Wet Sampling vs Dry Sampling: What is the difference? 

20th February 2023

What is sampling?

Sampling is a popular marketing technique that involves giving consumers a taste or trial of a product to generate interest and build brand awareness. However, when planning a sampling campaign, marketers need to consider whether to use wet or dry sampling.

Wet Sampling 

Wet sampling involves giving consumers a sample of a product that they can consume immediately. This is commonly used for food and beverages, such as snacks, energy drinks, or alcohol.

For example we work alongside Dorset Tea to select some of the best locations along the beautiful Dorset Coast to travel to and distribute wet product samples, promote merchandise and other Tea products in order to generate brand awareness. 

Advantages of wet sampling

#1 Positive brand associations

Firstly, it is an effective way to let consumers experience the taste and texture of a product, which can be a powerful way to create a positive association with the brand. A positive experience can create a lasting impression and lead to word-of-mouth marketing.

#2: Immediate customer feedback

The consumer can experience the product, and their reaction can be gauged instantly. This feedback can help refine the product and provide insight into the consumer’s preferences.

#3 Sense of urgency

Wet sampling can create an immediate impact, generating excitement and interest in the product. Consumers are more likely to purchase a product they have experienced first hand.

Disadvantages of wet sampling

#1 Costly 

Wet sampling can be more costly than dry sampling. Additional staff, equipment, and inventory are required, and there may be a need to obtain permits or approvals from regulatory agencies.

#2 Not suitable for all audiences

Some consumers may be hesitant to consume a product without knowing the ingredients or nutritional information, which could impact the success of the campaign.

Dry Sampling

Dry sampling, on the other hand, involves giving consumers a sample of a product that they can take home and use later. This is commonly used for products such as beauty items, cleaning supplies, household items, dry food samples. Dry sampling allows consumers to experience the product in their own time and space, which can be particularly useful for products that require a more extended trial period or that are used in a specific context.

For example, our most recent campaign with Shan Foods entailed our brand ambassadors establishing themselves in areas where the Shan Foods target audience would be most likely to visit and handing out complimentary spice mixes for the public to take home and taste.

Advantages of dry sampling

#1 Most Economical

There are several benefits to dry sampling. Firstly, it can be more cost-effective than wet sampling, as there is no need for additional staff or equipment.

#2 Reach a Wider Audience

It can reach a wider audience, as consumers can take the sample home and share it with others. This can lead to additional word-of-mouth marketing and increased brand awareness.

#3 Versatile 

Finally, dry sampling can be more versatile, as it can be used for a wider range of products and can be more easily adapted to suit different audiences.

Disadvantages of dry sampling

#1: Less Effective Than Wet Sampling

However, there are also some drawbacks to dry sampling. Firstly, it may not be as effective as wet sampling for products that rely on the taste or sensory experience. Consumers may be unable to fully evaluate the product unless they try it on the spot.

#2 Wasted Goods

Secondly, there is a risk that the sample may not be used, which can be a waste of resources. Finally, there may be a delay in receiving feedback as the consumer may take some time to use the product and provide feedback.

How do I choose which sampling method to use, wet or dry? 

When deciding which sampling method to use, marketers need to consider several factors. These include the product being sampled, the target audience, and the campaign’s objectives.

For example, if the objective is to create a sense of urgency and generate immediate sales, then wet sampling may be the best option. On the other hand, if the objective is to create brand awareness and reach a wider audience, then dry sampling may be the better choice. Marketers may also consider a combination of wet and dry sampling, depending on the product, audience, and objectives.

Other sampling methods

In addition to wet and dry sampling, there are also other sampling methods that marketers can consider. These include in-store sampling, where samples are distributed in a retail setting, and event sampling, where samples are distributed at events such as trade shows or concerts.

In-store sampling can be an effective way to reach a targeted audience and create a sense of urgency. Consumers are already in a purchasing mindset when they are in a store, and the sampling can be a way to push them over the edge and make a purchase. Event sampling can be an effective way to reach a wider audience and create a memorable experience. However, these methods may also have drawbacks, such as the limited reach of in-store sampling or the high cost of event sampling.

Both wet and dry sampling can be effective marketing techniques, but they each have their strengths and weaknesses. Marketers should also consider other sampling methods, such as in-store sampling and event sampling, to find the most effective way to generate interest and build brand awareness. Ultimately, the success of a sampling campaign will depend on the creativity, planning, and execution of the campaign, as well as the quality of the product being sampled.

Product sampling is a difficult campaign to execute if your company has never done it before. Our best recommendation is to employ a product sampling agency to assist with strategy, planning, hiring and managing brand ambassadors, and dealing with distribution techniques. GottaBe! Marketing has been in the industry for 15 years and has grown very adept at product sample campaigns. If you’re looking for a new way to boost your brand but don’t know where to start, we’d love to help. Fill out this form to get started: