One of the obstacles that online stores continue to deal with is not being able to offer customers a tactile shopping experience that allows them to actually see, touch, and feel products prior to making a purchase.
This limitation, most common in the apparel industry, can be alleviated with the growing popularity of try before you buy programs, allowing customers to interact with a brand’s products—through the delivery of samples, a consultation with a product specialist, etc.—before their purchases become final.
How do Retailers Benefit from Try Before You Buy?
From Eve Sleep to Warby Parker, online retailers are beginning to recognize the many benefits of try before you buy order fulfillment.
Eve Sleep allows shoppers to try out products in the comfort of their own home. They’ll send a mattress to the shopper’s home and allow them up to 100 nights to decide if it’s right. Testers can take the mattress out of the plastic and sleep as they normally would—no need to hold on to the packaging for the length of the trial—and if the mattress is accidentally damaged in the course of day-to-day life, they’ll still take it back. Consumers who aren’t happy with the mattress can contact Eve Sleep and the company will pick it up for free, and issue a full refund void of hidden charges and fees.
Warby Parker allows consumers to select as many as five frames to test out for five days. At the end of the trial period, consumers can purchase their favorite frames and return the others. The brand then ships the customer a fresh new pair of the frames they selected.
Why do these retailers go to so much trouble to please shoppers?
It Helps them Attract New Customers – Try before you buy shopping alleviates a lot of the apprehension new customers encounter when trying brands they’re not familiar with, as well as encouraging people with reservations about online shopping to give it a whirl.
It’s Free Marketing – Once word spreads that consumers can try a retailer’s products hassle-free before making a purchase, they’ll want to see what all the fuss is about—especially when it’s recommended by someone they trust. And if the process is a smooth one, a new customer will likely be gained.
It Reduces Returns – When shoppers have the opportunity to try products before they make a purchase, there are fewer reasons for them to return them because they don’t fit or don’t perform the way they’d anticipated.
It Gives Them a Competitive Advantage – Many retailers are more focused on the risks of try before you buy then the potential benefits, giving retailers that are willing to take the risk a competitive advantage. As long as retailers are capable of executing the fulfillment in an efficient and effective manner, there should be few concerns with offering try before you buy shopping.
Try Before You Buy Increases Customer Satisfaction
To be sure they’re making the right product choice, consumers look to people who have actually used the product for insights and answers. From online reviews to YouTube “shop with me” videos, consumers are already in a try before you buy mentality.
“Since many users aren’t going to be able to physically touch a product before they buy it, brands need to come up with creative ways to help people ‘experience’ it online. Think of ways to bring your product to life online so it stands out,”
Source: Think With Google
Try before you buy programs instill shoppers with a sense of confidence in their purchase, which in turn increases their overall satisfaction. And when customers know they can try variations of products to determine the best one for their needs, they’re more inclined to continue shopping with the brands that let them do so.
While physical retail stores remain the preferred shopping method for most consumers who like to see, touch, and feel products before making a purchase, online retailers are not without options when it comes to providing a tangible shopping experience.
Try before you buy programs help online retailers cater to the tactile needs of new and existing shoppers while improving customer relationships and loyalty.
Also published on Medium.