Buying a product is pretty much like diving headfirst into a long-term relationship with a brand. If you’re lucky, you might just stumble upon your next holy grail product. But we never know what we’re signing ourselves up for; oftentimes, all we have to rely on is good old marketing from the company and hearsay from people who have used the product.
So why leave it up to chance when there’s a way to dip our toes into the water first, so to speak?
Sample Store is not exactly the newest kid on the block; it has been around since 2008, offering users a selection of samples for products ranging from skincare to healthcare supplements. After joining SingPost in 2013 and launching their mobile app in September this year (they were originally known as ScanDelight), Sample Store is showing no signs of slowing down as Singapore’s pioneer “tryvertising” platform.
What It Does
Essentially, Sample Store allows users to redeem trial-sized versions of products you’ve been dying to try out, such as shampoos, moisturisers and slimming teas.
This allows users to “try before you buy”, as per the company’s founding philosophy of giving consumers “simple and convenient ways to experience products before they decide to buy them”.
Now to answer your burning question: Are samples really free?
That would depend on whether the sample you’re looking at is categorised as ‘normal’ or ‘free’. ‘Normal’ samples come with a fixed handling fee of SGD5.99 per order, while ‘free’ samples cost you absolutely nothing.
How To Sample
Registration is really easy. You can even login using your Facebook account!
The good news is, new users get to choose up to four ‘free’ samples (they have to be four different products). Alternatively, you can select four ‘normal’ samples at no charge, but pay the handling fee by credit/debit card or PayPal. SingPost will mail the samples to the delivery address indicated on your profile.
You can also gain points by reviewing the samples you have tried; every review earns you 1 point, which you can accumulate to redeem even more samples. I think it’s a pretty good way for partner retailers to collect user feedback and avoid a situation where users grab whatever sample is available just because it’s free.
Besides, users also get to benefit from reading other reviews before deciding whether to claim that sample or even purchase from that brand.
I requested for my first set of free samples from Sample Store earlier this month and received them within a week; that’s how efficient the system is. If you think about it, the concept itself is really brilliant. Companies enjoy increased exposure which hopefully translates into higher sales, while users get to try new products for free before splashing out on full-sized products — everyone wins!
My only gripe would be how the ‘free’ samples available can be rather limited, both in terms of brand and type of product. A majority of the ‘free’ samples seem to belong to the haircare or skincare categories, while other categories are lacking in availability and variety. Perhaps this is to encourage users to go for the ‘normal’ samples as well? I’m probably being greedy, but it would be great to see a wider assortment of samples on Sample Store.