USPS introduces product samples by mail

The US Postal Service has introduced a new service allowing marketers to send product samples through the US mail. It said sending packages “brimming with food and personal care sample items” would be a proven way for direct mailers to engage with consumers, test new products and generate sales.

The Sample Showcase product was launched this week with more than 250,000 households in the cities of Austin, Chicago and Denver being sent sample packages.

The USPS said it carried out market testing on the service in May last year, in trials that saw 95% of recipients expressing excitement at receiving Sample Showcase packages in the mail.

The Postal Service suggested a “significant number” of those receiving the sample packages then went on to purchase the item being sampled.

“Sample Showcase is a highly effective way to deliver product samples directly to consumers, and it arrives at the household in an attractive package,” said Paul Vogel, USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer.

“By harnessing the unique ability of the mail to access the household in a highly targeted manner, product marketers now have an engaging, measurable and cost-effective way to break through the clutter, build a customer base and increase sales.”

The Sample Showcase packages are assembled and distributed by online sampling sales and distribution specialist StartSampling, a company based outside of Chicago that has previously managed e-sampling promotional events for clients including Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Kimberly Clark, Unilever, Kraft Foods and GlaxoSmithKline.

The company will provide the Sample Showcase assembly and distribution into the US mail under contract with USPS.

Postmaster General Pat Donahoe told Congress earlier this month that he considered the service a particularly promising addition to the USPS line-up, as the organization seeks to introduce a wider range of products to diversify revenues, particularly in the business-to-consumer channel.

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