Implementing the Try Before You Buy model: Tips and Benefits

In our previous post, we talked about the Try Before You Buy strategy, how it works, and its limitations as a solution for your store. 

Allow me to refresh the concept of Try Before You Buy before we continue. 

Try Before You Buy is a marketing strategy that allows consumers to receive a number of products without any previous payment.  They can proceed to imitate the convenience of a regular store in the comfort of their home and try and check the products before paying for them. In the Stage Try’s Try Before You Buy solution, the return of the unwanted items is paid for by the retailer, presenting the customer with a prepaid shipping label for the way back and simplifying the whole process for them. 

E-commerce’s response to the try-and-tested in-store model of shopping, which usually has a low return rate, is the Try Before You Buy strategy. In the same way, a customer tries the product in the store, this model delivers the product free of charge to the customer’s home, so they can try them there. The return process with this strategy stores is also very streamlined. 

The main objective of Stage Try’s Try Before You Buy solution is to allow the customer to have a good look and feel of the items for a period of seven days and then decide which ones to keep and what they want to return. 

Try Before You Buy services are taking the online industry by storm, catering to a wide variety of retailers. By sending the selected items upfront, the strategy fulfills the order with no payment, allowing the customer to try the items and see what they look like in person before buying them. 

And while this strategy provides excitement and convenience for the customer; the pros are not as clean-cut for the retailer. Sure, it helps the store gain new customers, boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, and lead satisfied customers to refer their friends and family to your business, but it also risks the products getting lost, and incurring unexpected expenses. 

Here are some more statistics for you, real quick: 

  • 57% of customers consider that being able to try the products at home would influence their decision to shop online. 
  • 60% of consumers said an excellent past customer service experience influenced their decision to purchase from a specific brand. 
  • 63% of consumers say the ability to compare similar products is very valuable to them. 
  • However, in the same survey, only 45% of brands say they’re working on improving the flexibility of their shipping and return policies.  

Doing this can boost trust in your brand and encourage the customers to continue buying from you, and have those same customers create word-of-mouth advertising by happily telling their friends and family about your business and the Try Before You Buy option. 

The model is also an excellent way to put more products in the hands of customers, whether they buy now or later, the strategy is perfectly suited to guide new customers through the buyer’s journey, and you can expect word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied customers, which is trusted by 93% of consumers. 

While it’s up to you to decide how many products to include in each Try Before You Buy parcel, it’s important that you know and consider your profit margins, as they are very important to ensure revenue when using this model.

The strategy also makes your store stand out since most stores still have the traditional “Return and Reimburse” policy. On the other hand, Try Before You Buy can help you reduce your return rate because customers are less likely to return products that they had the chance to prove are tried and tested solutions for their needs; not to mention they won’t have to wait for returns to be processed to get reimbursed.  

Most customers report the restocking fee (87%) or return fee (74%) will prevent them from making a purchase online. The growing trend of Try Before You Buy will have a major impact on both, the customer’s purchasing behavior (encouraging them to buy) and returns (reducing the probability of them returning the purchased products).  

When pondering whether or not to add a Try Before You Buy solution to your online store, consider customers have a very positive attitude towards it and the fact it allows them to imitate the experience of a physical store.  

Lastly, Try Before You Buy helps customers make informed purchase decisions directly from the webpage, aided by high-definition images and detailed descriptions of the products. The model also twists the potential bad publicity by ensuring that the customer is satisfied.  

This strategy could be the difference between good and great sales. 

Key Benefits of the Try Before You Buy strategy: 

It differentiates your brand from the rest:

Even though it presents an inevitable risk, offering the Try Before You Buy option will give you a competitive advantage over retailers that don’t offer it. This also encourages the customer to buy from your store and not from a different store with similar products. 

Reach and attract new markets: 

This strategy is great to attract customers who are generally not very confident about shopping online products from a store they’re not familiar with. 

Give customers confidence: 

The capacity to try the products without any compromise reduces second thoughts they may have about your products. The fact they don’t have to pay until they have tried the products and chosen the ones they want makes people more comfortable buying from you, even if they’re new customers. 

Tips to implement the Try Before You Buy solution successfully: 

  • Get ahead of the problem by identifying the reasons for returns. Make sure customers are not being shipped the wrong products or that the information on your webpage is not unclear or misleading. Identifying the reason for the returns to your store is the easiest way to solve them and cut costs. 
  • Take a close look at your profit margins, otherwise, you may end up losing money and the risk will always out weight the benefits. 
  • Avoid margin erosion with calculated free shipping and return. This is an entirely acceptable compromise that protects your store and keeps the customer satisfied.  
  • Find a good and cost-effective way to process the returns. Since customers consider the whole return process to be a nuisance, redirecting them to more efficient return methods is a winning strategy. 
  • Personalize your return policies based on customer behavior, for example, you can cut off serial returners or offer preferential policies for your best customers. 
  • Lower your return costs instead of passing the fee onto the customer. 
  • Charge customers a small subscription for access to the Try Before You Buy solution. 
  • Add 25 cents to each transaction to boost profitability. 
  • Transform returns into exchanges. For example, if a client is returning something because they bought the wrong size, offer to exchange it for a piece in the correct size instead of a return. 
  • Deal with returns early. If the value of the return package is low, dispose of it early instead of wasting time and money getting it back.  
  • Offer a discount to the customer if they keep the item they want to return. Make sure this discount saves you more money than the returned item. 
  • Centralize your data to increase efficiency and to help with inventory management. 
  • Identify the problem with the pieces that are constantly returned and try to solve it. 
  • Learn the perfect purchase flow from your customers. 
  • Prepare your store: Make sure you have the logistical capacity to deal with merchandise out for trial, returns, and in stock for sale. This is extremely important for the solution to work as effectively as possible. 


As you can see, the Try Before You Buy Model can be very good for your store, but you need to take several things into consideration: prepare your store, put protocols in place to keep customers from returning products as much as possible, and keep a close eye on your revenue margins. 

You can find a complete Try Before You Buy solution in Stage Try. Our package includes buttons, banners, landing pages, and marketing campaigns, to cover all the ends of the process and make it as smooth and carefree as possible for you and for your customers.  Learn more by booking a demo with our team right now.

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