In-store sampling has been one of the most proven marketing strategies for brands to engage and reach out to consumers. It drives trials, builds awareness, and boosts sales for brands. Trying a product involves no obligation or perceived risk for consumers, so they are more open-minded and are willing to give the product a chance after they get a free sample. They are more likely to buy a product they've tried rather than one that is foreign to them. A lot of the brands credit sampling for helping them establish their brand through a more physical, face-to-face shopper interaction. However, the physical aspect is what makes in-store sampling a difficult practice for the foreseeable future with a plethora of changes in the overall retail environment post-pandemic and the increasing propensity of online buying by consumers.
So with diminishing in-store sampling and interactions, brands and consumers are both adapting and finding new ways to discover and engage with each other. One of the ways that allow brands to give consumers a physical experience of their product in a contactless manner is digital sampling. The relevance of digital sampling has not only increased drastically amid the new stay-at-home culture, but also it is emerging out to be one of the most efficient ways for brands to directly reach out to their most relevant consumers leveraging the digital data and insights. By taking a direct-to-home approach, brands are reducing their sampling pilferage and operational challenges to a great extent. For many upcoming and growing D2C brands with zero or limited store presence, digital sampling has become the most powerful medium to deliver their product experience memorably and more safely to their potential consumers.
As brands continue to adapt their marketing strategies and consumers continue to move towards online purchases, one thing is certain: consumers still want to try new products, but now in a safer in-home environment. A digital approach to product sampling is a great opportunity for brands to get creative and elevate their branded experiences. From DIY instant meals to the new stem cell face mask to the new aromatic coffee body scrub, brands are now designing unique product experiences for consumers and delivering them right at home for their potential buyers to try. One brand very familiar with the merits of in-store sampling - Maybelline, also leveraged the power of digital sampling at scale in a recent partnership with Smytten. The brand was able to target the right set of users for sampling, assess product feedback and also execute innovative campaigns for re-engagement post-trial. Smytten aims to build relationships between brands and people via data-driven sampling and curating new trial experiences.
When consumers get the opportunity to try a product, they also get a chance to intimately interact with it by tasting, smelling, and experiencing. This creates a sentimental bond that is more powerful than any other media exposure. By the means of sampling, brands can create a stronger first impression with a high-quality branded experience uniquely and memorably.