Americans are not very familiar with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Concept gave recourse to the customer dilemma of dropping good money blindly for an untried product. Both wine and olive oil belong in this category.
The process had three dimensions: the opportunity to taste and learn about the product before purchase; reducing waste by refilling the returned bottle with more of the same; building customer loyalty.
It was first introduced in three Farmer’s Markets in Beaufort County, South Carolina. Customers were invited to taste and deliberate over the olive oil at the stand before it was poured from the fusti dispenser into a designer 375ml bottle to seal a $16 sale.
The concept was quickly taken up by specialty grocery stores in selected markets in the Carolinas A refill rate exceeding 60% of sales was seen at all points of sale, a trend particularly important to grocery stores who enjoyed lateral sales from customers returning for refills.
But most importantly, it proved that we were trading a healthful, quality product that suited the unsuspecting palates of Americans.