23 Nov 2021 --- In its latest trend report on how consumer behavior has evolved since 2020, digital product sampling brand Sampler surveyed over 38,000 North American consumers. The brand sought to delve into how consumer behavior has changed since 2020 and what types of product sampling and shopping experiences consumers are looking for in 2021.
Sampler recently launched its entry-level digital sampling offering, Exchange Lite. The brand conceptualized its offering with price point front and center, launching it at a cost comparable to traditional sampling. Sampler’s platform enables brands to roll out a digital sampling program with audience targeting, consumer feedback and purchase intent.
The aim is to remove cost barriers and offer brands the opportunity to digitize their efforts via an easy entry point into digital sampling. Sampler believes the future of try-before-you-buy lies in hyper-personalization, omnichannel experiences and data-driven sampling. Here we take a look at these three core aspects with Marie Chevrier, Founder and CEO of Sampler.
“In the future, I believe that brands will not be marketing ‘at’ consumers,” emphasizes Chevrier. Instead, consumers will have an opportunity to manage their experience. As a result, the brand’s founder purposefully set up Sampler’s technology to not only recommend samples to consumers based on their lifestyle, but to ultimately enable them to opt in or out of receiving a sample or a category.
Click to EnlargeSampler aims to offer quality over quantity with its data. Source: Sampler.Remarketing, or retargeting as it is also known, is another key aspect of hyper-personalization that Chevrier believes will be instrumental to creating the levels of personalization that consumers want from products. The digital technique is a form of online targeted advertising, whereby the advertising is directed to consumers based on their previous behaviors and activities on the internet.
A sampling program on Sampler will collect 10-20 data points per consumer, for instance. Detailing what the gathering of these data points enables, Chevrier explains: “We can help you create retargeting programs personalized to what we know about that consumer.”
For example, it can answer questions such as: Do they live an active lifestyle? Did they rate your product five stars? Did they dislike the scent? “Each of these consumers may warrant a different retargeting strategy,” explains Chevrier.
“For omnichannel, your brand needs to be present wherever a consumer browses,” Chevrier highlights. Sampler believes that product sampling can play a role across many of a brand’s channels. As a result, the digital sampling creator has built solutions for social media advertisements, influencer programs and brand and publisher websites such as the InTouch sampling program.
Demonstrating the opportunities to standardize sampling experiences to make them more consistent and enable them to scale, most recently Sampler built a solution for retailers. It helps department and grocery stores power their own integrated sampling programs at scale and within their existing ecommerce, loyalty and media ecosystems. Its technology does this by helping stores power digital sampling programs at the end of their e-commerce checkout.
“What is most powerful is when you can manage all those channels in one centralized place, because then you can start managing frequency and recency with each consumer,” details Chevrier. The company is centralizing digital sampling on its platform in a bid to make omnichannel sampling possible, while optimizing its effectiveness.
Data-driven refers to leveraging data to target consumers, collecting information to measure impact and continuing the conversation post-trial. “Gone are the days where a brand is handing out a sample at random and letting the shopper walk away without any feedback or insight,” relays Chevrier. “Every sample needs to be returning insight.”
Focusing on the latest innovations in beauty sampling, Chevrier asserts: “Data-driven product sampling is what every beauty brand should be focused on right now.” Every sample a brand distributes should be helping it build its data asset, whether these relate to shopper profiles, emails, ratings, reviews or research. “In fact, one of the largest benefits a brand will see from moving its sampling strategies to digital is the ability to gather consumer data and feedback,” outlines Chevrier.
However, the expansion of data collection enablement and its subsequent utilization is not without its challenges, as brands may begin to question if there is too much data. “The problem is that the acceleration of e-commerce is making brands experience major data overload,” Chevrier confirms.
Sampling as a lead-generation tool to engage and capture consumer interest is also on the rise. “Brands are leveraging sampling as a lower-funnel call-to-action to digital ads or influencer campaigns,” Chevrier reveals. “As marketers, we all know that digital ad effectiveness is declining and that is because consumers are seeing little value in them.” Using sampling technology can help brands add a sampling call-to-action to their ads. The sample incentive helps brands convert consumers to their email list at a much higher rate.
The power and focus of retargeting are set to change too. “Third-party cookies are set to be abolished in 2023, and the path to retargeting consumers is about to look really different for brands,” Chevrier highlights. “One-to-one retargeting will soon become impossible outside of authenticated spaces like Facebook, Google and Sampler’s platform. Brands need to be thinking about investing in innovative ways to capture data quickly and effectively.”
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Journalist