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Do Free Samples Work?

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing Discussions' started by Frank J Wood, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. Frank J Wood

    Frank J Wood
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    I'm starting a handmade luxury chocolates business and am thinking of giving out free samples at the sales point.

    However I wonder if it's worth it as the samples could be quite expensive to give out eg. half a choc could cost anything from 50p to 42p!

    I rarely buy after eating a free sample even when the sample tastes good. My buying decision is more based on my mood then anything else.

    Do others on the forum have positive or negative experiences when it comes to giving out free food samples especially food ones?
     
  2. JennyC

    JennyC
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    I've never received any free food items nor have I tried marketing with it but I have joined and received some non food related freebies and from my experience it does work in getting your name a bit more recognition among the online community. The only thing I'd say you should look out for is having a plan to retain customer attention since giving out free samples is rarely enough and if you don't have a plan on how to capitalize on your giveaway then you risk getting forgotten quickly after.
     
  3. maryannballeras

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    I haven't made any marketing for food yet, but as a consumer, I see this as something positive. Because when you think about it, how can a consumer know how good your product is if there wouldn't be any sort of freebies first? This works especially for new products. This is just my opinion, but I hope this helps.
     
  4. maryannballeras

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    I haven't made any marketing for food yet, but as a consumer, I see this as something positive. Because when you think about it, how can a consumer know how good your product is if there wouldn't be any sort of freebies first? This works especially for new products. This is just my opinion, but I hope this helps.
     
  5. Kayla109

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    Ultimately, I could see the positives outweighing the negatives if you decide to use free samples. I definitely understand not wanting to go overboard with the spending for the samples, but it is a great way to generate some early potential customers. My advice would be to make sure you have a thorough and strategic plan of utilizing them. For example, you mentioned offering the free samples at the sales point. Is handing out free samples going to be a regular/daily perk, or is it just an every now and then perk? That a serious aspect worth spending some thought on. Especially when the cost of the samples are a focal point. I would suggest maybe a private testing panel opportunity. All in the same, you could obtain valuable feedback and possibly some strong testimonials for advertising purposes. Good luck with your business.
     
  6. allswl

    allswl
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    Giving away free sample is a tried and true method of getting more customers. It has been used buy large and small businesses. The key to effect sample give-away is knowing your market and where they are. It makes no sense giving away say milk at a pet store. So before you give anything away go to where your target market goes. Also ensure that your product is of good quality.
     
  7. joshua minaya

    joshua minaya
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    Given out free samples to me is a good idea but what i recommend is that you should not give out too much free samples that would hurt your sales. Another thing you can do is to place a timeline for the period that the promo would last.
     
  8. Baker

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    I have a product that it is suggested to let the person sample first and then they will purchase. This method has worked well for others but not so much for me. I give samples people see the difference in the pain they are experiencing and still do not purchase from me.

    For a food item I would make the sample a small sample and give it a try. I purchase sometimes after I have had a sample but most of the time I do not purchase right away.
     
  9. SpikeLobster

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    For me, free samples are overrated. Like you, they rarely encourage me to buy, especially with food - most of the time, I avoid free food samples because of the associated "buy now!" pressure. Unfortunately, a lot of online marketers have been pushing the idea that free samples are the holy grail of advertising for a long time, which means that people believe they work, even when there's no evidence of success.

    On the other hand, samples must work because so many companies offer them. Look at the beauty products industry - the Marionnaud chain in France generates enormous amounts of business by freely giving out echantillons (samples) of products. Compare that to British chains who treat them as if they're treasured goods that are only available to the most valuable customers (who spend a lot) - it's no surprise that in the UK, the big names find it a lot harder to spread the word of their products!

    Personally, I'd go for a middle ground - I'd offer free samples to specialist reviewers. I did this with my book when I published. You keep your costs down because you're offering a specific, limited amount and you improve your ROI because you're offering them to people who will write about (and therefore market) the product - you're not giving away 80% of your samples to greedy fat-ass shoppers who just want a freebie. Target some of the more general sites with high profiles as well (food sites, etc.) and offer them a small sample box.

    You could also offer a free sample with every purchase via a voucher. Do a bit of marketing along the lines of "buy a gift box and get a free gift for yourself" or something. Coupons are a great way to generate interest by offering a small discount or a freebie.

    And along the same lines, how about working something out with local florists or online shops selling associated goods? Send flowers, we'll throw in a small box of chocs. Offer the florist a bulk price, reduce your profit to almost nothing, but get publicity.

    Loads of options. Hope it helps. :)
     
  10. Theo

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    I used to work in marketing and organized campaigns with sampling and it does work, however the experiential side is to get people to give feedback on the product and to get people to sign up on social media. You can then email them a coupon for money off and also create a database to send them special offers.

    If sampling costs you too much, consider your target market and maybe only do an hour or two of sampling at peak times. If you run out we would get staff to give out vouchers instead. Perhaps sample in a deli or somewhere upscale on a Saturday morning or sample just before an event like Mother's Day where people need to buy something and a voucher with money off will be the perfect bargain.
     
  11. SpikeLobster

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    Move fast for Valentine's Day! Don't forget that there will be an enormous number of idiots who realise that they've forgotten VD at the last moment, so you could set up in the biggest local supermarket around the time people finish work - ideally in the business district. Put your stand next to the flowers (and, although it sounds horrible, the condoms), and you should do a very brisk business in sales, as well as testers. :)
     
  12. Radix24

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    Middle ground. I also suggest to try to find the middle ground between sales and free samples. For me, I only buy something after sampling it if I can find other uses for it aside from my personal consumption. I find coffees or chocolate drinks where I can find ways to sell it again. I am now researching more about this coffee I tasted and I converted to buying it.
     
  13. xTinx

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    It's a good move, in my opinion. Free samples will give consumers a glimpse of your product. If they like it, they'll be willing to take up your offer. However, you must be prepared for the consequences of free sampling. It works for some but not for others. You have to foresee the risks and have plan B ready just in case things might not go as planned.
     
  14. missbishi

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    Free samples can certainly do wonders for your business but not at your own expense. Determine how much you would be willing to spend on this, work out just how many chocolates you could make and judge whether it is actually worth your time, efforts and money. Remember that most people will jump at the chance of free chocolate so you'll find that free samples run out very quickly!
     
  15. dyanmarie25

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    I have never been into this kind of food business yet. But I think that's a pretty good idea. However, as what you have said, it's going to be a bit expensive. If you really want to do this, then I guess you have to risk some money, there are pros and cons in the process though, but who knows, it might be a good trick for your business to grow.
     
  16. jobtardis

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  17. nalbandian1

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    I don't think so that giving free samples of the chocolate can make you much profit. Try something different to increase your sales.
     

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