Sampling is definitely not a new concept. Still, not many companies are comfortable using sampling methods. Usually, food products and cosmetics use a lot of product samples. We get to taste a lot of food samples at our local grocery and also try out beauty products in the cosmetic section of the department stores.

But there is still a lot of scope in terms of the type of industries that use sampling techniques to attract potential customers. Good examples are the toy and technology industries that can use product samples to show their stuff. Sampling plan can be used effectively as a part of the product management cycle.

The sampling methods, however, are changing. While the more traditional, in-store customer and indirect distributor sampling still occurs, a lot of creative sampling methods are being adopted to promote this concept. Companies are checking out new avenues to allow consumers to test and try their product samples. Companies now directly target bloggers, trend-setters and celebrities. Even as the process evolves, the goals remain the same. A good local example is how the Deacon’s outlets have been dressing the presenters and judges on Sakata. This works as a strong advertising tool.

Here are a few important factors to consider before sampling products:

Decide Why You are Sampling

For a fragrance, it’s the smell. For food, it’s the taste. Whatever your product, you need to have a clear idea of why sampling plan is a necessary part of your marketing or sales strategy. Before you plot your sampling plan, return to your mission and company’s core values to remind yourself why your product is worth a try.
For new companies, sampling gives customers a sense of understanding and experience with an unknown product before they commit to buy it. Frequently sampled products such as cosmetics help consumers know if they are comfortable using them.

Pick Your Product

Once you know the why, the next thing you need to decide is “the what”. For new companies with a single product such as coffee, this decision is simple. For more developed product lines, a few more choices arise.

One option is to vary your product samples. As you cannot always control who gets the sample, make sure it’s going to be something that generally a lot of people will try, like and see results. For companies such as Unilever, which has a potentially large and diverse market, providing differing product samples allows the company to reach out to its target audience with separate marketing for different segments.

Find a Target Audience

Like any other sales tactic, targeting the right audience is critical for your sampling plan. Large companies are advised to divide their market into several pillars to make its extensive sampling efforts more effective.

Entrepreneurial Learning

Use of samples to sell your products is a good idea. By sampling methods your customers or new people will get to know if your product is beneficial or not. Always remember that your end or final products need to be similar to your product samples. Samples help customers decide if they would be using your products or not. Your samples should make customers buy your products. Choose a target audience who will help promote your products if they like it. So start sampling your products to increase your sales.

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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