What are the benefits?
In the food and beverage categories, offering samples is a powerful strategy to drive brand adoption and sales. It introduces your product to new customers, promotes new variety for existing ones, and creates a deeper relationship with your brand.
This practice fosters goodwill with partners, enables valuable customer feedback collection, and can boost sales significantly, often resulting in a lasting 10% to 15% increase in revenue. Additionally, offering free samples tends to increase the likelihood of purchase, and it sparks word-of-mouth marketing as people tend to discuss products they've received for free.
Brands today are adopting innovative methods, including partnering with micro-influencers, collaborating with delivery services like Hellofresh or Blue Apron for sample additions, and utilizing sampling vending machines.
How to get started in retail?
Smaller, independently-owned retailers often appreciate but may not require in-store sampling, whereas Whole Foods strongly encourages and at times mandates it. Typically, a representative from your brand arranges a table setup, provides product samples, and engages with customers for a few hours.
In both scenarios, you are responsible for supplying the sampling essentials, including tables, tablecloths, toothpicks, cups, napkins, and all necessary cookware like thermometers, extension cords, cutting boards, knives, grills, burners, pots, pans, and spatulas. Additionally, bringing signage, brochures, business cards, and ensuring liability insurance is in place is advisable. In contrast, large grocery chains often manage in-house sampling departments that handle display, product, and staffing.
How to get started online?
Digital sampling has experienced significant growth, primarily driven by specialized platforms like Sampler and Peekage that assist brands in distributing samples to targeted customers who have voluntarily provided demographic, interest, and preference information.
This approach enables brands to reach high-value, highly motivated customers, while customers can customize their sampling experiences, receiving products aligned with their interests. While bigger, more established companies might use it to surprise and delight existing customers, for emerging brands, it's largely about increasing awareness and improving their products.