Product sampling: Is this marketing strategy worth the investment?

In the eyes of a consumer, free samples are obviously worth it, but what about for the business? Jeremy Freedman, managing director of Guardpack, tries to answer this question.

With Opinion Research Corporation discovering that 81% of consumers are more likely to try a product after receiving a free sample, it would seem so.

When considering sampling as a viable marketing strategy, there is a wide variety of pros and cons to go through. For many businesses in the garment sector, however, the pros will vastly outweigh the cons.

Below I outline the various pros businesses can find in sampling.

Create a familiarity with your brand

Whether you’re providing a free single-use sustainable wet wipe sachet or a sample of your decorated garment, this works as an excellent way to get your product into the hands of potential customers, ultimately expanding your customer base.

Many potential customers require this sort of hands-on experience in order to fully appreciate a product’s value. Following the excitement of receiving the sample, there is a much higher chance of further purchases coming through. Aside from the fact that you’re surely offering a high-quality product, this decision will be made based on familiarity and loyalty.

Cheaper than other marketing strategies

Going down the route of traditional advertising will be far more expensive than product sampling. Not only this, but in many cases, it will arguably be less effective.

It goes without saying that, if someone is being sold to, they want to receive something of value in return. With this near-universal logic in mind, it stands to reason that exchanging a sample of your product for the potential of gaining a new, loyal customer will provide a better outcome than outbound marketing.

Furthermore, product sampling goes beyond investment in exposure; it’s an investment in loyalty.

Customers love an element of mystery

Curiosity alone drives an awful lot of consumer purchasing decisions. You can incorporate this alluring tactic into your online sales by simply developing a range of samples bearing your branding – enamel pins, for example – and stating that these unidentified gifts will be included in larger purchases.

Remember that, in many cases, the mystery is the essential element, as known offers typically perform worse than surprise gifts. Mystery is, after all, undeniably appealing.

Do you need to clean out your inventory?

Not everything can be a huge success, so you may sometimes find a few particular items clogging up your inventory. If it’s just not selling, perhaps it would function well as a sample! Aside from functioning as an exciting freebie for customers, it may also reignite interest in the product itself. If the latter isn’t achieved, however, you will at least come across as generous in the eyes of the consumer. This will heighten your brand’s reputation and gain further customer loyalty, ultimately making you more money.

Boosting sales!

We’ll end on perhaps the most straightforward reason to test out product sampling. As with virtually any marketing technique, it costs money to give out samples, but it’s likely to make you a whole lot more in return. In fact, the majority of brands that implement sampling campaigns receive a sales boost of anywhere between 71% and 600%!

While it’s certainly true that none of the above can be guaranteed; and that you will always have those customers that just wait around for the freebies; or that some brands simply don’t produce products that are easily sampleable, the prospective benefits of the method certainly make it worth trying if you’re in a position to do so!

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