Consumer trials are an important part of a new product launch. Product trials and samples give consumers an opportunity to try a product with no risk before they consider it for long-term use, according to marketing consultancy Launch Engineering. To induce consumers to try a product, marketers may offer free samples in stores or other outlets, invite prospects to an event where the product is available or distribute coupons that consumers can redeem with their first purchase of the product.
Raise Consumer Awareness
Promoting the new product and its benefits can encourage consumers to try a sample. Email existing customers with news of the product, and offer a discount on their first purchase. Run advertisements or issue press releases to publications that reach the target market. Include a phone number or email address that consumers can use to request samples or provide information about stores where they can sample the product.
Run In-Store Trials
Offering consumers free samples or demonstrations of a product in stores can encourage trials. "Inc." magazine notes that samples of food products or demonstrations of equipment are suitable for immediate trials in stores, while samples of products such as shampoos or deodorants may be more suitable for venues such as gyms or salons. To encourage retailers to provide trial facilities, offer an incentive such as a special discount on launch stocks of the product and provide point-of-sale material to support the promotion.
Distributing samples to the target audience can provide a direct inducement to try a product. Marketers can distribute samples of small products door to door or through the mail, although wastage can be high without careful targeting, Launch Engineering notes. Perfume makers sometimes launch new lines with free samples of scents stuffed into magazines that orient to their target market. If the packaging is suitable, manufacturers can distribute samples attached to existing products.
Offer Trial Versions
Manufacturers can offer trial versions of new products at lower prices than the full version to encourage sampling. They may distribute smaller pack sizes, for example, or offer free downloads of a digital product that has a limited number of features. Software manufacturers, for example, routinely offer free trial versions of products that customers can continue to use or upgrade to a full version, frequently at a reduced price.
Coupons offering consumers discounts on their first purchase can induce product trials. Market research firm eMarketer notes that digital coupons are becoming increasingly popular among consumers. According to the firm’s 2013 survey, more than half of the country’s Internet users redeemed digital coupons for online or offline shopping in 2013.
Based in the United Kingdom, Ian Linton has been a professional writer since 1990. His articles on marketing, technology and distance running have appeared in magazines such as “Marketing” and “Runner's World.” Linton has also authored more than 20 published books and is a copywriter for global companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and economics from Bristol University.