For those interested in sampling, the opportunity to try before they buy remains a powerful influencer on the decision to make a purchase."

As brands and retailers relaunch in-store product sampling, eight in 10 consumers — and nine in 10 club store members — are interested in these one-to-one in-store experiences, according to “Shopper Interest in Sampling Runs High,” a report based on a July survey of more than 1,000 U.S. adults by Advantage Customer Experience, a division of Advantage Solutions.

A year and a half into the pandemic, as some uncertainty surrounding the Delta variant looms, consumers’ attitudes and behavior reveal shoppers’ fondness for in-store sampling and the in-store experience’s strong influence on buying decisions — and support its comeback.

“As safety protocols continue to emerge and familiarity with the ‘new normal’ sets in, we are seeing a build in return of one-to-one experiences and watching shoppers feeling comfortable to engage,” said Andrea Young, president, Advantage Customer Experience. “People still love human contact and the experience of trying new things, especially when there’s no cost and no risk involved.”

For those interested in sampling, the opportunity to try before they buy remains a powerful influencer on the decision to make a purchase. Nine in 10 (87%) of these fond-of-sampling shoppers say if they enjoy a sample, they’re likely to buy the product during that store visit. Nearly as many (78%) say they’re likely to buy the product during a later visit to the store and six in 10 (58%) are likely to pick up the product at another store.

Nearly 90% of these shoppers say they’d take a sample that is individually packaged and eight in 10 would try a sampled cooked in front of them (82%). Three-fourths (77%) are likely to try a nonfood product sample and two-thirds (68%) will sample an unwrapped food item.

The Advantage Customer Experience survey reveals the potential of sampling extends beyond new-product trial. Nearly half (45%) of all shoppers say they enjoy sampling items they’ve purchased previously; 51% of club store members do. Almost one-third (31%) say they sometimes buy a different product made by a brand they’ve sampled; four in 10 club store members (39%) extend their post-sampling buying to a brand’s other products.

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