Active vs. Passive Sampling

 In Build Awareness, Drive Trial, How To, Marketing Plan, New Store, Planning

Over the past two weeks, we’ve introduced you to the idea of sampling and product demonstration as a way to increase your sales. By putting on a good show, customers will be more willing to try (and buy) your new product or service! Today, we’re going to cover the two different types of sampling: active and passive.

Active Sampling

Active sampling means that there is an employee handing out samples and/or attending a sampling station. In addition to offering samples, they also provide information about what customers are trying and can be the “face” and personality of your brand.

active vs. passive sampling

We like active sampling because customers will be more engaged with your employees and are more likely to purchase your item due to that personal connection. Also, having an employee there to answer questions or help the customer make a decision is a great point of sale for your business.

While a live person is more engaging than an unattended tray of samples, it’s also more expensive. You have to schedule an employee for active sampling, and if you have a small staff – this means that other (non-sampling) employees have to pick up the extra work the sampling employee might be doing.

Passive Sampling

Passive sampling is when samples are left out (on a tray or in another container) for customers to help themselves. These trays are typically unattended and just require refilling and maintenance to keep them looking good.

If you’ve got good signage and can keep the sampling area looking clean and full, passive sampling could be a good option for customers that are looking to grab and go (especially when you keep the full-size version of the product right next to the sampling station).

On the other hand, customers might overlook a passive sampling station if they don’t understand what the product is, or don’t notice it. Plus, if they are confused and there’s not an employee there to answer questions, they might just forget the product all together.


Which type of sampling has worked best for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!


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