Promo Magazine reports here that "product sampling is the most influential in-store marketing method when it comes to influencing consumer purchase decisions, and is a reliable option for marketers looking to increase ROI."
52.4% of adults 18 and older said they were either "influenced" or "greatly influenced" by in-store product sampling.
Promo Magazine provides a list of the most influential in-store media, with product sampling at the top. Coupons printed on register tapes are another highly influential in-store media, among the top 10, with 28% of adults saying that they were influenced by these coupons.
Combining the two techniques, and using behaviour data stored in new generation EMV credit or debit cards, merchants can avoid giving the same samples to everyone over and over again and can give customers a different surprise sample at each visit, encouraging them to try many different products.
This is another example of how general purpose payment cards can become an integral and strategic part of merchants' promotional marketing activities.
Of course, if you're limiting your vocabulary to "loyalty", you can't talk to merchants about sampling in this way, because they don't see any connection at all between "loyalty" and "sampling". Merchants that read this post won't understand what I'm talking about. The problem is that card issuers tend to lump all promotional marketing techniques under the "loyalty" category, thus shooting themselves in the foot by making it impossible for their cards to be used as promotional marketing tools. Ironically, merchants have found that techniques like sampling are much more relevant and powerful than getting customers to collect loyalty points over a long period of time. The merchant gets a much faster ROI, the customer gets something valuable today, right now, not after several months. And banks get to position their cards at the heart of merchants' promotional marketing activities, and move the focus away from interchange fees.