When done right, product sampling is one of the most effective tactics to drive trial, according to “Consumers Want Free Samples, Wherever and Whenever They Can Get Them,” a new report based on a survey of more than 450 U.S. adults by Brand Connections, an Advantage Solutions agency.

“The fact is consumers like free stuff,” said Dave Chatoff, vice president, strategic planning and insights for Brand Connections. “In this report, we aimed to go a few steps further to understand how free samples impact their shopping mindsets and how and where sampling could have the greatest impact on behavior.”

Brand Connections found 81% of consumers like receiving free samples and find them more impactful than other marketing tactics. Three-fourths of the survey respondents said they have decided to buy a new product after trying a sample and two-thirds have told others about a product they discovered through sampling.

While in-store sampling is consumers’ favorite type of sampling, with 79% of respondents liking to receive samples at a grocery or mass retail store, more than three-fourths (76%) would like them in their online orders. “Understanding how sampling drives consumers’ purchase and post-purchase behavior teaches us how to optimize sampling,” Chatoff said, “especially when taken outside of the retail environment.”

Download the Report