A few years ago the Japanese surprised the retail and marketing world with Sample lab. It was a new kind of physical store formed around a business model based on the idea of free. The highly successful concept has sprouted a lot of clones. Strangely the idea is still not picked up that fast in the west. Maybe it is too fresh, just as the Chinese idea of group buying was several years ago. That the idea of shopping for free has a lot of opportunities in retail proves this very bald idea from the on-line sample site Luke 19 and convenience store chain Famima! They invented a super smart initiative that uses the strengths of both parties.
The Family Mart stores already have in-store terminals where customers can purchase concert tickets, pay for things ordered online, make reservations and more. Using this same “FamiPort” terminal the 500,000 members of Luke 19 will now be able to log-on with their user ID and password, and then receive sample products immediately. The 8.000 Family convenience stores will introduce some 20 samples per month, including drinks and sweets. When Luke 19 members collect their samples, they will be asked to fill out a short survey and the organizers will also gather data on the kinds of other purchases that members bought during their visit to the store.