Product sampling has come a long way from tiny lipsticks taped to magazines.

Digital innovation has enabled the growth of e-sampling, allowing brands to launch product sampling campaigns online as well as enhance in-store sampling effectiveness. 

But how effective are free samples and what are the benefits of sampling products for brands?

Create personalised product trials

One of the key benefits of product sampling for brands is the opportunity to trial new products and marketing strategies.

For example, a brand may want to attract more Gen Z customers and may be developing a new product to appeal to this audience. 

Using free samples, they can see if their target consumers respond well to this new product and use the response from the trail to inform their research and development. And, if using A/B testing in their campaign, as offered by Odore, they can also work out how to most effectively market their product.

But product sampling is also an opportunity for brands to build more meaningful relationships with consumers through personalised interactions. 

Experiential marketing activities like online quizzes not only help brands better understand their customers but allow them to personalise marketing so consumers feel seen and understood by businesses. It also means beauty brands can make sure the samples they’re sending are going to those who will be most receptive to them.

Odore makes launching personalised product trails and sampling campaigns easy with our drag and drop campaign builder. We also offer branded product sampling, giving brands the option to create custom packaging and individual inserts for their campaigns.

Gather valuable feedback from customers

Another big benefit of free product samples is the ability to gather valuable customer feedback.

Sample reviews not only help in shaping product development and marketing strategies, as described above, but can be used to increase brand presence and reputation if reviews are positive and shared online.

User generated content has become increasingly important in beauty marketing: research conducted last year in the US found that 99% of consumers always or sometimes read ratings and reviews when shopping for beauty products online, and 85% when shopping in-store.

And 41% of beauty consumers reported relying more on reviews than they did before the outbreak of the pandemic.

Odore makes it easy for brands of every size to collect customer feedback through follow up thank you emails that encourage consumers to submit reviews. Brands can choose to use prize incentives to increase uptake and can also opt to have customer reviews published on their website or on social media.

Analyse campaign data

But it’s not just about what customers specifically tell you.

Consumers speak through data too and one of the reasons e-sampling is such a powerful strategy for brands is the ability to gain granular consumer data from sampling campaigns.

In today’s digital age, failing to gather data is fatal for brands and agencies - it’s turning your back on insights about emerging industry trends and consumer priorities and preferences. Not to mention the ability to hyper-target customers at scale.

Odore’s integrated analytics tools mean high-quality data is automatically collected whenever you launch a sampling campaign.

This data helps businesses easily analyse campaign performance as well as build out customer segments to cater to individual customers and improve performance in the future.

ROI of free product sampling

Product sampling has a cost, of course, but it delivers results.

In fact, research from Euromonitor International found beauty samples are the third-largest driver of full-size product purchases.

And our own data shows that customers are four times more likely to buy something once they have interacted with it in person.

Product sampling ROI comes in both short-term and long-term forms. In the short term, consumers are encouraged to buy a product if they’ve seen it work for themselves and sampling also taps into the reciprocity instinct - which prompts consumers to become customers after getting something for free.

But there’s a longer-term ROI too. As outlined here, free product samples help boost brand awareness, allow businesses to reach new audiences, provide the foundation for personalised marketing and give brands critical insights about product reception and consumer priorities.

And e-sampling data arms brands with point of purchase statistics that can help them strategically allocate resources in the future.

The value of all these benefits means a well-executed campaign will pay for itself many times over.


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