Next month, Sam’s Club is set to launch what could be a game-changer in the world of demos and pallets (at the very least, it’s pretty darn cool). Described as a “Redbox for free samples”, the Freeosk is pretty much what its name suggests: A kiosk-like platform or pallet that essentially dispenses free samples of product.

For anyone used to selling in experiential environments like the clubs, the Freeosk poses some clear advantages versus the traditional platforms:

  • It’s experiential: Freeosk elevates shopping by encouraging engagement and trial, drawing shoppers in with its visual display and screen ads (images below).
  • It’s flexible: Freeosk provides more flexible demos, particularly for products in categories that have been traditionally excluded from typical demos (e.g., edible packaged goods in addition to non-edible items like dishwasher detergent).
  • It’s smart: Since members have to swipe their loyalty or membership card to get a free sample, Freeosk supports data collection and integration, shedding light on engagement, adoption and conversion.

Of course, there’s always a catch: Freeosk units are supplier funded and come with a supplier “programming fee”. We also don’t quite know how the reality of Freeosk will play out against the vision, as costs, logistics and usability could certainly impact any ROI.

My Take: Experience and engagement are key to driving shopper acquisition and retention, particularly in club where demonstrating unique value is a given. The beauty of Freeosk is that it promises to support just that. While the actual logistics, functionality and cost of it remain to be seen, the fact that it is initially launching through Sam’s Club is particularly telling. As the retailer continues to look for ways to differentiate and digitally integrate, this latest platform should provide valuable, live insight into what’s resonating with members and, importantly, what’s not.

Source:; (September 2013)

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