Amazon Product Sampling Program
Free samples from Amazon? No costs, no gimmicks, or commitments required by customers who receive free samples unexpectedly in the mail. It sounds too good to be true. Or is it?
Amazon has created the Amazon Product Sampling program that allows brands to use consumer buying patterns to reach new consumers within the defined target market. Savvy CPG (Consumer Product Goods) marketers know that providing free samples is not a new marketing tactic and CPG brands have made it a part of their marketing mix for years. However, Amazon has positioned itself to use its enormous database of over 100MM+ shoppers as an advertising vehicle for brands. Deep database mining and algorithms allow Amazon to pull a list together of potential new customers for a brand’s target market. Through predictive analytics, the perfect customer with a similar product purchase history can be directly targeted to the brand’s like product. It’s a new twist to an old model, with a powerhouse database of customers behind it.
Amazon Charges Brands Rather Than Customers
Amazon dabbled in a sampling program years ago by allowing Prime Members to purchase trial size products. Amazon’s new approach puts the cost on the brand and not on the consumer. For brands, it’s likely a win-win scenario and a typical cost associated with acquiring a new customer. Plus with an integrated tracking system, brands can quantify the results through measuring the conversation rate of how many purchases were made by customers who received the free samples and then made a purchase.
In typical Amazon fashion though, the e-commerce retailer still retains the complete list of targeted customers’ names. The brands do not receive the mailing list and all fulfillment is handled by Amazon. In this scenario, Amazon maintains control of its enormous database, marketing intelligence, and promise to keep customers-first. Instead, Amazon is providing a way for brands to reach new customers and then driving those customers back to Amazon to make a purchase. Sounds also like a win-win for Amazon.
Invasion of Privacy
But is it a win for the customer? Sure, many customers would enjoy getting a free product in the mail. However, it’s been reported that Alexa “listens in” on conversations and gathers data. Facebook recently had a privacy breach. Identity theft is on the rise and affecting millions. Online shoppers are retargeted when browsing a brand’s website with product popups and ads as they navigate the World Wide Web. What’s next? A sample of a product delivered right to a consumer’s doorstep based on purchases made on Amazon.
It’s reported that Amazon has opened this program to all customers, not just Prime Members, through the ability to opt in or opt out of the samples program. Some consumers might love this idea while others might believe it’s an invasion of privacy. So far, the sampling program hasn’t caused a consumer uproar, but if it rolls out into full bloom, the consumer response will be telling.