The Best FMCG Product Sampling Methods for Brands

Written by Mollie Cross 31 October 2023

Effective FMCG Product Sampling Methods for Successful Marketing Campaigns

In the ever-evolving world of Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), where competition is fierce and consumer preferences constantly change, effective marketing strategies are essential for brand success. Among these strategies, product sampling has proven to be a powerful tool for engaging consumers, increasing brand awareness, and driving sales. 

FMCG product sampling methods play a pivotal role in allowing consumers to experience products firsthand, creating a personal connection that can translate into loyal customers. 

This article delves into various FMCG product sampling strategies and highlights their significance in modern marketing campaigns.

1. In-Store Sampling: Bringing the Experience to Shoppers

In-store sampling is one of the most traditional yet effective FMCG product sampling methods. This method involves setting up sampling stations within retail stores, supermarkets, or even shopping centres. Brands collaborate with these establishments to offer free samples to shoppers, allowing them to taste, touch, or use the product before making a purchase decision. 

In-store sampling provides an immediate product experience, capitalising on the consumer’s curiosity and impulse buying behaviour. Moreover, no one can turn down something free in today’s economy!  It’s a great way to capture the attention of potential buyers who are already in a shopping mindset.

Read more about how Relish partnered Heineken and HelloFresh to distribute alcohol-free Heineken samples to HelloFresh customers throughout dry Jan!

2. Event Sampling: Reaching Target Audiences

Participating in events, trade shows, and exhibitions tailored to your industry or target market is an excellent way to engage with potential customers. FMCG brands can set up booths or stalls to showcase their products and distribute samples with face-to-face interaction. 

These events offer an opportunity to interact directly with consumers, gather feedback, and create lasting impressions. Additionally, aligning with specific events can help brands tap into the interests of their intended audience, leading to more focused and effective sampling efforts.

For example, if your brand targets families, events that you could consider include interior design exhibitions and family-friendly festivals!

3. Direct Mail Sampling: Reaching Consumers at Home

Direct mail sampling involves sending product samples directly to consumers’ homes through normal household mail. This method can be particularly effective when introducing a new product or targeting a specific demographic. 

Whilst direct mail sampling can cost more than other methods, direct mail sampling offers a personalised touch that can make recipients feel valued. It also ensures that the product is directly in the hands of potential customers, eliminating the need for them to seek it out in stores.

And moreover, your product can be received when a consumer is the most open-minded, being at home in their own environment. Direct mail sampling doesn’t depend on a consumer having time to stop in the street or being in the right mindset to talk to promotional staff. Recipients can try the sample at a time that’s convenient to them, without any additional pressures.

Now Relish are part of the Whistl Group, this adds an additional sampling channel to our extensive portfolio.

Read more about how Whistl partnered with SHEIN for their first Doordrop promotion, which formed part of a multimedia media campaign.

4. Digital Sampling: Adapting to the Internet Age

In the technology era, digital sampling has gained significant traction. Relish helps brands collaborate with outlets like e-commerce platforms and influencers (think user-generated content) or utilise their own websites and social media channels to distribute virtual samples, discount codes, or coupons. 

Digital sampling leverages the convenience of the internet, allowing consumers to explore products without leaving their homes. It’s a cost-effective method that also facilitates data collection, enabling brands to gather valuable insights about customer preferences and behaviours.

Relish’s Try.Love.Buy service supercharges promotional campaigns with detailed consumer research. This means that sampling digitally or any other product sampling channel can provide invaluable insights into your consumers.

Our work with many FMCG clients ensures we provide effective category benchmarking to contextualise results. Suitable for marketers, brand managers and insight professionals, empower your team today with Try.Love.Buy.

5. Brand Collaboration: Leveraging Partnerships

Collaborative sampling involves partnering with complementary brands to distribute samples. For example, a brand specialising in sauces might collaborate with a pasta brand to offer joint samples. This method reduces individual costs and extends the reach of the product to a wider audience. It can also tap into the existing customer base of the partnering brand, introducing the product to consumers who might have yet to encounter it.

Unlike some of the other methods mentioned in this article, you can really tap into brand collaboration through any product sampling channel. So, whether you’re thinking of sending samples to households or distributing them in-store, Relish can help you find the perfect brand with which to collaborate.

Relish partnered Aperol with takeaway delivery partners to distribute 40,000 cocktail kits, including Fever Tree soda and Mionetto Prosecco, which helped Aperol demonstrate its product! Read more about how the campaign went!

6. Subscription Box Sampling: Unboxing Delight

Subscription box services have gained immense popularity, offering consumers curated selections of products delivered to their doorstep on a regular basis. 

Brands can partner with subscription box services to include their samples in the boxes, introducing their products to a receptive and engaged audience. Subscription box sampling is particularly effective for niche or specialty products that align with the interests of the subscription box subscribers.

Relish has a whole sampling arm dedicated to bespoke projects, where customers have found subscription box partnerships, advent calendar collaborations, gift sets, you name it! Read more about our bespoke offering to start the ball rolling on your next campaign.

What is the best product sampling method for my FMCG brand?

FMCG product sampling methods have evolved with changing consumer behaviours and technological advancements. Each method brings its own set of advantages, allowing brands to tailor their sampling strategies to their target market and marketing objectives. 

In a competitive market where standing out is essential, effective product sampling can create memorable brand experiences, foster consumer loyalty, and drive sales. 

To establish the perfect product sampling method for an FMCG brand, certain elements need to be considered. These include target demographics, and their preferences and habits. Marketing budgets are also an important consideration, however different product sampling methods can have different costs depending on which product sampling agency you choose to work with and how good their industry relationships are. Balancing cost-effectiveness with the desired reach and engagement level is also vital. 

Moreover, the brand’s goals for the sampling campaign should be well-defined: whether it’s about introducing a new product, boosting sales, or enhancing brand recognition. The logistical feasibility and execution of the chosen method should also be evaluated, to ensure a smooth and efficient process. 

Lastly, the level of data and insights that can be collected from each method should be considered, enabling the brand to refine strategies based on real-time feedback. A successful sampling strategy hinges on a meticulous analysis of these considerations to create a well-rounded and impactful campaign.

If you are unsure which channel is best for your FMCG product sampling campaign, want an agency to help deliver your plans, or are interested in what kind of partnerships are waiting for you right now, contact Relish Agency and let’s start a conversation today.

If you would like to hear about how Relish can help you with your product sampling strategy, or other channels to suit your business, drop us a message or give us a call on 01173751160. Alternatively send us an email at

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