REIMAGINING SALES SAMPLES: A NEW, FULL-SERVICE OFFERING FROM 3D COLOR
I’ll open with a question to my CPG colleagues: How many times have you or your team been thrown off course by a fire drill getting sales samples for an industry event or customer meeting? Thought so.
As strategic business partners and comp producers, we at 3D Color have a particularly vivid line of sight to the challenges brand owners face when it comes to sales samples. Time and again we’ve seen organizations work tirelessly, and brilliantly, to realize a product — only to stumble through the last mile of sample procurement in a
flurry of frantic texts and courier fees.
When we step back and reflect, the reasons for this are obvious. Packaged goods companies are built to produce efficiently at scale – massive volumes with longer lead times. Sales samples, in contrast, require just the opposite; quick fulfillment of small-volume requests, often on a customer’s whim. And while full-scale production relies on
well established plant, warehouse and facility processes and protocols, sample procurement usually depends on one busy brand or design manager wrangling diverse production functions single-handedly. Not only is this approach inefficient, but it’s also frustrating since logistics coordination usually falls outside a brand/design manager’s sphere
of expertise and professional passion.
Ultimately, coordinating sales samples has much more in common with the comp process than with full-scale production. That’s why our team at 3D Color has decided to invest in solving the problem ourselves, leveraging our core competencies and relationships in design, production and logistics to introduce an entirely new offering.
This spring, we’re excited to announce the beta launch of 3D Color’s full-service sales sample program. We’re combining our legacy graphics expertise with partnerships in refrigerated and frozen warehousing and transportation to support the entire continuum of sales sample production and delivery. Our clients will access these services through an Amazon-like app-based portal that allows brand owners to order exactly what they need, when they need it, for streamlined precision delivery to the location of their choice.
We’ve embraced this challenge as a logical next step in the expansion of 3D Color from a specialized graphics operation to a full-service strategic and logistical partner dedicated to accelerating brand growth. By filling a longstanding operational gap, we’ll help companies better meet customer needs, eliminate fire drills and keep their valuable marketing talent focussed on the work they do best. In addition, we’ll lower costs and reduce waste by facilitating nimble, just-in-time fulfillment of right-sized sample orders.
When discussing this vision with close CPG colleagues, I’m often met with raised eyebrows. “Managing samples is the worst — why would you want to do that?” is a common reaction. My answer is simple: For marketers, coordinating sales samples is a frustrating and inefficient distraction, but it’s incredibly important. For us, it’s a natural extension of what we’re already built to do — and we want to solve important problems for our clients. We see a future for CPG where this particular pain point vanishes, and we’re ready to make it happen.