There isn’t anyone who doesn’t love getting free products, samples and goodies. Product sampling can enhance their shopping experience, let customer interact with your product, provide a solution to a problem or enhance value to their lives. In other words, when done right, product sampling can lead to great results.

What is product sampling, and does it work?

Product sampling refers to the practice of handing out free products to shoppers when they visit your store. This enables them to try and test your product and have their own experience with it, rather than reading about it in advertisements.

A study conducted by Arbitron and Edison Media research Company suggested that 35% of customers who sampled a product bought it the same day, while 26% bought it immediately.

Most of the times, it does not matter whether the product is old or new. By providing a free sample, you are allowing a section of customers to experience and enjoy a product that they may have never had. By virtue of sampling, you have created a demand in the market by customers, who had not experienced the product before.

Various sampling methods 

Indirect sampling 

In this form of product sampling, there is no interaction between you and the customer. Usually, brands team a product sample with another one of their products from the range. It could either be in the form of a product bundle or shop representatives handing out products during a store execution

This method is effortless and adds value to the other product you sell to your customer. Essentially, you are offering your customer more by giving them a complimentary product with a product they always planned to buy.

On the other hand, due to no interaction between the brand and the customer, brands do not get feedback. This means you cannot ensure if the customer used the product in the right manner, or if they used the product at all.

Some brands, when indulging in indirect sampling, provide emails and contact detail son the package to receive feedback from the customers. This opens up a channel of conversation if customers wish to contact.

Direct Sampling 

In direct sampling, you are not letting the product overpower the marketing experience completely. This promotional activity involves having a salesperson with a pop-up shop giving away samples to customers to try out. Of course, the salesperson would explain the working of the product, and this way, brands will not totally eliminate themselves out of the marketing activity. These packaged products, although received by customers, do not ensure that the customer has actually tried them, they could lose or misplace it. Also, there is almost no direct feedback with dry sampling.

In wet sampling, these representatives go around the store and offer samples to customers for free. For example, a coffee brand can set up a small pop-up in the coffee aisle of a grocery store and offer free samples of their products.

Offering your product for free seems a lucrative option from the perspective of the consumers. There is nothing more a customer would be impressed or attracted by than a free sample. If your brand is not a food and drinking brand, you can take to providing small samples of your product to customers as a dry sampling activity. Food and drink, bakery items make the best contenders for direct sampling, others meanwhile can be offered to the customer through indirect sampling too.