The effectiveness of sampling, or how does sampling affect product sales?

From this article you will learn how sampling can affect your product sales.

Research into the impact of sampling on product sales has been conducted by various companies and marketing agencies, but the results can vary according to context and industry. There are many factors that influence the effectiveness of sampling, such as the type of product, the quality of the samples, the target audience and the way the samples are distributed.

Why is it worth using sampling?

Sampling, when done well, improves sales results and helps to build awareness and recognition of our brand in the market. Sampling is a tool that benefits both us as a brand and potential customers.
 Consumers like to be positively surprised with, for example, free samples, while our brand thus presents itself in a positive light and is remembered as one that is confident in its products and allows them to be tested.

The effectiveness of sampling depends on the industry

The effectiveness of sampling in reality can vary significantly depending on our industry. Not all products and the companies offering them are suitable for sampling.

As an example of the most suitable industry for a sampling campaign, we can use a cosmetics company. Customers often decide to buy cosmetics after trying them out on themselves, as they can assess the scent, texture and effect of the product on their own skin. Even if we have been using one and the same cream for years, but we get a sample of a new one and test it out, we may find that this makes us switch from our existing product to a completely new one. This would not have happened if we had not tested the product beforehand. Cosmetic products are specific in that we don’t buy them for visual reasons like clothes, for example, but are driven by their effect on us. It is rare that customers buy cosmetic products without testing them, and in the case of perfumes this seems to be completely unrealistic, as no one likes to unwrap a new product and find that it is not for them.

Another industry that can afford to sample products is the food industry.
 Companies that produce food or drink, especially new flavours or products, often use samples to encourage customers to try their products. Food samples can convince customers to buy because they allow them to judge the taste and quality of the goods. We recently encountered a sampling campaign by a well-known soft drink brand, where hostesses handed out small cans of the chilled drink – to passers-by on the main promenade in a seaside town. In this way, we could taste the drink and decide whether it was tasty and whether we would like to buy it in the future. The plus side of such an action was that the summer weather and heat prompted us to drink a well-chilled drink, allowing us to remember it as the one that gave us relief on a hot day. This will influence us to pay attention to that very product the next time we shop, because we will remember its brand as the one that offered us to check out its product.

An example of an industry where sampling might not work is, for example, a clothing company. The samples in this case would be the products themselves, so sampling would not make sense. In the clothing industry, testing a product means as much as trying it on or touching it.

What is the biggest mistake we can make in a sampling campaign?

First and foremost: the wrong target group for our product.
 If we distribute women’s perfumes to men or children’s cosmetics to seniors, sampling will certainly not generate the expected profits.
 In such a situation, sampling will not bring us the expected effect, but will only burden us with the costs of sampling. This can be prevented by planning the sampling in such a way that it reaches the desired target group of our product.

You can read more about this in the article: “These mistakes to beware of during a sampling campaign“.

How to test the effectiveness of sampling?

Testing the effectiveness of sampling is crucial to assess whether this marketing strategy is delivering the desired results and whether it is worth continuing to use it. This helps to minimise sampling expenditure and to undertake more informed marketing activities. By regularly monitoring the sales performance of a product that has been sampled, we can determine whether the sampling action increased its sales, and at what point they started to increase or decrease. We can also examine the effectiveness of the action by comparing the cost of distributing the samples to the benefits obtained, such as an increase in sales or the acquisition of new customers.

It is also worth collecting feedback and comments from customers who have received samples. This can help us understand why the sampling was, or was not, successful, and will also provide feedback on the product itself. Tracking traffic to our website or social media can also be an indicator of a successful campaign. Increased interest in our brand is also a benefit we can gain from sampling.

Mention should also be made of the benefits of marketing research, which we can carry out prior to a sampling event in order to assess its effectiveness, or to tailor it to specific customer requirements. You can read more about marketing research in our article: “Marketing research before a product launch – is it worth it?”.


A well-planned and executed sampling campaign is a good investment that pays dividends. Providing samples can help customers see the value of a product before they buy, which can increase sales. However, success requires careful planning and adapting the strategy to the needs of customers and the characteristics of the product.

If you want to find out whether sampling can be an effective strategy for your product, you may want to consider a marketing study to assess its impact on your business. It can also be useful to consult with marketing experts who can help tailor a sampling strategy to your business needs and goals.

At Burgopak Poland, we can help you carry out effective sampling.
Contact us– we design and produce sample packaging for companies in Poland and anywhere in the world.


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