Have you ever been in a store or o an event and seen a usherette tray? These trays are often used to offer samples of food and drink or products, or to sell the products direct. Usherette trays or sampling trays can be an important part of a purchasing process in some situations, and can influence customers’ decisions about what and when to buy. In this blog post, we will discuss how branded usherette trays influence purchasing decisions, and see how this relates to some key marketing theories.
What does the theory say? Usherette trays and the Engel-Kollat-Blackwell model
Thinking about how an usherette tray with a strap can work in a decision making and buying process, the Engel-Kollat-Blackwell model of consumer behavior is a widely used framework for understanding how consumers make purchase decisions. The model consists of five stages: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
Problem recognition is the first stage of the model and occurs when the consumer becomes aware of a need or want that can be satisfied by a product or service. For example, a consumer might recognise the need for a new pair of shoes when their current pair starts to wear out.
Information search is the second stage of the model and refers to the process of gathering information about potential products or services that could satisfy the need or want identified in the previous stage. This information can come from personal sources such as friends and family, or from public sources such as advertising and marketing materials. Seeing a branded usherette tray at this point e.g. at an event could motivate a customer to come a look at the products and ask the person holding the tray about them.
Evaluation of alternatives is the third stage of the model and involves assessing the different options available in terms of their ability to meet the consumer’s needs. This stage often includes comparisons between similar products or services in terms of features, price, quality, etc. Having a usherette tray or sampling tray with just your own products in, prevents customers from looking at alternatives, so making it more likely they’ll buy from you.
The purchase decision is the fourth stage of the model and is when the consumer decides to buy. Usherette trays are portable and visible and and can be on the spot when a person makes a decision to buy, or can sway a decision to buy or try. This leads into the idea of unplanned purchases and impulse purchases.
After purchasing, comes the fifth stage of evaluation whether a product delivered satisfaction, or not, and how it may fit in with experiences of other similar products. Distributing products samples in a branded sampling tray can a fast way to take buyers through this stage and, to an extent, be there to either help influence their experience.
Usherette trays / vending trays / sampling trays prompting impulse purchases
Branded usherette trays can prompt impulse purchases or impulse trial of products.
The Hawkins Stern buying model suggests that there are four stages to an impulse purchase. The middle two stages of ‘reminder purchase’ and suggested purchase’ are where sampling trays and vending trays can really show their value. Branded usherette tray with samples (or products) can act as a promotional reminder to customers, thereby prompting an impulse purchase or impulse trial of a products. Also, the sight of a branded usherette tray, or the ability to try product samples from a branded sampling tray can also prompt impulse purchasing. It could also contribute to the fourth stage of that model, i.e., planned purchases in future.