Does Product Sampling Increase Sales?

 In Drive Trial, Increase Frequency, Increase Ticket, Marketing Plan, New Store, Planning

People (and consumers in particular) are creatures of habit. They are set in their ways and like to avoid risk by sticking to the products they know. They don’t want to spend money on things they aren’t sure about, and they generally like to make well-informed decisions about what they purchase.

But, there is one way that you (as a small business owner) can change their behavior and convince them to try (and perhaps buy) your new product – you can sample your new food, beverage, perfume, toy, or dog biscuit. By allowing them to try before they buy, you increase the chance that they will buy. At no cost, the customer gets to see what your product is all about, and make a well-informed decision about buying the full-sized version. This makes customers feel good, happy, and relaxed and your business is a fun place to be where customers can make themselves at home.

Sampling your new products is a way to suggestively sell to your customers. According to Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University, “Reciprocity is a very, very strong instinct. If somebody does something for you”—such as giving you a sample of pizza on a little plate —“you really feel a rather surprisingly strong obligation to do something back for them.” That means, the more sampling you do, the more likely people will (instinctually) purchase your product. We saw this at Starbucks with sampling programs for new beverage introductions.

We think that product sampling tends to be most effective when:

  1. You are sampling a high-quality product (don’t sample the items that are about to expire).
  2. The product you’re sampling is hard to describe or is completely new to the market.

Sampling also increases sales by encouraging customers to return to your location on a different occasion to see what’s new – leading to store growth and overall customer satisfaction. It can help build your brand by making your company stand out from competitors. We love sampling and demonstrations because they provide the perfect opportunity for customer and employee interactions – a great way to begin conversations!

Do you regularly sample products at your location? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments section below!

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