Lessons from two kinds of “push girls”

February 21, 2013

Vitality is a key component of consumer connections and retail success.

In China, for example, “push girls” are a seamless part of bustling hypermarkets.  They stand in aisles to hand out samples of foods and beverages, answer questions about many kinds of products, and induce purchases. 

They’re live, trained brand advocates at the point-of-sale.  Effective there, would they be effective in the United States?  Could they help re-excite brands and stores about the possibilities of sampling?  We’ve all encountered item samplers—often they are mature and bland, and maybe don’t convey the image certain brands want. 

Americans shop differently from elsewhere, so The Lempert Report isn’t advocating for “push girls” throughout center-store.  But we do think food stores could apply a lesson or two from foreign retail to our domestic sampling experiences.   Abroad, the “push girls” are often uniformed or dressed in a catchy way.  At H&Y Market in New York, fit and attractive men and women, often in white kitchen garb, sample kimchi, dumplings and other food favorites of the largely Korean shopper base.  This appeals because the samplers convey vitality and a positive energy that draw people in.

By coincidence, the Sundance Channel in 2012 debuted a non-fiction show called Push Girls.  It has been renewed for a second season in 2013.  Its central characters are four young, attractive Los Angeles women who need wheelchairs for mobility—but are dynamic, outspoken, and overcome adversity with humor and persistence.

Target, Safeway and Walgreens are among retailers recognized by disabilities advocates for their hiring and training practices.  The Lempert Report believes that with role models like the Push Girls, and with momentum leading to new opportunities at retail, the perception of the disabled could change for the better.  Whether in stores, distribution centers, or offices, this would be an inspiring, positive cause to get behind.  We’ll cover this more in a future story.