Citi has expanded its incentive card offerings, in partnership with Young America, to deliver prepaid cards that consumers can use to claim a sample product from any participating merchant:
“Working in coordination with retailers and manufacturers, Young America’s new product sampling process allows their clients to send customers a prepaid card which in turn allows the customer to pick up free, full-size product samples at participating retail locations or grocery stores, rather than receiving a “trial size” version of the product by mail.
‘Our new product sampling process not only reduces shipping costs and packaging waste, but it also significantly increases the ability to build brand awareness, brand preference and market share,’ said Joe Custer, President of Young America. ‘We expect our new product sampling process to increase consumer product trial interaction by at least three to four times as compared to traditional methods.’
Custer also noted that the company’s new sampling method benefits manufacturers in two ways: they can cost-effectively increase their sample size and they can offer trials of any kind of product, including beverages, fresh, frozen and ready-made foods, and heavy items such as laundry detergent, breakable items like light bulbs or even over-the counter medications.
‘Consumers today are smart, and they demand value,’ said Custer. ‘Our new trial process helps our clients tap into that demand as broadly as possible at minimal cost to them and the consumer.’ ”
It’s yet to be seen if this solution can break the “chicken or egg” paradox that has slowed adoption of similar solutions. Manufacturers are unwilling to participate unless a large number of merchants accept the card, while merchants won’t participate until a large number of cards are issued representing a significant redeemable dollar value. Getting both manufacturers and retailers to invest simultaneously has greatly delayed several solutions similar, but with the backing of Citi, perhaps retailers and manufacturers will take the prerequisite leap of faith.