Taste it, you’ll like it. A common phrase we hear when being offered a free product sample. After all, how can we, as consumers, determine if we’ll enjoy a product before buying it - especially if it’s a food product? Confectionery brands know this first-hand and have had great success with free sample offerings for decades. The small little complimentary treat gives a face (and taste) to any product - giving consumers a real life sneak peek into a product before they commit to purchasing it. But how do you trigger a purchase and build loyalty after handing out the sample?
This beloved household confectionary brand built a powerful digital sampling program with Sampler to target their ideal audience, and distribute over 67,000 samples of their hazelnut spread throughout the United states directly to consumers with small children in elementary school, tweens, and teenagers.
Targeted consumers logged into their Sampler account where they completed a questionnaire that matched them with a list of samples that best fit their unique lifestyle. After self-selecting the ones they actually were interested in trying at home, the parents received their Sampler box a few weeks later, including their bit-size sample of the delicious hazelnut spread.
Through a post-sampling survey, claimants were then invited to share their experience and honest feedback in the form of ratings and reviews, likelihood to recommend, and intent to purchase.
Getting out tens of thousands of samples to consumers is one thing, but what happened next was fantastic. Out of the over 67,000 samples sent, over 40,000 emails were collected during this digital sampling program! 40,395 to be exact.
That’s an impressive 60% opt-in rate. The best part is that this is already engaged users in the physical world, meaning their engagement click-through rates with further email communications should be higher than the industry benchmark, which hovers around 3%. This is because they have actively opted in to receive additional information about the brand and had that physical touchpoint through the digital product sampling program.
Yet the good news doesn't stop there, as out of the sampling pool, 77% said they would buy the product post-trial! Getting that type of consumer feedback and having this product fresh in their minds helps the CPG brands and this confectionary company have actionable information that they are on the right track.
rated the product 4+ stars
“Lifecycle and email marketing is one of the most commonly under-utilized growth channels for CPG brands. When deployed strategically, pairing the right message at the right time to the right consumer, brands can not only build loyalty with existing consumers, but also trigger referrals and purchases. This confectionery brand not only offered their targeted consumer a free sample incentive, but accumulated over 40,000 emails they can now segment to nurture their highest-value shoppers all the way to purchase”
Direct of Audience
are likely to purchase post-trial
So the initial blast and engagement were promising. There were some solid numbers, yet how did it do with product reviews and richer consumer feedback. Well, a whopping 21,402 reviews were gathered during this one digital sampling program and 91% of those that left reviews gave the product a glowing rating of 4+ stars. The product seem to become an instant favourite in consumers' pantry with many reviews claiming it quickly became a household staple:
This hazelnut spread is gold in my house. I have to hide it so it doesn't disappear on me. The chocolate and hazelnut flavour goes great on a banana or banana sandwich. It's pure choco bliss. I will always have a jar on hand in my pantry. I highly recommend this to any chocolate lover!
All of these reviews can easily be transitioned or syndicated over to their company sites or company eCommerce stores, which helps boost social proofing, authenticity and credibility amongst other consumers who check out the site.
This is invaluable aggregated consumer feedback for CPG brands and truly helped this global confectionary brand with a huge boost in positive product reviews.
That's another one of the powers of digital sampling programs that, even though it has an offline component, the results can be tracked and converted into an online presence.
83% of claimants would likely recommend this confectionary product to others, showing that there’s already a massive jump from awareness to adoption to advocacy. This puts these claimants in a mindset to easily remember the brand and experience, and next time they see it out in the world, to see it in a positive light.
Social media didn't take a backseat here, as many were ready to share their experience. Every single unboxing event is a different platform to reach new users through social proofing and authenticity from social media users.
With 260 unique Instagram posts sharing this unboxing experience with their followers, that adds up to numerous touchpoints and 52,978 total impressions for this digital sampling program alone.
Through a thorough insights report after their program, the confectionery brand learned that they had a big opportunity to focus on a select few target groups. For example, consumers who follow a keto diet were likely to love the product, with 94% of them rating it 4+ stars. They also found out that shoppers from a particular retailer were more likely to love the product than others that shopped elsewhere - shedding light on potential sales and distribution opportunities.
Digital product sampling is a powerful tool for any food brand to use to not only give their unique audience a taste of their products, but one that can build strong relationships with a highly engaged, high-impact audience. It can help hone in on specific segments and groups of claimants that have a higher likelihood of converting to purchase and also reveal which retailers they shop at most often.
It arms marketers with the information they need to carefully map out future strategies, communications, distribution plans, product development ideas, and make every single freebie count.
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