It's no secret that sampling programs can get people to try and occasionally purchase products. However, new research suggests that such free giveaways can also help drive long-term sales and increase purchases of other items from the product line.
Whether it is a new product launch, line extension or established brand, sampling programs drove a 475 percent sales lift the day of the event compared to non-sampled households, per the "Report on In-store Sampling Effectiveness" conducted by Knowledge Networks-PDI on behalf of the marketing services company PromoWorks.
Those who sampled an item were 11 percent more likely to purchase it again during the 20-week period that followed. They were also 6 percent more likely to buy another item from the brand franchise.
"It's always been understood to a certain degree that there is a lift during the event. The big 'a-ha' is the long-term impact and the effect a sampling event has on the franchise overall," said Neal Heffernan, svp, gm at Knowledge Networks-PDI.
Participants were 9 times more likely to purchase a line extension on the day of the sampling event. The sales lift continued, up 107 percent after a 20-week period.
For older, established brands, the sales lift the day of the event was 177 percent greater than the control group, which received no samples. It remained up 57 percent after a 20-week period.
The sampling event also casts a halo over the entire brand portfolio, said Heffernan. The parent brand of the product sampled received a 107 percent sales lift the day of the event and a 21 percent sales increase after a 20-week period.