If you've ever been to a grocery store on the weekend, you're probably familiar with the concept of free samples. Grocery store employees stand by a table, offering small sample servings of a particular product. The goal is to get you to try something you may not have in the past and to also entice you to purchase a product that was previously not on your radar. Can the same concept yield the same benefits for vending machines across the country? One Chicago-based startup recently attempted to find out and discovered something pretty incredible as a result.
The startup in question is called Freeosk and is run by a man named Matt Eichorn. Freeosk vending machines provide both food items and personal care products and currently have vending machines in roughly 650 Sam's Club locations across the country. The vending machines dispense free samples of certain featured products to customers that they can then buy from Sam's Club should they so choose. The experiment is already a success and has seen the purchase of those featured products increase significantly soon after the free samples are given.
As a concept, Freeosk and its free samples are creating a bit of a "win win" situation for everyone involved. In order for a brand's product to make it into a Freeosk as one of its "featured items," that company must pay Freeosk for the privilege. The retailer partner (in this case Sam's Club) also benefits, because if customers like the free samples they can then go elsewhere in the store and buy more of those products in bulk.
Even the brands themselves benefit, as free samples are a great way to increase brand engagement in a very controlled environment.
According to Sam's Club, the customers themselves are also benefiting. Not only do they get the chance to try out products that they may not have otherwise, but Sam's Club indicates that its members love to sample new products in general. They consider it an easy and fun way to discover new items.
If you're a vending machine owner and are looking for a way to increase full-size product purchases across the board, Freeosk and Sam's Club have recently revealed that free samples are the way to go. With the advancements that have been made in vending machine technology in the last several years, free samples may just end up being one of the most cost-effective ways to boost revenue to come along in quite some time.