings.

    An example of the former was our PowerBar® Harvest® campaign and the development of Jamba Juice as a host touchpoint.

    An example of the latter was our Playtex Sport® campaign at college campus sports & fitness centers, which became the basis for our development of the Campus Sports & Fitness Network of 600+ colleges.

Sampling Compliance

  • Sampling compliance is at the top of our list for every sampling project, large and small, for which we deploy multiple measures. Compliance measures vary by touchpoint and can include some or all of the following:

  • Multiple pre-program communications and executional field guides

  • UPS ground transit shipping confirmations

  • Compliance call checks to 10% of all venues; escalated if any issues identified

  • Venue research with compliance submission incentives

  • Opt-in consumer research to validate distribution spreads and other compliance measures

  • Program hotline for touchpoint accessibility

  • Live intercepts and photo journalizing

  • Use of Juster Scale metric for purchase intent and optional longitudinal research to validate

  • Other compliance tactics specific to special needs of clients and venues

Consumer Research

  • Consumer research to generate insights is something of which we are passionate, so we bake it into every project. Consumer surveys are opt-in, hosted on secure servers and consumers are incented with modest cash and other rewards to drive participation. We collaborate with your team and draft a full research study for brand input and approval. In addition to demographics, we cover:

    • Brand awareness and usage history
    • Category purchase behavior
    • Competitive brand usage and preferences
    • Category product attributes/benefits importance ratings and brand ratings for multi-attribute analysis
    • Retail / channel shopping behavior and preferences
    • Open-ended feedback (good, bad, and ugly)
    • Up to 6 custom brand-provided questions

    We also offer optional longitudinal research (additional cost) to re-survey half of the respondent base to both validate Juster Scale based purchase intent scores and track actual conversion. At the conclusion of your project, we provide a detailed recap and research analysis with photos, touchpoint location ratings and open-ended feedback, insights and recommendations.

Opt-In vs. Opt-Out and Project Mgmt

  • Many of our clients ask us to explain the difference between opt-in and opt-out for touchpoints conducting a sampling program, and why some of our networks operate differently.

    For corporate networks, opt-in is typically automatic when approved at corporate (e.g., Life Time Athletic, American Airlines, etc.). For some of our networks, participation is all or predominantly opt-in (e.g., independent airport stores, college gyms, ski resorts).

    An example of one of our networks that require opt-in is our Yoga & Pilates Network as attitudes towards the type of sample acceptance varies widely within the network based on a variety of product factors (e.g., Natural, Organic, no animal testing, company that produces the sample makes another product they do not like, etc.).

  • For our older, long-standing networks (e.g., Access Health, Yoga Studio Network), we run a hybrid of opt-in / opt-out through multiple communications, to ensure that some of our networks locations:

    1. Can tell us to make sure we include them for a particular program; and
    2. To give every location the opportunity to opt-out of a particular program (or a category in general)

    We are also asked how we to run our projects so smoothly and efficiently and keep to approved timetables. We do this by integrating multiple project management, research, and communications software into our own seamless gate-and-release executional system.