The US Postal Service is attempting to give the product samples market another nudge, with a promotional 5% discount on postage during a campaign this summer.
Registration has just opened for consumer goods companies and other marketers to take part in the promotion, which takes place from the beginning of August to the end of September.
USPS believes sending trial-sized product samples through the mail is a good way to get consumers to switch brands or try new products – and spur its own mail volumes.
The Postal Service cites 2009 research suggesting that product samples reach 70m consumers in the US each quarter, with two in three consumers accepting them. The Postal Service also claims 92% of consumers have purchased a product after trying a sample.
The new promotion is designed to raise awareness of the Postal Service’s new “Simple Samples” pricing category within the Standard Mail service, which offers product sample mailers flat-rate shipping, volume discounts and easier mail preparation.
Customers can use a mailing list to send samples to specific addresses, or send samples to every house on a route through saturation mailing services.
“Product sampling has a long, successful track record of building brand awareness and product demand, especially if the consumer receives the sample where the product will be used,” said Gary Reblin, vice president, New Products and Innovation. “Oftentimes, this is the home, and the best way to get product samples into the home is through the U.S. Mail.”
To qualify for the summer promotion, consumer packaged goods companies and mail service providers must use a Permit Imprint for postage, all mailpieces must contain a product sample and be accompanied by mailing document submitted electronically to USPS.
They will then get an upfront 5% discount on their product sample mail.
“Just like the consumers who try their products, consumer packaged goods companies will love Simples Samples once they’ve tried it.”
USPS launched a new “Sample Showcase” service in 2011, which allowed manufacturers to showcase multiple product samples within a single box. However, the service did not take off, with data sent to the regulator this week suggesting that no volumes at all are being sent through the service.
Last year the Postal Service held a special symposium with advertising experts and consumer goods manufacturers to investigate how to re-start the field of product samples.
Tags: product samples, USA, USPS
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