Share

More and more brands today are turning to product sampling marketing campaigns to generate user-generated content (UGC) and to boost awareness and conversions. Product sampling campaigns put your product right in front of your customers and lets them try it out before buying. 

When it comes to awareness, sampling can inspire conversation about your products and brand among shoppers, both online and in-person. In a recent Bazaarvoice survey, 57% of online shoppers say they’ve purchased a product they heard about on social media. For conversion, sampling can generate ratings and reviews to drive sales on and offline. 

A well-done sampling campaign can activate your brand and reach customers across your full sales funnel by sparking social content and increasing ratings and reviews, which is important because about 93% of consumers say online reviews do impact their purchasing decisions.

Whether you’re an existing brand launching a new line or a brand executing its first launch, sampling is a great way to generate reviews and social buzz around your products. Regardless of how established your brand is, online buzz will help your products sell quicker and provide greater shopper confidence. 

Some product sampling campaigns involve brands sending customers or social media influencers products for free in exchange for a review or social media post. This allows customers to easily try a new product at no cost to them and drives content that influences other shoppers. It can help you quickly collect reviews for new products, build brand loyalty, drive traffic to your website, and create buzz among the marketplace.

There are many different types of sampling campaigns you can take part in. It all depends on your product, your goals, and your customers. 

4 types of product sampling campaigns

Sample boxes 

Sample boxes through platforms like TryIt and Influenster let brands send individual products and curated product sample packages to a targeted set of customers, respectively. The goal of sending samples is to spark a trial and create a conversation about your product online. These boxes are a great way for brands in any industry to get the word out about their products. There are three types of sample box programs we recommend and offer to brands. 

  • Co-op boxes: In a Co-op box, you’ll share space with 4-7 other brands in a themed, monthly box reaching a large audience. Co-op boxes help you drive awareness, generate high-quality social content and reviews for a single product, and provide new product introductions and promote awareness for hero products. This is popular in the food and beverage industry where samples are placed alongside other snacks and in the beauty industry where samples are included with other non-competitive products
  • Custom boxes: A custom sample box is dedicated to highlight your brand and products. Custom boxes are ideal for showcasing your brand to your ideal buyer and collecting insights about new products, customizing the volume and the audience for your campaign, and generating high-quality reviews and social advocacy for one or several products
  • TryIt sampling: TryIt sends individual samples to community members who fit brands’ target demographics. This allows customers to easily try a new product at no cost to them and drives content that influences other shoppers. It can help you quickly collect reviews for new products, build brand loyalty, drive traffic to your website, and create buzz among the marketplace.

In-person sampling

One of the best-known programs in the product sampling community is in-person, hand-to-hand sampling. This is when a brand representative physically hands a sample to a potential customer. This method is common at grocery stores or large events, like conferences. In-person sampling is a good way to raise brand awareness. If your goal is to get more UGC, this probably isn’t the best strategy. After all, how many times have you tried a new ice cream sample at the grocery store and then written a review about it when you got home? 

Samples for sale 

Beauty brands, like Drunk Elephant, have started putting sets of samples (or “minis”) for sale on their websites. This allows customers to try out smaller, budget-friendly versions of new products before committing to the full-size. Sometimes, these sample sets come with a coupon to buy the full-size product at a discount. For example, Sephora offers shoppers a “Perfume Sampler Set” that includes 13 samples of fragrances as well as a coupon to redeem the full size of the customer’s favorite fragrance from the box. This sampling strategy is all about conversions. The goal is to turn someone into a repeat customer by getting them to visit a retail store or go online for the full-size version of a product. 

Customer freebies

Sending freebies to existing customers is a great way to raise awareness about a new product your brand is launching. With this type of sampling programs, brands will enclose a sample of the new product in a customer’s existing order shipment. This helps increase awareness about the launch but also gets you more conversions. Once they use the product sample, customers will hopefully come back to your site and buy the full size if they love the product. 

Which sampling program will you choose?

To determine which sampling program is right for you, consider your product and your goals. Perishable products lend themselves to more person-to-person sampling, while items like chips, drinks, beauty products, and clothing can be shipped. Also, think about the costs for each type of sampling campaign. The heavier your product, the more it will cost to ship. You could consider having customers do an in-store pickup in this situation, but making the process harder for the customer might affect participation in the campaign. If you choose to go the sample box route, know that the cost typically comes with a better, targeted list of customers. A program like Influenster gives you access to customers who have already been vetted and are more likely to love your product. 

Once you’ve picked your program, choose a good sampling provider. Working with multiple shipping and fulfillment providers gets complicated.  One sampling provider that can manage the whole process for you, so you can focus more on product strategy and customer relationships. 

Whether you’re an existing brand launching a new line or a brand executing its first launch, sampling is a great way to generate reviews and social buzz around your products. Regardless of how established your brand is, online buzz will help your products sell quicker and provide greater shopper confidence.

Interested in running a sampling program? Let’s get in touch. 

More posts