The BIG Idea File: Shoe Shopping, In-Store Demos and Sample Packs – Try-Before-You-Buy Marketing Tactics


Every girl knows that you can’t fall in love with that posh pair until you step your foot inside and give them a whirl around the store. It’s the same reason that in-store demos and sample packs are such effective marketing tools: people love to try before they buy!

How many times have you come home with a jar of what looks like a rudimentary paste that you sampled in the store and absolutely had to have on-hand for your next party? Or when you get a sample in the mail and try it only to discover your new favorite snack has been under your nose all this time.

So what do shoe shopping, in-store demos and sample packs all have in common? All three allow customers to try before they commit to buying. The reason is it such an effective marketing tactic is trying it gives prospects the confidence to buy – something the label alone could never do.

Would you really look at a jar of miscellaneous goo and think, “Yum – let’s plan on having that for dinner!”? Perhaps curious gourmets will stick it in the shopping cart for fun, but chances are you will stick with what you know. The key is removing the risk of a bad buying decision because no one wants to waste money on a dud.

5 Ways to Integrate Try-Before-You-Buy into your Marketing

#1: Samples and Giveaways – Ask your customers to ‘nominate’ new customers to receive free product, give bonus samples away with related products, or offer samples on your web site or giveaway sites. Offer potential clients a sample coaching session or a free 20-minute consultation.

#2: Trial Size – Take a cue from the beauty industry and allow your potential customers to buy a small, low cost version of your product or service. Think mini sizes, single serving portions, e-books or prerecorded webinars.

#3: Interactive Demos – Show your product or service in action via an interactive demo. Show how it would work for their situation or allow them to customize or manipulate the demo.

#4: Test Drive – If your business lends itself to making demo models or trial versions available to potential customers, get them take it for a ride, try it out and bring it back when they are done.

#5: Virtual Tours – Let your potential customers walk through your virtual door and get a guided tour. The perfect try-before-you-buy strategy for the hospitality and real estate industry!


About Author

Carla Young, Publisher If there’s living proof that women can have it all – and then some – it’s Carla Young. Building her multiple businesses on a virtual work-at-home model, Carla is an inspiration to other mothers who want to start a lifestyle business. During her early days as a mom entrepreneur, Carla made every single mistake in the book (and a few new ones for good measure). Realizing that “doing it all” was unhealthy and unsustainable, Carla started by getting organized to the extreme, developing support systems for both her work and family. After other mothers started asking how they too could enjoy her lifestyle, Carla launched to support moms at work, at home and at play (because every mommy deserves a little me-time)!

1 Comment

  1. I LOVE this post! 🙂 It’s all about the try before you buy, which is why so many smart entrepreneurs typically offer a free gift when you opt into their email lists. It is always important to look at what you can offer to potential clients that can give them immediate results.

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