Insights

Amazon to End Sampling Program – But Brands Still Have Options

Amazon to End Sampling Program — But Brands Still Have Options

Let’s say there’s a customer out there named Kacey, and she’s looking to change up her skincare routine – but she has sensitive skin, so Kacey has to be picky about which product she chooses. Due to her busy schedule, Kacey prefers to shop online — usually on Amazon. That being said, if she wants to try a sample of a product before buying it on Amazon or going into a store, she only has a couple of options.

Option one:
Kacey’s looking for a new face wash. Naturally, she opens her laptop and heads over to Amazon. After spending a few hours reading through the reviews she finally decides on an exfoliating scrub and adds it to her cart. Fast forward a few days and her order finally arrives at her doorstep. As she heads to retrieve her package she spots another box leaning up against the doorframe. She opens the mystery box and finds a sample size packet of dog treats. Kacey doesn’t even have a dog! Excitement for the product she’s actually interested in quickly turns to disappointment when Kacey tries out her new face scrub and discovers that it irritates her skin. Stuck with an entire bottle of exfoliant, Kacey decides to give it to her roommate. The dog treats end up in the trash.

Option two:
Kacey’s still in the market for a new exfoliating scrub. While shopping on Amazon, she comes across a brand that offers a low-cost sample-sized facial scrub with free shipping. Kacey places an order, and when she receives the package, she notices a coupon in the box to buy a full-sized version at a discounted price. She has the opportunity to try out the product to make sure it doesn’t irritate her skin.

Now, which option would Kacey prefer?

For roughly a year now, scenario one has been the only sampling option on Amazon. Customers with active Amazon accounts were receiving surprise product samples right at their doorstep. In the same way Amazon product recommendations work, customers were receiving these samples based on previous purchases and machine learning. Meaning, with Amazon’s sampling program, if you had recently bought dog treats for a friend, you could expect a sample-sized bag of dog treats on your doorstep too.

Typically, free samples from brands you’ve shown interest in sounds like a dream, but what if it’s a product you have no need or use for? It could be a stretch to guarantee that a customer’s interest could result in a purchase – if a brand’s going to spend money on reaching customers with sampling, targeting customers they know are in-market for their product has a higher chance of customer conversion.

Amazon recently announced that they will be shutting down their sample program in 2020. However, this doesn’t mean that all sample opportunities for brands selling on Amazon are gone. Scenario two is still possible through Sample Plus, a unique program developed by Netrush specifically for CPG brands. With Sample Plus, your brand will be able to reach new customers by offering low-cost samples on Amazon – samples that these customers are intentionally seeking out. Sample Plus recognizes that online sampling works, especially when brands keep customers like Kacey in mind — and give them the opportunity to sample new products from the comfort of their home.

Thinking about trying Sample Plus for your brand? Click here for more information!