Should Your D2C Strategy Include Product Sampling?

Product Sample in eCommerce
(Last Updated On: June 12, 2023)

If you run a D2C (direct-to-consumer) business, convincing your prospects to make purchases is everything. For that, you have a variety of marketing strategies and materials, ranging from online Google ads to in-store discounts and more. But product sampling can be the secret weapon you haven’t yet unleashed.

This guide will explore the benefits of using product sampling in marketing campaigns and how to offer customers these samples.

What is product sampling?

Product sampling is the marketing practice of offering sample products to your target audience.

For example, say you run a company selling fitness drinks for athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Many athletes will only put things in their bodies if they know they can trust those products (and the products provide them with real results).

Product sampling in eCommerce

Getting consumers from that market to try out your brand can be tough, particularly if it’s in the first few months of your D2C business’s life. However, you can potentially convince those consumers by giving them a free sample of your fitness drinks/shakes.

Then, once those consumers try your product, they become convinced that it’s right for them and voluntarily make future purchases. Think of product sampling as an investment for the future income you hope to gain from your customers.

Product sampling is often used in retail businesses, as it’s easy to provide free samples to patrons who walk through the door. However, product sampling can be used in many different industries.

Many tech companies actually already practice product sampling in this way, offering free trials or discount periods to convince on-the-fence buyers of the worthiness of their products. Take Instamojo for example. Not only can you sign up for free, you can also ask for a refund after 14 days of a subscription if you are not satisfied. 

A medical software company might offer medical clinics access to their patient communication software via a free trial so they could test it with their patients.

The Benefits of product sampling

There’s no denying that product sampling is an important part of modern marketing and customer outreach.

In fact, approximately 35% of customers are more willing to make purchases after having had a sample of a specific product.

But what advantages might your brand see if it starts offering product samples to its target audience? There are three big benefits to consider.

1. Boosts brand awareness

Firstly, product sampling can lead to significant boosts in brand awareness. When your business is just starting, maximizing brand awareness is vital. After all, you want your target audience members to be aware of your brand and to consider shopping at your store instead of a competitor.

Through product sampling, more people try your products and see your brand logo, imagery, and packaging. In this way, not only do you potentially get a new customer, but you also get some extra marketing “for free” with product sampling.

Related read: How to build a brand for your small business: Tips and practical examples

2. Increased Likelihood of Purchases

The primary benefit of product sampling is an increased likelihood of purchases from customers who try your stuff. If your brand offers sample products, those customers might be more likely to buy those same products in the future.

There are good reasons for this. For one, people are more likely to buy something that they’ve already tried once before. They’re also likely to buy something that gets a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. Here is a short piece that discusses the powerful effect of word of mouth marketing for new businesses. 

If you give your products out as occasional samples, those who try those products (and like them) will be much more likely to return to purchase them later.

Even better, they could be inspired to tell their friends and family about your business, which is an invaluable benefit, especially for startups.

Read More: 5 Unconventional social media platforms for small businesses to sell on

3. Chances to gather feedback

Lastly, product sampling allows you to gather effective feedback from your target audience.

Getting customer feedback can be difficult, even in the best of times. But if someone approaches your retail sample desk or tries a sample product some other way, you can ask that customer for feedback on the sample right then and there.

Many customers will be delighted to provide their feedback and opinion on sampled products, especially if they know the product in question is still being developed. They might like the feeling that their feedback is taken seriously.

Ask for feedback via quick surveys or short notes to maximize engagement.

Related read: How to build customer​​​​ trust online: 8 solid ways

How to offer samples to customers online

There are many different ways you can offer samples to your customers. For example, if you run a retail location, have a small desk or station set up near the entrance to the store. Then have one of your employees offer free samples to your customers as they enter or exit the location.

This is particularly good if you have a business offering perishable goods, like food and beverages, which is why many restaurants and grocery stores have sample stations.

But what if your D2C business is online? In the eCommerce world, you can still offer product samples by including them in purchased products’ shipments.

Say that you have an eCommerce store selling skin care products. Each time a customer makes a purchase, include a free sample of a new or up-and-coming product in the package.

That way, you take advantage of the fact that you are already shipping something to a customer, plus guarantee that they will take a look at the product and give it a shot.


Product sampling eCommerce

This is a stellar strategy to expand the product preferences of your customer base and boost brand awareness for new products you plan to launch in the future.


Every brand that wants to be successful should try product sampling at the earliest opportunity. Whether you provide samples to online or retail customers or both, product sampling can help you capture new consumers, spread your brand far and wide, and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

Try offering product samples today to see the above benefits for yourself. Exciting to put this marketing strategy to work? Sign up on Instamojo, the one-stop D2C tech company for all your eCommerce needs.

Try the Instamojo experience

This article was written by a guest author. Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full-time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.

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