Sampling 101 The Discovery Channel Platform

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Getting consumers to take your product for a test drive could possibly lead to new sales and fans. Some call it “Discovery Commerce”, I call it a smart way to sample.

Even with all of the online reviews already out there and the busy affiliate bloggers mentioning your product combined with the mess of social sharing that happens daily, finicky customers still need a big push to your (shopping) cart and that can happen with sampling.  Today’s post is about the value of sampling your product and how to sample effectively.

Subscription boxes are boxes that contain an assortment of sample products – typically with a common theme, such as beauty boxes, pet boxes, or food boxes that customers subscribe to for a fixed monthly fee. In return, they get to try and review new products that they may purchase in the future.

Some customers claim they subscribe to monthly subscription boxes because they hate investing in a product that isn’t perfect for them. Others are interested in being the first to try a great new brand. Some buy them as the gifts that keep on giving for others. As a brand, these boxes can make sampling sense, but it’s recommended that you focus on making the transition from sampling to purchase as easy as possible.

Out of all of the ways to get your products into the hands of new customers, including in-store demonstrations and tastings, creating a unique retail experience, investing in a pop up shop, a special mall promotion or direct mail sample, I believe that investing your marketing budget with samples in a well-known and coveted sample subscription boxes offer great returns.

Keep in mind you will probably pay for category exclusivity and distribution, along with subsidizing the costs of samples, which can cost as much as a full size product to produce. What you get in return is a way to track sampling to shopping cart movement along with market research provided in the way of feedback from potential customers.

So how do you sample effectively?

  • Impress them with a “wow” factor. Be sure to include a sample of something new that has wide appeal.
  • Make sure the sample is large enough to try over three or four uses.
  • Make sure your product is in good company. Participate in subscriptions that have good reviews.
  • Convert customers with special coded coupons to you take them from sample to sale.
  • Many influencers review boxes, so be sure to discover, review and engage social sharing and news about #yourbrand
  • Be sure to learn from your audience. What did they like about your product? What might you change? or offer that is new?

One of the pioneers of the discovery commerce platform has been called the “Netflix of make up”  Birchbox is currently launching over 100,000 beauty products a year to over 400,000 subscribers. They also teach consumers how to use your cosmetics and send personalized products that match their subscribers profile. Birchbox has collaborated with brands like Gossip Girl and Women’s Health Magazine. And now there is even a Birchbox Man subscription box.

What other type of subscription boxes are we talking about?  There are over 1,000 subscription boxes currently on the market. Barkbox is a box of dog treats, RocksBox offers designer jewelry, Quniciple is a weekly subscription service that creates a balanced box of groceries each week, including the freshest from the farmer’s market. Creator Box for ages 6 and up contains a new build-it-yourself toy delivered each month. Bulu Box is a monthly subscription vitamin box that also has snack items like FlyJoy bars and Mediterranean Lentil crackers.

There are boxes for geeks/gamers, for the home, crafty and eco-minded even those that are celebrity-curated and “adult” only. The most popular subscriptions are fashion, beauty samples, organic food, eco products and kid’s crafts. And the discovery commerce space is booming. JustFab received $109M in venture capital and BeachMint $73.5M.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, our favorite box of the day is Hotel Chocolat’s sampling box.

Looking for a box for your brand? Find Subscription Boxes has launched a mobile app to help people find the best box for them.

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