Amazon pilots free sample program

BY Dan Berthiaume

Amazon is an innovative retailer, but is willing to use old-fashioned promotional techniques.

Without any official announcement, Amazon has been piloting an effort known as “Amazon Sampling.” According to the Amazon Sampling web page, the program “helps customers discover products they might love by sending them free samples from new and established brands.”

The Amazon Sampling FAQ page states that samples are always free, with no obligation to purchase any product. Customers do not have to be Amazon Prime members to receive samples, which can be sent to any active Amazon account.

Interestingly, while there is an opt-out option, Amazon Sampling is not an opt-in program. “Amazon surprises select customers with samples that we think will be delightful and helpful,” says the FAQ page. Sample items are automatically sent to the default address of a customer’s active account. Customers will need to change their default address if they want samples sent somewhere else.

Currently, there is no limit to how many samples a customer can receive. As examples of products which have been sent historically, Amazon cites pet food products from Nutro, Cesar, Greenies, and Purina Beyond; grocery products from SunButter, Kind, 1850 Coffee, Bear Naked, Dunkin Donuts, and Orgain Kids; beauty products from Calvin Klein, Maybelline, L’Oreal Paris, Dove, and Lumify; health and wellness products from BSN/Glanbia and Bulletproof; and household products from Oxiclean.

Amazon has declined public comment on Amazon Sampling. The online giant’s legal terms for advertisers indicate that advertisers will deliver sample items to Amazon at designated locations and dates, at their own expense.

Free product samples are not the only feature Amazon has quietly rolled out. Amazon also recently debuted a new virtual reality (VR)-based tool, known as Amazon Showroom, that enables shoppers to place realistic 3D images of home furnishings into a virtual living room, without an official announcement.


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