Are you having a hard time reaching out to your audience with your product? Worry not. Perhaps it is time for your brand to distribute free sample products. As per research, 81% of consumers try out a new product after having a pleasant experience with a free sample product. Free samples are effective when it comes to brands wanting to increase their sales. Let us dive in and explore how free sample products can make people buy your products.
What is Free Sample Product Marketing?
Free sample product marketing is about offering products to prospective consumers for free. In domains such as food, health, drink, and beauty, these giveaways are especially effective. Many research agencies think that freebies from these industries cash in the actual revenue, but they work as much for any retailer.
Releasing free sample products into the target market is traction that helps brands gain more customers quickly. It is about getting your products into the hands of those who tend to buy what you are selling. Moreover, people are more likely to try something new if it does not cost them anything.
And, of course, the psychology of giveaways and freebies includes consumers’ obligation when they have been given something. They end up telling others about what they have received for free, who also buy and spread the word about their experiences. When people receive free samples and feel valued, it creates a chain of customers who are more likely to repeat purchases.
Psychology of Free Samples – Why/How It Works For Brands
It Removes Risk Factor
Trying out new products is risky. It’s because most people assume that the new product may not match up to their expectations. They might lose money if the product isn’t what they expected. No one likes that. But when a free sample is offered to your potential customer, the confusion and fear of risking money are eliminated.
The Power of Experience
People remember experiences – good or bad. They remember how they interacted with a specific product, what they may have read or heard about it, or experienced in person. If they have a pleasant experience with a free sample product, they will remember it for weeks. And, if they find that product somewhere, they will not just recall the experience – the taste, feel, or fragrance – they will eventually buy it.
Principle of Reciprocity
The reciprocity rule makes people obligated to return the favor. This happens when brands offer free sample products to consumers. When prospective consumers receive free samples, they feel obliged to return the favor by buying the product. The feeling of guilt takes over when they try something for free. To get rid of the guilt, they buy the product. However, it may not lead to sales in some cases, but they continue to remember your brand.
Do Free Sample Products Increase Sales?
Simply put, yes.
Free Sample Products increases sales up to 90% in some cases, which is why product sampling is still relevant today. Giveaways and freebies kick in brand loyalty and word of mouth, creating revenue spikes. In a study conducted in 2017 by Bringham Young University, researchers measured the spike in sales that several grocery stores and coffee shop chains experienced due to giving away free sample products to consumers. Here are some study findings –
- The in-store shopping experience is not just enjoyable but also beneficial;
- It gave an immediate spike in sales during the giveaway and the following week;
- It improved sales up to eight weeks post giveaway session;
- Repeated exposure to the same set of products caused many people to adopt it;
- It also expanded the sales for other products of the same brand and boosted sales in the product’s category;
- The giveaways were as effective as discounts or product rearrangements; and
- It benefited the smaller stores than the bigger ones.
Benefits of Giving Free Sample Products
Giveaways and freebies are some of the most effective ways to boost sales and drive product awareness. This holds for food, health, drink, or beauty product. People are more likely to purchase products they have already experienced. But if you are offering a brand that people are unfamiliar with, then the free product sampling tactic becomes more effective. Live, on-the-spot demonstrations are delivered to increase the likelihood of people buying your product. Nonetheless, here are some of the significant benefits of giving free sample products.
Increases Likelihood Of Conversion
For instance, if you give away a free sample product of a new perfume your brand is coming out with along with a magazine, anyone who likes it will purchase a full-sized bottle once they run out of the sample. It will increase the likelihood of people buying your product.
Raises Brand Awareness
If a brand is lesser-known, free sample products can bring it into the limelight and raise brand awareness. By giving away a free sample, you put your product and brand instantly before the customer.
Makes You Reach Your Target Audience
If you want to hold a specific audience, you can use free samples to target them. For instance, introducing a beauty product at a Fashion show event can build a following among those attending that event.
Free Samples Create C2C Marketing & Word-of-Mouth
Having a loyal customer base helps market your product. People usually buy products based on recommendations from family and friends. Once a product has a devoted customer base, they tend to like, share, comment, and subscribe to your product on social media and spread their word.
Builds a Buzz
Freebies create a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around your product. You can publicize the uniqueness of your product by giving away free samples. It is a great way to build a buzz around your product.
Drives Website Traffic & Sign-Ups
Giving out free sample products to your desired target audience increased website traffic, which creates a database of quality and prospective customers. You can also offer a free sample in exchange for their email address. These sign-ups can remarkably increase your marketing base and facilitate future sales from ongoing communications.
Builds Trust in Your Brand
Consumers buy from brands they trust. Free product samples enable that sense of trust-building among your customers. It is an essential step to boost sales even though gaining is a long-term process. The element of trust figures when you witness positive press coverage, social media engagement, and word-of-mouth.
But whether you want to launch a new brand or a new product in the market, initial sales can be tricky. So, even when it seems daunting to invest in giving away samples for free, the ROI can be quite significant.
Perishable goods such as food, drink, health, and beauty products attract the most consumers.
How to Use Free Samples to Promote Your Product?
It would help if you remembered some key points to make your giveaway effective. You must –
- Give away an adequate amount of the product to make it worthwhile to the consumer.
- Ensure that they know how to use the product by including instructions if needed.
- Make sure that they know from where they can buy the product – online and offline.
- Ensure that your free sample products land up in the hands of the target consumer – be it in a physical space or an online community.
Besides the above mentioned factors, it is essential to understand that free product samples are, at times, loaned to potential customers. Countertop samples are some examples of how remodelers visualize the product before buying it and installing it. While the samples are too valuable to give away, they enable high-ticket purchases to follow, making the customer happy with his purchase.
How To Get Your Free Product Samples Into Shoppers’ Hands?
Irrespective of the best e-commerce strategies for your brand, you still need to get your product in people’s hands for them to try and provide honest feedback. But there is no one-size-fits-all approach that works. Depending on your sample product, you might want to consider the following options –
Ship Off Samples By Partnering With Common Carriers
Partnering with common carriers is the most cost-effective and reliable way to get your free product samples into the hands of your customers. This is the best fit for perishable or smaller items.
If you check the distribution of your free sample product and have store shoppers physically visit to pick up a sample, you get the product to a shoppers’ doorstep. It is best for items that are bulky or heavy and hard to ship.
White glove delivery is necessary for free sample products that can’t be shipped using common carriers or picked up at a store or those that require installations. As such, furniture or appliances are hard to sample. But it has been observed that when brands chose a white glove delivery option to pair with the program, they generated new reviews for these products.
So, before you begin your free product sampling campaign, you must consider the complexities of navigating through multiple shipping and fulfillment providers.
Why Offer Free Samples?
There are no free lunches. So even if your customers aren’t paying for the free product samples, you definitely are. But given the costs involved, why should you be running a free product sampling campaign? Here are some reasons why –
Builds Loyalty Among Top Customers
Top customers show their trust by regularly buying from you. If you repay this faith by offering free product samples of your upcoming products, it will endear your brand to them.
Reactivates Lost Customers
A customer who has ordered one of your products once or twice but hasn’t come back in a while is a potentially strong candidate for a free sample campaign. Surprise them with a package and remind them about your brand. This will pull them back into your business sales cycle.
If you are selling products that need to be smelt, tasted, felt, or experienced, an online-only sales model can be challenging. In such cases, a free product sample can bridge this gap by educating your consumers at minimal costs.
Closes Sales Deals
At times, customers are interested in your brand but hesitant to purchase because they are unsure of their decision. In such cases, a free sample in their hands can help them pull the trigger and assure them of the worth of your product/brand.
Gathers Reviews And Testimonials
The success of any business depends upon strong testimonials, reviews, and user-generated content. Free product samples in exchange for mentions and reviews help you build up social proof.
Despite your motives for running a free product sample campaign, it is necessary to adopt an appropriate strategy.
To make your free product sampling campaign a success, it must generate sales. Releasing too many sample products is also a waste of your capital if it does not generate the desired revenue. Sampling is tricky, taxing, and tedious. But if it grows your customer base, the effort is well worth it.