Sampling

why it works: the psychology of product sampling

Feb 17, 2022

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Product sampling is essential to growing any business. Free samples not only foster brand and product discovery, but appeal to consumers on a psychological level. Consumers are drawn to free samples due to the low-risk, and in-turn, due to the law of reciprocity, they are more inclined to perform behaviors that are beneficial for your brand – such as leave ratings & reviews, purchase products, and become brand loyalists.

reciprocity: the psychology of sampling

According to Healthcare Success, the law of reciprocity is defined as “an obligation—often a strong feeling—to do something in return when someone has done something for us. There is a tendency to give something back, buy something in return, or feel a pending obligation.” When a consumer receives a free sample, they naturally feel the need to return the favor or pay the brand back by completing an action, whether that be leaving a review, making a purchase, or remaining loyal to the brand.

brand and product discovery:

Product samples are one of the top ways that consumers claim to discover new products. According to a study by Stella Rising, in 2021, 58% of consumers discovered a new product by receiving a free sample.

risk aversion

Trying a free sample allows consumers to try something new without any risk or obligation, therefore they’re more inclined to try a new product.

ratings & reviews: incite confidence

98% of consumers feel that reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions.

PowerReviews: Survey: The Ever-Growing Power of Reviews

98% of consumers feel that reviews are an essential resource when making purchase decisions.* Reviews have become one of the most important factors in a purchase decision as they instill confidence in first-time purchasers and attribute credibility to the brand and product. Keeping reciprocity in mind, when you offer a consumer a free sample, they’re more likely to complete an action, such as a review.

71% of consumers also consider recency when reading reviews, with 34% looking for reviews that are between a week and a month old.

PowerReviews: Survey: The Ever-Growing Power of Reviews

71% of consumers also consider recency when reading reviews, with 34% looking for reviews that are between a week and a month old*. Consistent product sampling campaigns are a great way to build and keep reviews fresh for existing products, build buzz, and instill confidence in buyers for new products launches.

loyalty: reward consumers and build strong relationships

Providing consumers with a free sample can also foster a relationship and long-term brand loyalty which will fuel future purchases. For example, brands can introduce products to new audiences that are unfamiliar with their brand or reward loyal consumers with access to free samples of new or existing products.

Interested in learning more?

Download our full guide, Product Sampling 101, for more information on sampling strategy best practices.

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