In the B2C industry such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), consumer engagement is rapidly becoming the key to the success of a brand. The profits of a good customer engagement are evident and effective for short, as well as long term situations, such as advocacy, amplified loyalty, and better profits and revenues. Particularly in the FMCG industry, product sampling is one of the widely used methods for endorsing the brand. Product sampling is a method of giving product samples for free to a small group of consumers. The samples can be distributed either at functions & events, supermarkets, or online.
There are several benefits of distributing product samples. Some of the major benefits include:
• Distributing product samples help improve sales. Consumers who try the products are more likely to buy them. If the customers do not buy the product, then there are chances that the product might have some defects or issues. These issues can be addressed.
• Product samples help encourage existing client base to continue using the product.
• It encourages the technique of try before you buy that helps new customers in getting familiar with the product.
Following are the major challenges faced while distributing product samples:
• There is too much expenditure involved in product sampling. The cost of event, product, support, and shipping adds to the sampling campaign.
• The feedback cycle time of a consumer is long and may require two to three months.
• Consumer engagement is transactional, and limited to that exercise.
Today, businesses are increasingly focusing on the digital consumer. It is very crucial for a business to communicate with customers and engage them using digital channels. So, it is recommended to replace the traditional sampling with the digital one. For running sampling campaigns, digital sampling IT platform should be used.
Following are the advantages of digital sampling information technology platform:
• Decreases Cycle Time for Customer Feedback: Implementing digital sampling allows the brand to receive feedback directly from the end user rather than depending on a research agency. This helps decrease the cycle time by 60% to 70%.
• Addresses The Digital Customer: Nowadays, people invest more time on digital channels as compared to that on conventional mediums. For engaging with such customers, it is recommended for businesses to go digital even for product sampling.
• Customer Insights: With the method of digital sampling, you can gather feedback directly from the customer. With the help of feedback forms, consumers can be studied and more important business insights are achieved. For example, general sentiments for the products that are newly launched can be understood. Insights like these can help the company approach right consumers, along with detecting advocates and influencers, as well as obtaining feedback for product enhancements.
You can take the following approach for digital sampling:
• Product Choice and Business Goal Definition: To begin with, you should choose the product that you would like to give away as a free sample. You should also have a business goal for the same.
• Knowing The Target Audience: As a marketing method, sampling is always intended for a specific target audience. Therefore, it is very important to know the target audience that you would like to give away the samples. The target audience could be a particular gender, city, particular age group, or particular city.
• Selection of IT Platform: Brands can use existing platforms, or can have a personalized enterprise application development way for digital sampling. In either way, the main drive of IT platform should be to involve consumers in a two-way interaction, take feedback and convert that into business insights.
• Implementation: This consists of sending products to consumers and answering as well as addressing customer inquiries. Implementation can also be by an event, principally for sample types where shipping might not be the right choice.
As the age of digital consumer arrives, outdated customer engagement approaches should be replaced with digital customer engagement. Digital sampling should replace the direct marketing methods of product sampling. The advantages of digital method include significantly reduced cycle times for getting consumer feedback on product, lesser costs, and key customer insights that can help product marketing, along with design and development.
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