How can you find ways to allow your customers to try before they buy? How can you entice them to buy your new product? Sampling and demonstrations!

See the Sampling & Demonstration Guide for the comprehensive approach to this topic.


Sampling and demonstrations are great ways to entice customers and potential customers. Give them a sample or a demo of your product and you’ve reduced the risk of purchase. They’ll already know they like it.

In our experience at Starbucks, for every 5 samples handed out, we would see 1 purchase of the full-sized item. A 20% conversion rate, just for handing out a bite-sized cookie or 3-oz latte. Pretty awesome, huh?

Sampling increases sales by initiating trial through exposure to new products, and eliminating the fear customers might feel in trying a new product. No one wants to spend $20 on a bottle of wine they might not like. They’d rather try it first, and then make a decision.

Aside from increasing sales and exposure, sampling also helps to differentiate your brand from your competitors. “What makes your French fries so good?” – “Here, try them and see!” Easy as that.

The best part is, it doesn’t take much to set up a good sampling “station.” Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sample of your product (if it’s food, make it one-bite-sized, if it’s another type of product, like hand lotion, make it single-use-size).
  • Knowledgeable team member to hand out the product / talk about the product
  • Tray for product
  • Sign for product
  • Full-size products nearby
  • Curious customers

So, get your employees excited about sampling and set a schedule for when you’ll sample (in-store and out-of-store).

And don’t forget to make it active or interactive. Don’t just set samples out on the counter for customers to take. Walk around the store or restaurant, sampling to people in line and sitting down telling them what you’re sampling. If you have a new product to demonstrate, get the customer involved!


Try This

The most effective is sampling a taste of your products. Have a new muffin, ice cream flavor or milkshake? Sample it. Make sample sizes, put in sample cups, put them on a tray and head out to to sample your product to customers in store and on the sidewalk in front of the store. You’ll entice new customers to come in.

Samples to Take Home

At Starbucks we would pre-grind coffee and package in the proper portion for a customer to make a single pot of coffee at home. We’d also provide at-home brewing instructions. We would give them away to customer who bought brewed coffee, at Grand Opening Events and at coffee seminars.

Product Demonstrations

At Starbucks we would do brewing demonstrations on the brewing equipment and allow customers to make their favorite beverage. This “free” beverage allows the customer to experience how to use the machines. It often leads to the purchase of a machine.

If you’re a clothing retailer, consider doing demonstrations on how to tie a bow tie or scarf.

Wine tasting and seminars are great examples of in-store sampling and demonstrations.

Photo Source: flickr.com/photos/br1dotcom/6163475299