Polls / November 4, 2011

If you get a free sample of a product, are you more likely to buy it?

eZonomics poll respondents are split over whether they are more likely to buy a product if they get a free sample of it.

A simple sample
A classic place for samples is the grocery store. A new biscuit or beverage is being launched and dedicated staff members are on hand to hand out taste testers to shoppers. Likewise, department store beauty departments, with their samples of fragrances, moisturisers and more.
At the most basic level, these samples offer the chance for shoppers to try and see if they like the products. But is there more to it?

Rewarding kindness
If giving out a sample is a “kind action” from the store or supplier, the idea of reciprocity goes that shoppers maybe inclined to respond in like with their own “kind action”. In this case, the shoppers might be more inclined to buy the product being sampled because they feel like repaying the kind gesture.
In addition, financial education website LearnVest warns against “not-so-free” samples in supermarkets, arguing that small samples can make shoppers feel hungry – and more likely to buy.
So it seems sampling is best served with a side order of caution.


eZonomics team
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