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Why swatching and sampling are so important for customer confidence – Part 3

PART 3 – Sample Cost vs Market Loss

Cost is always a factor in deciding what the type of sample program to undertake. However, the cost of lost business due to not having a sample program selling for you outweighs the initial cost of a sample program. Spending on marketing materials, like brochures, material samples, and online ads should increase during a slow business climate, not decrease. You need to build your brand awareness by getting the word out there that your company is alive and well, and implementing a new sample campaign brings your product line directly in the hands of your customers.

A sample campaign could cost as little as a few hundred dollars, or a few thousand. However, the advertising cost will be recouped with the added sales that may have been otherwise lost because your customer didn’t know your product line had those choices available to them.

The simplest swatch can generate income. Cutting a small sample and sending it to potential buyers can be costly and time consuming but the rewards pay off later when your customer uses the sample to determine the quality and usefulness of your product line.

Single Swatches ($) are useful for a quick reference of your product line colors / finishes. Simple piece of material, yet effective.

Swatch Cards ($+) are the most widely used sample presentation because of their low cost and flexibility to display multiple colors on one page. Great for mail campaigns or trade show hand-outs.

Swatch Folders ($$) are larger to show more swatches and brand/product information. Best option to display 20 or more colors.

Swatch Books ($$+) are useful to display large amounts of colors / patterns in a manageable presentation package.

Whichever type you decide that best suits your company’s budget and presentation need, a sample program is a wise advertising investment to promote your product line and increase customer confidence.

Recap:  Customer Confidence = Sales

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Why swatching and sampling are so important for customer confidence – Part 2

PART 2 – Product Visibility

Your products will not sell if they are invisible. And one way to make the sales program come alive is to include an actual material sample of your product’s color, or finish options. Printed color options on a paper brochure or a series of digital photos on your web site are limited, obviously, because they are not the same material as your sofa fabric, or table linen. Only an actual sample of your material can let your customer take the ” leap of faith”  and be comfortable with ordering your product without fully seeing the actual product. There is a reason why large food producers give out free samples to market new products . . . it works!  People will move to a new product once they are comfortable with how it looks, feels and tastes.

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People are tactile and visual oriented by nature. They want to feel the texture, and see the true color with their own eyes.  Designers want to hold the color sample up to match their color palette. Homeowners want to place the swatch on their sofa to see the impact in their decor. You want to increase the confidence of your customer to go your way and buy your products. By giving them a sample of your product’s color, texture and quality, you are making them aware of your brands usefulness and increasing their confidence in buying your products. Seeing is believing, and feeling the actual material is the clincher in sealing the deal.

. . . continued on Part 3 – Sample Cost vs Market Loss

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Why swatching and sampling are so important for customer confidence – Part 1

PART 1 – Customer awareness increases buying confidence

The business climate has changed in the last 5 years. Consumers and business, alike, are reducing their purchases across the board in response to the loss of employment and slow economic environment. Industries, across all sectors, are changing their marketing plans to meet the reduction in consumer demand. Getting more bang for your buck seems to be the mantra of this current business climate. The question is how do you add value to attract new customers and keep your existing customers coming back in this slow economy. The short answer, customer confidence in your brand’s product line. Your brand, and products need to be the best value out there.

Building customer confidence in your brand and products can be achieved in many different ways. Having the lowest price point in your industry works in the short term. However, long term it might be hard to hold the low prices due to rising material and energy costs in your industry. Eventually, as you raise prices, your customer base will shrink because they will be looking for the next vendor with the lowest price point. The lowest price product can attract new customers quickly, however you have to instill brand confidence and loyalty to keep them. Advertising with a trendy message is another way by keeping your brand name stuck in everyone’s mind reinforces brand recognition. Buyers will be drawn to the most recognizable brand name they see and be more comfortable with their purchase.

What I am talking about is the confidence that your customer gets when they know they are looking at the highest quality product that fits within their budget. Quality vs Price decisions can be a struggle for buyers, whether they are corporate or retail buyers. A way to achieve customer confidence is to advertise often with a solid message about your brand’s benefits and quality, and back that message up by giving them a small piece of the product choices that they can take with them. Make it easy for the buyer to choose your product by informing them, and educating them why your product line gives them more bang for their buck.

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Swatching and product sampling is not a new marketing idea, but in this uncertain business climate where you need maximum brand exposure and to increase customer confidence in your product line, it’s become a necessity. A small fabric swatch can make a big impact on sales of a new office chair design, or a simple tile presentation can increase customer’s awareness of the beauty and benefits of a flooring material that would otherwise stay hidden within the warehouse.

. . . continued on Part 2 – Product Visibility