The ultimate guide for sampling in e-commerce

Sampling does something that no other marketing effort does: surprise the consumer with something physical in their hands. And guess what? It works very well! In this blog we show what sampling means in the e-commerce world and how marketers use sampling in a smart way. Not only to sell more products, but also to reach consumers.

The value of sampling in e-commerce

Fewer stores and more webshops. It seems to be a development that causes product sampling to fall into oblivion. What seems? More than ever, sampling is an integral strategy for marketers looking for engagement with the target group. Sampling brings a number of advantages:

  • You can identify and reward your most loyal consumer;
  • You get useful feedback from consumers;
  • You can estimate when a product is ready for a product launch.

Yet the biggest advantage of e-commerce sampling is the rapid collection of reviews, ratings and other Consumer Generated Content (CGC). Research from the Pew Research Center shows that online reviews are crucial for purchasing decisions. According to the research, one online review of a product corresponds to a 10% increase in the conversion rate. Do you have more than fifty reviews on a product? Then the conversion percentage grows on average by 30%.

The survey also shows that 57% of respondents have purchased a product that they first encountered on social media. More than 66% are more inclined to make a purchase if social media messages are shown on the website with responses from real customers.

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More than 57% have bought a product that they first encountered on social media.

In short: letting consumers talk about your product online is a successful way to increase your conversion. A sampling campaign is a good way to start these conversations. For example, by giving the consumer a sample in exchange for a social media message.

The most common sampling strategies in e-commerce

There are of course many ways to sample a product. Yet it is the objectives that determine what the sampling campaign will look like. Therefore, when creating a campaign, ask yourself the following:

  • What do we want to achieve? (eg brand awareness, brand affinity, more sales)
  • What do we want to know about the target group?
  • How many consumers must receive our sample?
  • How do we reach the right target group?

The last question is perhaps the most important one. You will only benefit from feedback if it comes from your intended target group. So start with your best customers, alias your brand ambassadors. These customers are satisfied with your current products and will, if the sample is satisfactory, tell their network more positive stories about your brand.

With this wisdom, we view the most common and successful sampling strategies for e-commerce:

  • Sampling for review. This strategy therefore focuses on gathering reviews. We know that consumers are affected by this, so this is a great way to increase your competitive advantage.
  • Sampling for product launch. A successful launch stands or falls with word to mouth. You can fuel this advertising with a sampling campaign. Ensure that consumers, brand ambassadors and industry influencers can try out your product for free in exchange for feedback and reviews. Create a buzz around your new product!
  • Sampling for growth in followers on social media. Give samples to influencers to grow your social media. Nowadays everyone has the opportunity to express their opinion through their social channels. Is the opinion positive? Then the network will follow and like your channels. The more followers and likes you have, the faster others will follow your page.

These three sampling strategies offer the best Return On Investment (ROI) for e-commerce companies and can be combined in multiple ways to get the most out of your sampling campaign!

Want to know more about sampling?

Thanks to our many years of experience in the sampling world, we can help you with additional information and advice about your own sampling campaign. Are you interested in a sampling campaign? Please contact us.

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