Is Free Sampling a Digital Opportunity?
PINCHme and Sumpto are both digital platforms that deliver free samples, although one is looking for feedback and trial while the other is about influence.
PINCHme, which is set to launch in the U.S. on Nov. 12, is a free subscription service that allows consumers to sample a range of CPG brand products for free in exchange for their feedback, according to Retail TouchPoints.
Every other week, members receive up to four products that align with their membership profiles. In return, a six-question feedback survey must be completed within 30 days. Members also are invited to purchase the sampled products by clicking the "Buy Now" button, which redirects them to the brand’s e-commerce sites.
Partnering brands receive detailed reports that outline demographics, feedback, "Buy Now" sales conversion rates and other metrics.
"The PINCHme platform modernizes the age-old marketing tactic of product sampling by providing to brands the digital capabilities to create strategically targeted programs and measure ROI," Jeremy Reid, executive chairman of PINCHme, told Retail TouchPoints.
In contrast, Sumpto identifies top social media influencers at colleges and sends them free gifts in hopes that they will brag online about the swag. Sumpto’s social influencer rankings not only measure an individual’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram engagement, but also take into account academic, athletic and additional social organizations in which college students are involved.
Sumpto has garnered 17,500 college influencers since it launched out of beta on September 2013, with over 1,800 students who have claimed Sumpto "rewards" consisting of products tailored for each user.
As an example, Sumpto partnered with Jabra and sought out 25 of the most influential college students in music. Providing each influencer with a free pair of Jabra REVO Wireless Headphones generated 487 likes and 276 comments on Facebook and resulted in a reach of over 7.5 million unique impressions for the brand.
Sumpto has also worked with Popchips, Greek Life Threads, Society43, EBoost, CollegeFest and other brands.
"After graduating college, I realized there was a huge disconnect between college students and brands," says Sumpto founder, Ben Kosinski in a press release announcing new funding. "I saw the potential to unite the two, and allow companies to filter through this demographic in order to target a very specific group of students, while also positioning these students as social influencers amongst their friends."
- PINCHme Digital Product Sampling Offers Improved Consumer Targeting – Retail TouchPoints
- Somebody pinch me! One new startup is bringing free stuff right to your door – Anthill
- College influencer platform Sumpto garners $350K – Sumpto
- Sumpto Wants To Be The Klout For College Students – TechCrunch
What do you think of the opportunity around online sampling platforms? Do you see digital sampling as more an opportunity to drive trial and feedback or as a way to reach influencers? How should they be set up to maximize digital sampling ROI?