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The Pros And Cons Of Product Sampling: Why Do We Do It?

Product sampling is a popular marketing strategy. Customers love the opportunity to try something before making a purchase, while brands gain an opportunity to increase their reach and introduce their products to potential new customers.

Distributing samples can be an effective way to create brand awareness, generate interest and drive sales. The first step? Learning all about product sample marketing.

The next? Reading this article.

This article will explore the pros and cons of product sampling, examining the benefits and challenges companies may face when implementing this marketing approach. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of this strategy can lead to better-informed business decisions.

Pros of Product Sampling

As with any marketing strategy, the advantages of product sampling can vary significantly depending on your campaign’s specific goals and objectives.

There are many different approaches to sample marketing, and every decision made by a brand will influence results. However, businesses interested in product samples can expect a few of these benefits:

Increased brand awareness

Product sampling can help create awareness about a brand and its products.

The strategy can be used during the launch of a product or even if the item is updated or slightly changed. Once customers receive or have access to the product, they become more familiar with the brand, deciding if they want to make a purchase in the future.

Results on brand awareness will depend on how a company distributes its products. However, a sample distribution strategy can significantly improve the reach of a brand.

Trial and conversion

Sampling allows potential customers to try a product before committing to a purchase, which can increase the likelihood of conversion.

Customers get to opportunity to try a product first, experience its benefits firsthand and then decide if they want to spend money on it.

A report by Arbitron and Edison Media Research reveals that 47% of people who are offered a sample will eventually buy the product. If consumers are already familiar with the brand, the conversion rate is even higher, with 85% of people making a purchase.

Positive word-of-mouth

Customers who enjoy the sampled product are more likely to share their positive experiences with others, leading to positive word-of-mouth marketing and potential referrals.

Word-of-mouth is a powerful marketing strategy, as people take recommendations from friends and family very seriously. People who love a brand will also become brand ambassadors, encouraging others to purchase a product.

Distributing samples is an easy and effective way to encourage positive word-of-mouth.

Market research

Product sampling can also serve as a form of market research.

Brands can send products to potential customers and ask for feedback. The opinions and suggestions of people who have tried a product are much more valuable, as they have firsthand knowledge and experience.

With feedback, companies can improve their products and marketing efforts, reaching an audience that is more likely to buy and recommend the brand.

Competitive advantage

Offering product samples can give companies a competitive advantage.

As discussed, customers are more likely to purchase a product they are familiar with. If they have received a sample, they will be more aware of the brand and its products. Samples capture the attention of potential customers and give the brand an edge over competitors.

Targeted marketing

Companies can strategically distribute samples to their target audience, increasing the chances of reaching potential customers who are more likely to convert into loyal buyers.

Depending on the sample distribution strategy used, brands can reach customers interested in the product and want to try it themselves. As a result, marketing campaigns are more effective.

Cost-effective marketing

Compared to other marketing strategies – such as traditional advertising – product sampling can be a cost-effective way to create buzz and generate interest in a product.

As mentioned, product sampling can be targeted to customers who have already shown an interest in the brand and are more likely to make a purchase. As a result, marketing efforts are more precise and effective.

The strategy can also lead to word-of-mouth marketing and other types of organic marketing and reach.

Trial size packaging

Sampling allows companies to package their products in smaller, trial-sized portions, reducing production costs and minimizing waste.

Through smaller packaging, brands can better understand how receptive their audience is to a product and what needs to change before producing bigger versions.

Brand loyalty

When customers have a positive experience with a product sample, they are more likely to become loyal to a brand and continue to make purchases.

Product sampling is a great way to improve customer satisfaction and encourage people to discuss the product with friends and family. The happier customers are with a product, the more they buy and recommend it.

Cross-selling opportunities

Product sampling can also open up opportunities for cross-selling, as customers who try and like one product may be more inclined to explore other products from the same brand.

The strategy is also an opportunity to partner with like-minded brands to reach similar customers, creating an even more cost-effective campaign.

Cons of Product Sampling

Although product sampling has many benefits, the strategy can also present a few challenges and drawbacks, especially if campaigns are not carefully designed.

Brands interested in a product sample approach need to consider the cons of the strategy to ensure that campaigns run smoothly and samples are distributed effectively.


Although highly effective, distributing samples can be an expensive marketing strategy. It involves production costs and the costs associated with distribution, staffing, and logistics.

However, it is possible to reduce costs by developing a targeted strategy and reducing the number of samples. Working with a specialized company will help you optimize the costs of your campaign.

Learn more about the costs of product sampling and how to reduce them here.

Potential for limited reach

Product sampling may not reach a large audience, especially if samples are distributed in specific locations or events.

However, if the distribution is targeted and well-directed, it can be a lot more effective than other marketing strategies, reaching people who are most likely to make a purchase.

Potential negative feedback

This is not necessarily a downside, but something brands should be prepared to handle. Customers might not like the product and have negative opinions about your brand.

The negative feedback can help companies make some much-needed changes or can significantly harm a brand’s reputation. It all depends on how brands will respond to negative opinions.

Measuring ROI

Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of product sampling can be challenging, as it may not directly result in immediate sales or conversion.

Digital campaigns can help with this challenge, providing customers with a purchase link and tracking customer behaviour.


If product samples are distributed too frequently or in large quantities, it may result in over-saturation and diminish the product’s perceived value.

Product sampling must be well-planned and fit a purpose.

Resource intensive

Implementing a product sampling campaign requires careful planning, coordination, and resources, including logistics and tracking. All of this can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

For this reason, working with a company like Odore can make a significant difference in your marketing efforts. As experts in product sampling, we can guide your campaign and ensure challenges are overcome and everything runs smoothly.

Our experts can advise you on how to approach product sampling, what method to use and how to reach out to customers.

Regulatory considerations

Product sampling may be subject to various regulatory considerations, such as health and safety regulations, labelling requirements, and legal restrictions. Complying with these regulations can also increase the complexity and costs of your marketing campaign.

Working with experts in product sampling can ease this challenge.

Potential for limited control

Companies may have limited control over how customers use the samples, which may not always align with their intended marketing message or positioning.

Providing customers with clear instructions or developing effective messaging can help with this particular challenge. It all depends on the product and how other marketing efforts complement the product sampling strategy.

Sustainability concerns

Product sampling can generate waste, especially if the samples are single-use or not properly disposed of.

Choosing environmentally-friendly packaging or developing a targeted campaign can reduce the impact of product sampling on the environment.

Potential for brand dilution

If the product samples do not meet the quality or expectations of potential customers, it can lead to brand dilution and a negative perception of the brand.

Samples must have the same quality as the original product to give customers the same experience they will have if they purchase the item.

How to Overcome Product Sampling Challenges

Product sampling can be a powerful marketing tool for businesses, and its challenges should not discourage brands from venturing into this strategy. Working with an expert in product sampling can help companies avoid problems.

Companies like Odore can help brands identify their target audience and develop a sampling program that is specifically designed to reach potential customers.

Since sampling can be a logistical challenge, an expert company can manage shipping, storage, and distribution, saving time and resources. Experts can also guide brands through the legal requirements of producing samples.

By leveraging the expertise and resources of a third-party company, businesses can maximize the impact of their product sampling efforts and achieve their marketing goals.

Final thoughts

There are many advantages to using product sampling to promote an item and increase the audience of a brand. However, this marketing approach also presents a few challenges.

Working with an expert product sampling company like Odore can help businesses overcome these challenges and maximize the impact of their product sampling efforts. Odore’s targeted sampling programs, logistics management, compliance expertise and capabilities in gathering feedback can help brands avoid the pitfalls of product sampling and enjoy all the benefits.

Contact us and unlock the full potential of product sampling.

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