As the old saying goes, nothing in life is free. But offering free samples is a long-time strategy that businesses have used to try to persuade customers to try a new product. Free samples can encourage customers to try a different product or upgrade their usual order. But how do free samples fit in to online sales? Are free samples good or bad for business? Here’s what small business owners need to consider.
Free samples can encourage customers to try new products next time.
Sending a free sample with an existing order can be a good way to try to encourage customers to buy a different or more expensive product with their next order. Just like free food samples in the grocery store, samples are a good way to encourage customers to try new things. Print shops for example, can send a colour corrected free print to encourage a customer to add colour correction to their next order. Other add-ons like paper upgrades can also be sent as free samples.
Samples can be considered wasteful.
The problem with free samples in online orders is that customers don’t have a chance to say no. The customer may not be interested and the product may go right in the trash, which is wasteful both financially and for the environment. Instead, businesses could to give customers a checkmark box that allows them to choose if they’d like the free sample or free upgrade. Another option is to offer a coupon for a free upgrade for first-time customers, ensuring the customer actually wants that upgrade while encouraging them to upgrade their next order at full price.
What samples do you give out to which customers?
Large businesses are using artificial intelligence to look at things like past purchases when determining what free sample to send. That may not be an option for small businesses — and can leave customers feeling like their privacy was violated. Perhaps a better option is to keep it to a small list of different free samples and to send only based on the current order, in other words be selective and strategic in your approach.
Free samples can be expensive.
While individual samples may not cost very much, in the long run, samples can add to a businesses’ bottom line. Businesses need to monitor sales performance before and after giving out samples to make sure that continuing to give out free samples still fits with the best interests of the company. If sales skyrocket after free samples, great, but if they don’t, cut back to keep the costs from piling up.
Free samples can be a great way for your business to encourage customers to try new or upgraded products. But, you should consider several different factors to make sure the sales tool is the right move before shipping out products for free.