How Providing Samples Can Help Build Your Wholesale Business

Whether you’ve been in the wholesale business for years or you’re just starting out, offering product samples can be a powerful attention-grabbing strategy.

You may not be comfortable with the thought of giving away your merchandise for free. After all, there’s no guarantee you’ll see a return on your investment. But if you really think about it, isn’t that how it is for any marketing strategy?

Product sampling as a marketing tactic works better than ever in this digital age. In part, this is because of its ability to do what no other strategy can: put the physical product in customers’ hands.

The Power of Sending Product Samples

From a psychological perspective, the two most powerful words in advertising are New and Free. It’s no surprise that people always gravitate towards anything new, but what about the word ‘free’? As it turns out, it all has to do with the power of reciprocity.

People feel obligated to repay favors and gifts. Marketers realized they can use this to their advantage. By offering a product they don’t have to pay for, the recipient returns this gesture by trusting the ‘giver’ more and deciding to do business with them.

What Samples Can Do for Your Wholesale Business

By now, you may be asking just how effective sending free samples can be for your own wholesale business. Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at the image below from BlueSodaPromo.

The image itself is self-explanatory. It shows people’s perception before, during, and after receiving a freebie. It doesn’t matter what their initial expectation of the sample product is. Once they find a use for it and are satisfied with their experience, they’ll associate those positive feelings with your wholesale business!

So, what are the implications of this?

  1. It can generate new sales leads

Sales leads are your prospective buyers and clients. Normal people are turned into sales leads when they develop an interest in what you have to offer and then give you their contact info. Sending useful samples, no matter how cheap they are, can lead people to think that your wholesale business values utility. This encourages them to do business with you.

  1. You increase brand awareness

Wholesale marketing is tough work, especially if no one’s buying. And usually, the number one reason why no one’s buying is because they just haven’t heard of you yet. Offering product samples is a great way of getting your business in front of people. Once they know who you are and that you’re selling merchandise they need, the chance of them buying from you increases dramatically.

  1. It encourages feedback

You can’t expect every recipient of your free sample to send you their feedback, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get any. If you have a Twitter account or Facebook page for your wholesale business, you can include a printed message with each product that says:

“Let us know if you liked the item by typing #GotMyFreeSample on Twitter and Facebook with your feedback!”

You can then re-share the most positive reviews you receive to further improve brand awareness.

  1. It shows you have confidence in your product

If you’re willing to give out free samples, then you have to be proud of the product first. Because like we mentioned above, the product will affect how potential buyers will perceive your company.

Wholesale buyers like doing business with sellers that are confident in their products. And confidence is contagious, even in business.

Planning and Sending

product samples

Now that you know how product samples can benefit your wholesale business, what next?


Decide on which products to include in your product sampling campaign. Make sure they’re quality items you would use yourself. You don’t need to send out large, expensive samples. In fact, lumpy packages, no matter how small, tend to get opened more often than plain, boxy packages. This may help give you an idea of what items to send to your recipients.


Choose who to send them to. Targeting the right audience is crucial for sampling success. You need to see where the bulk of your potential customers lie, and then you design your sampling strategy based on that info.

Make sure to let the recipients know you’re planning on sending them free samples. This helps to set their expectation of you.


Send the products out and hope for the best. Sampling campaigns, like any other marketing strategy, are a gamble. You can’t always expect results. But if you plan and execute your campaigns properly, with some luck, you may just land a couple of new wholesale buyers and boost your marketing gain!

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Do you have your own experience with product sampling campaigns? Good or bad, we’d like to hear them!


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