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Facts about why product sampling is the most effective way to promote new products and increase sales.

As we all know, product sampling is a sales promotion technique that gives an opportunity to consumers to have their first and direct experience with a product and an excellent way for companies to promote new products and boost sales.

It is uncertain when product sampling was used for the first time. Many attribute it to Benjamin T. Babbit, an American soap manufacturer in New York during the 19th century, as the first person to distribute free samples.

Over the years this method of promoting products was adopted by several companies, especially in the food and cosmetic industries.  Companies such as Revlon and Coca Cola use extensive product sampling and lead the field in their respective industries, proving the model’s success.

There are several reasons why this technique persists through time.  It is consistently used to establish brands and their products, both new or old, in a new or unestablished market and can be supplemented by other form of marketing such as advertisement for an even greater effect. If we look at recent research we can see that:

  • 92% of consumers will try a product sample
  • 53% buy the product sample they tried
  • 42% Have switched their brand preference based on trying a product sample
  • 56% like product samples because they are looking for alternatives
  • 77% sat that receiving product sample would motivate them to try another from that brand

Although Product Sampling encompasses many techniques, one of the most effective forms is In-store Sampling.  In-Store sampling is an experiential marketing technique that uses all five senses, placing a lasting impression on the consumer.

According to a well-established study entitled R.I.S.E. (Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness), conducted by the independent research firm Knowledge Networks-PDI, and commissioned by PromoWorks, in store sampling drives trial and sales.

This study showed that In-store sampling raised sales by +177% during the day of the event and +57% after the event over a 20 week period.  The study showed consistently that sampled items saw an average cumulative sales lift of +74%! Comparing the benefits of In-store sampling to its cost effectiveness, creates a compelling argument for its role in successful marketing.

But to achieve these sales numbers, the following factors need to be considered for a successful In-store sampling campaign:

Store Traffic and Location 
Where are the best stores with the most traffic that have the highest potential to sample product?  Each store has its unique characteristics.
What days and times will maximize sampling?  Understanding shopping habit’s is key.

Product Distribution
Ensure product is in the store on the day of the demonstration. The visual impact of large displays is compelling to consumers. Studies show large sale increases on the day of In-store Sampling.

Environmental factors
Visual merchandising and Visual Displays that stand out in a crowded field of competitors. Creative POP Displays for brand awareness. 

Promotional and Economic Effects
Promotional prizes or coupons will entice new consumers to sample the product. Studies show that trail of product leads directly to sales.

The most important aspect of In-store sampling – a solid team of brand ambassadors can be a key factor in a sampling campaign, they are the physical representation of your brand.
A properly trained staff can effectively convey the product and brand image: Product Knowledge to educate the consumer, engage with the consumer to sample product and ensure a pleasant experience and direct consumer to stocked product.

When companies achieve success in all aspects of In-store marketing, the results have proven time and again to increase sales.  In-store sampling campaigns provide immediate value and have a long-lasting impact on sales compared to other sales promotion techniques.  Using all senses to sample product is truly an unbeatable combination!

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About the author, Tatiana Rodriguez

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