Amazon, in the US, have an interesting advertising option for brands and retailers – giving free stuff away to consumers who haven’t asked for it. It’s called Amazon Product Samples and samples are free, recipients don’t have to pay for anything. Amazon say that they surprise select customers with samples that they think will be delightful and helpful.
Free samples aren’t a particularly new strategy, at main line train stations you’ll often find soft drinks companies giving away mini sample cans for free and supermarkets routinely offer free samples and tasters. The difference there is that consumers can choose to accept or decline but with Amazon the products just arrive, although consumers can opt out of the program should they wish… but that depends on them knowing that the program exists before they start getting freebies.
Interestingly, you don’t have to be an Amazon.com Prime member to receive samples – they can be sent to anyone with a registered Amazon account. Chances are, depending on the product being sent that samples will go to consumers on Amazon who have a history of buying similar products – you probably won’t get a cat food sample if you’ve never purchased cat food on Amazon in the past!
Amazon say that samples are akin to Amazon Product Recommendations, with the real difference that you can try, smell, feel and taste the product. There’s no obligation to purchase or review the product – if your buying profile meets the advertisers criteria than you’re in. There’s also no mechanism for consumers to request samples, advertisers will give Amazon the profile of customers that they’d like to target and samples will be sent out on that basis.
Amazon Product Samples are delivered to Amazon by the advertiser and Amazon will then distribute the products through Amazon Logistics or their normal delivery partners.
Amazon Product Samples are an interesting way for advertisers to leverage the power of Amazon and the marketplace is uniquely positioned to maximise the exposure, getting samples into the hands of consumers with a history of buying similar products. It’s a program that sets Amazon aside from the likes of Google, Bing and Facebook advertising as they have no mechanism for product delivery.
The Amazon Product Samples program will be out of reach from smaller retailers and brands as the barrier to entry is high bearing in mind the advertising and free product costs. For brands who wish to target consumers in the US it’s an option worth considering.
Amazon Advertising options
To discover Amazon’s other Advertising options and how to choose which solution is best for your business read “How to choose the right Amazon Advertising for your business“