What is E-commerce Sampling for CPG Brands?

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Written by: Ashley Randall

Singer Beyonce aka“Queen B” in one of her famous songs, “Run The World (Girls)” asks the question “Who runs the world?” That’s simple. E-commerce runs the world! 

The majority of businesses are making a digital transformation, while 91% have already adopted a digital-first business strategy or plan to do so (IDG). So what does that mean for CPG brands in the food and beverage industry? McKinsey reports on US shopping behavior and says online grocery purchases have been clicking with consumers, setting the stage for DTC. 61 percent of shoppers bought more groceries online than pre-Covid. Americans love to shop, and increasingly, they love to shop online. Not only with retailers, but manufacturers. 

Shopping Cart Abandonment for Food and Beverage 

According to a study done by XP2, the Food and Beverage industry has an average shopping cart abandonment rate of over 55%. That means that 1 out of every 2 shoppers that are ready to check out of their shopping cart, suddenly get cold feet and leave your online store without making a purchase that day! What can you do to reduce shopping cart abandonment? You should implement an e-commerce sampling strategy and de-risk the buyer journey for your online store. 

What is E-commerce Sampling?

E-commerce sampling is a method being utilized by digital marketers in the CPG industry to activate new customers through brand awareness and soliciting feedback from online shoppers with free product sampling offers and giveaways! Think of it as an icebreaker.  It encourages shoppers to try something new without having to pay full price for the item.  

The Advantages of E-Commerce Sampling

Did someone say first-party shopper data? It’s one thing to drive short term sales lift at your retail partners but it’s another thing to truly understand who your customers are. It’s no surprise that major retailers seem to keep that type of data on their shoppers a secret and vendors feel left in the dark. 

You are essentially getting rid of the middle man(retailers) with e-commerce sampling as you collect pertinent information directly from interested product testers. You establish that direct line to communicate with each and every product tester that requests a sample via your online store and can track them from the time they sample your product to the time they purchase. This plays a big advantage for brands that implement a Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing strategy. You will have total control on how you promote and sell to your consumers. This immediately eliminates the constant threat from competitors in your category that your products are up against on the shelves at retailers.  

For food and beverage CPG brands, activities like DTC food sampling is one of the best marketing strategies you can use for your brand. Consumers love brands who make an effort to connect with them on a personal and emotional level, and the best place to start is your website/online store.

Product Offering Marketing

E-commerce sampling requires a great marketing offering approach . We suggest you create a free product offering because it will add more value to your potential online shoppers and generate more interest in your brand and products, while increasing your sales.

There are two sampling methods you can use: Direct from your website, or through a Third-party platform. You can set up a form on your online store, for instance, to request a sample of food. This is a great way to retain customer loyalty. However, if your goal is to find new customers, you must think of a way to drive new consumers to your website. 

The old adage “Build it and they will come” no longer holds that much value when it comes to DTC brands in the CPG space. Luckily there are third party marketing tools and CPG marketing agencies/consultants that can help bring more traffic and attention to your online storefront. 

Digital Chat Ambassadors instead of In-store demo Staff 

In May of 2021 the team at Sampoll introduced the latest innovation in product education and customer engagement for the CPG industry, known as Digital Chat Ambassadors(DCAs). Instead of hiring staff to manage in-store demos, these chatbots specially-designed to be a digital ambassador of your brand to new and existing consumers, while collecting their demographic and behavior data to ensure that they have a true interest in your product.

If you are stuck on the fence between the two options, here is a solution. Sampoll will act as a merger of both sampling methods. Using multi-channel consumer targeting capabilities, Sampoll targets consumers based on their interests and location to introduce your product to them, while AI-powered Chat Ambassador, “Sam”, builds customer relationships by keeping them engaged, educating them on your product, while collecting customer feedback.

To help get your existing customers on board, Sampoll now provides a “Request a Sample” e-commerce solution to drive product trials/sampling and sales on your website/online store. Sampoll supports direct integration into Shopify so you can turn samplers into lifetime customers right from the Sampoll Chat Ambassador experience! This will de-risk the buyer experience for consumers who may not want to commit to your product. 

Product Sampling Program

When you think about it, it's not many consumers who turn down samples. When customers are visiting your website/online store and see a “send me a sample” option, their interest level peaks through the roof. A report from Sampling Effectiveness Advisors shares this statistic: 73% of consumers said they were likely to buy a product after trying it. Whether they have previously tried your products or not, they want to know how to try more. 

All made through consumer activations, “Sam” will have a trackable one on one conversation about your products, providing a risk free opportunity to try your products at nearby retailers with a cashback reward. This is taking a new product for a “test drive” in the CPG space to a new height. Consumers find this process exciting, informative, and trustworthy. This creates an experience that they will never forget because they can redeem these freebies the same day by immediately driving to their nearest participating store or tacking it on to an existing online grocery order! 

Click here to request a demo and see how Sampoll’s e-commerce “Request a sample” solution works.