Product Sampling | Schemes | Role and Importance

Product Sampling is an old trade custom. Everyone is familiar with the artifice of the sweetmeat-seller who generally gives the children a sample of the sweets to induce their parents to make purchases. Some business houses, through advertising, make an offer to send a product sample if the coupon attached therewith is filled in and posted. They also send their wares on a trial basis for a period of time. The idea which works behind this strategy is the same i.e., create interest in the customers to make purchases of the product offered.

Sampling with Small Packages:

Some goods by nature lend themselves to sampling in packages that are smaller than those placed on the market for sale. The advantage of Sampling of such products is that it is very simple and does not cost much; but they yield very good results. The goods under sampling should also fulfill the following conditions:

  • In no case should the customer be put to any trouble or inconvenience in testing the sample of the product.
  • In making the test, the purchaser should get a good idea of the nature and different qualities of the product.

Making Sampling Advantageous:

A definite decision should be taken to use product samples on a large scale, without testing the result of several alternative schemes in a restricted area. A typical town or a part of a large city should be chosen for each scheme of sampling the manufacturer desires to test. The results of the investigation should be kept on the record of the different activities of product sampling in that area. A proper comparison of the cost and achievements in the area will indicate which scheme is the most satisfactory one. Some traders doubt or question the wisdom or the utility of such experiments, but it should not be forgotten that the general mass of people do not always react in the manner we think, and it is essential for the success of any scheme of product sampling that we know precisely how the public responds and what can be expected before large sums of money are spent.

Sometimes goods are sold in a large container whose price is high enough to warrant giving it away as a sample; a small sample of product may be inadequate and may not give a true idea of its qualities. Such products can effectively be sampled by offering the large container or a sufficiently large sample at a greatly reduced price i.e., just sufficient to cover the manufacturing cost. This procedure would discourage sample collectors and ensure that product samples are received by those who are genuinely interested.

What do Product sampling depend on?

Sampling largely depends on the nature of the goods and of the market where they are put on sale. For example, publishers who sell costly editions of books send many sample pages, together with a copy of the index or contents and descriptive matter bound in the same style as the books to interested persons or parties. Such methods of sampling, together with follow-up letters and other sales literature and extensive publicity, generate sufficient business. The margin of gross profit has, of course, to be large enough to cover their costs. Where sampling is inconvenient to the recipient, it is often possible to do the sampling by showing the advantages which flow from the use of the product.

How are products sampled?

A product like varnish or color wash for the walls of houses or oil paint can be sampled by sending pieces of cardboard or slips or wood or other fabrics covered with the distemper or paint. Such samples will not only show the different shades of color but also give some indication of the appearance of the finished work. If such samples are accompanied by suitable sales literature, illustrated in colors and showing the products as used by those who have already purchased them, the recipient gets a fairly accurate idea of its look, quality and value. At times, the value of many samples is lost when proper care is not taken to prevent each person or family from getting more than one sample; When distributed through the dealer, his help may be necessary; but when samples are sent by mail in response to enquiries solicited in newspaper and magazine advertising, one or the other system of check has to be followed. The most common is to have a card index with a card for each recipient. Over and above the name of the recipient, his address is also included. In this way, it is possible to avoid sending more than one sample to an individual family in a very large number of cases.