“Try before you buy” has been a common marketing ploy in business for decades. In the days before the internet, you were most likely to find the concept at food and confectionery stores, where sellers tried to tempt customers to purchase by offering a minuscule sample. Nowadays, this tactic is found in all corners of the internet, and modern consumers have been conditioned to almost expect it. Research has even found that businesses that fail to offer a free trial are at risk of losing customers. So, why is this marketing method so perfectly suited to today’s online world?
Research Shows that “Try Before You Buy” Solves a Lot of Problems
In bustling online industries, “try before you buy” schemes are commonplace. However, they will frequently come wrapped up in different packaging. The likes of Netflix and Amazon specifically offer a free trial, whereas freemium mobile games like Clash of Clans are advertised as free to play – the cost factor comes in later if players want to upgrade. At sites that offer online slots like Millionaire Genie Megaways and Queen of Bounty, players can sometimes make use of free spin bonuses to test the games out first. Alternatively, they may be credited with a deposit match bonus that serves the same purpose.
Caption: A video about the best free trials for streaming services.
This marketing method is seen as a given by consumers in the online space, and it allows people to make well-informed decisions before they spend money. Because of the popularity of this sales model, companies that are unable to offer it are suffering. Indeed, when it comes to buying items like clothing online, it is difficult for customers to try the threads first.
The 2021 Virtual Shopping Habits Report by Perfitly found that customers were desperate to use “try before you buy” solutions in the fashion industry. The main reason why so many clothes are returned by online shoppers is down to the inability to try them on. This is a major problem for retailers, as they have to factor in the cost of potentially losing that customer and the effect it could have on alluring new ones as well. For example, if that person leaves a negative review, it could hinder future customs.
The fashion industry is one in which business owners need solutions that allow them to jump on the “try before you buy” model in a cost-effective way. It will most certainly be helped by future technology like augmented and virtual reality, which could be used to give customers a better impression of how they will look in certain attire.
What is the Point of the Trial Tactic?
For some business owners, it may be hard to fathom why anyone would want to give anything away for free first. It does seem like a counterintuitive method, especially in an age where consumers have so much choice that they can simply go from one free trial to the next. There is a chance that some customers do take this approach, but it’s a risk that companies have to take. After all, with a vast proportion of the competition using “try before you buy” tactics, those that fail to offer these things will be passed over by potential consumers.
Businesses have to use a free trial to show customers just how good their service is and tempt them to become regular clients or subscribers. The system works well in the online slots market, where players can test out different games with a range of themes to see which ones suit their tastes. These titles tend to be engaging, and once a free spins bonus finishes, players are likely to want to continue playing with their own funds.
Similarly, streaming services like Netflix can show customers all the incredible content they have to offer. The company knows that by doing this, it is more likely to get people hooked and turn them into subscribers. For example, imagine if a new user starts watching Squid Game or The Witcher, but then the free trial finishes before they’ve had the chance to view all the episodes. They’re going to have to subscribe to find out how these series conclude.
Caption: A trailer for Squid Game.
Amazon Prime offers a free trial experience of its elite service, giving users a taste of what they can expect with the faster delivery times on products. This is a hugely successful example of this model in action because Amazon customers are actually buying products from the site throughout the free trial.
Does This Method Give Customers a More Positive Image of a Brand?
Having a positive brand image is one of the most important factors in modern business, and it’s enough to make or break a company. Indeed, research shows that seven in ten customers will buy more from brands they trust. There are various ways that businesses can be seen as reliable and honorable in the eyes of their clients, and giving up something for free first is one of the best methods.
There have been numerous studies into consumer buying behavior, and the main takeaway is that customers need to feel safe and that there is low risk involved. A free or low-cost trial is designed to build trust and garner feedback between the customer and the business. This can be used as an opportunity for brands to get to know their customers’ needs and show them that they care about them.
A free trial is the first time a customer connects with a brand, and if they have a good experience, they are going to develop a positive view of it. It could potentially go the other way, though. For example, if the customer deems that the free trial was insufficient or inferior to other rival companies, it may lead them to form a negative view of the brand.
The “try before you buy” model has grown in stature in the internet age, and now there are so many ways for consumers to form a connection with brands before investing their own funds. This system is going nowhere, and businesses that want to succeed need to embrace it.