Remember the Sunday morning’s as a kid, walking (maybe running) through the aisles of Costco to bee line from one sample cart to another.

They’re all gone except for the memories in our evolving a new world….

A world with… dun duun duuuuuunnnn, no more samples or tester products.

Well, in store. And for the immediate future.



All joking aside, product sampling in store is one of the least of our 2020 concerns, but it is an important tool when appealing to shoppers in the competitive retail space.


Health and safety are no longer just a perk but now an essential requirement. It’s especially noticeable when strolling down aisles and no longer greeted by a warm smile, offering up a sample.

Testers of different lipsticks
Testers of different lipsticks in the cosmetic store

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Biology professor Elizabeth Brooks and her team of researchers at Rowan University examined beauty testers at retailers a decade ago, ranging from high-end department stores to drugstores. The results from the oft-cited study showed that testers from more than 50% of products were contaminated with bacteria”

So, for some retailers like Sephora, ‚Äútesters are for display only and are not available for client use for the time being. If a client does touch a display item, our employees have been instructed to remove it and disinfect the area.”

With a culture surrounded my testing and sampling new and exciting products, these restrictions are changing an integral part of the experience.

Without first hand, on-demand experience, buyers need reassurance before they hop into the checkout lane.

Here are some options to build trust and loyalty in a post-sampling world.

Delayed Gratification

Although you can’t try on the mascara in the store, doesn’t mean you can’t have it shipped.


Post a QR code or add an NFC Chips to a sample-request form or a sample request card that they can take to the register allows shoppers to test the posts in the comfort of their home.


And an opportunity for them to snap and post.

Not forgetting to mention the ever-so valuable piece, capturing their information to develop a stronger connection and brand loyalty while providing a value.

For more information about NFC chips, check out our past post: click here


As Ronn Propeil would say, “Set it, forget it”



A low maintenance solution to designing a message around the product, showcasing it’s best features at all times. Although it doesn’t provide the complete sensory experience, it can provide a backdrop to connect the brand with shoppers while elevating the product.


Second only to a first hand experience are testimonials from trusted advocates.

These declarations of approval come in the forms of quotes, images, and videos that can be added to projected next to the product. Incorporate hashtags in graphics so that shopper can look at post while in-store, add a monitor with sponsored, social posts.

Educate and Inform

The importance of educating customers in retail¬† has been emphasized in recent years as shoppers become from savvy and invested in their purchases. It’s even more important today as society promotes social distancing and buyers for the most part are left on their own.


Ever feel uncomfortable when you need more information and need to speak with a sales associate *waves hand*

If you’re in a rush or just don’t feel like interacting with a stranger, having relevant information about the product readily available could be the deciding factor on pulling out your credit card.

From lifestyle images, ingredients lists, to how to use infographics can be the edge that’ll help a shopper confirm their purchase.

Wrapping it up

Although testing product and handing out samples in stores are only a memory for now, there are a few different ways to build trust and loyalty through other methods in store.

Shoppers want to know and experience the product before they commit to purchasing so providing them with delayed gratification, education and testimonials can bridge the trust gap.

Curious about more retail related topics?

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