Imagine needing a new mattress so you begin browsing online for the best option that would meet your needs. After finding one with good reviews, imagery, and a description of the bed’s comfort, you decide to purchase it. The mattress is delivered and you lay down for the night and it just isn’t the right fit, and now you have to go through the whole process of calling the brand and asking for a shipping label, or worse, the bed was considered a final sale and now you’re stuck with it.

This is obviously something that has affected the majority of people out there as polls have shown that around 71% of people would be more interested in a brand if it offered try-before-you-buy services. Without the hassle of figuring out the return policy, this service allows consumers to give products a test trial before any purchase is needed. Now more than ever with COVID-19 changing buying behaviour, companies will need to prioritise eCommerce trends to stay ahead of the competition; one method being: try before you buy online shopping.

How Does Try Before You Buy Work?

The process of try-before-you-buy is essentially how it sounds, allowing consumers to try out your products or services before choosing whether or not to go through with the sale. Similar to in-person shopping, this strategy allows consumers to physically try out the product only with the added bonus of being able to stay at home while items are delivered to your front door; also, helping create a safe environment amidst COVID-19.

As of 2020, 62% of online shoppers have been recorded shopping at least once a month, so your business utilising this service is a great marketing strategy to attract consumers to your own site for potential sales. Your business should also be researching different ways to promote try-before-you-buy strategies because with more people online than ever due to the pandemic, aspects such as social media platforms or company landing pages are seeing greatly increased traffic.

Using Try-Before-You-Buy eCommerce In Your Own Business Approach

People going into stores to try out products before purchasing has somewhat come to a halt since the start of the pandemic. Carrying out your own business approach in response and utilising try-before-you-buy marketing offers an alternative route to the old in-person store visit that consumers were used to pre-COVID.

Statistics show that 81% of shoppers research a product online before buying, meaning this method is a great way to have a consumer actually experience the product or service first hand rather than just visually seeing it on the internet. With the advantages this brings to consumers, your brand should also be aware of the possible disadvantages it brings to your budget and inventory.

Products that you are allowing consumers to test are essentially inventory that can no longer be used and resold if it ends up being returned due to health restrictions. The purpose of try-before-you-buy eCommerce is to create a loyal customer base for your consumers’ trust to buy from, yet your company could be in serious trouble if all inventory ends up being returned.

Along with lost inventory, your business needs to be aware of the budget it’s setting and if your company decides to offer free shipping and returns. It’s also important for your business to produce a well-constructed product or service that a consumer will not want to end up returning to ensure conversions and create a good ROI.

Undoubtedly, this may be a challenging service to offer consumers, especially if it was never utilised before, but most likely the ROI will far outweigh the possible disadvantages of try before you buy online shopping amidst COVID-19. The more your brand promotes this offering, the better chances of conversion there will be.

Try Before You Buy Case Studies

Try before you buy online shopping is a great way to allow consumers to trust your brand as a company. This strategy, when enacted over a long-term period of time, creates loyal consumers that are likely to return based on the morals your brand has created. During the pandemic, this form of personalised support can potentially create huge advances for your brand moving forward. Below are examples of companies taking action with try before you buy, only pay for what you keep: 

Warby Parker: Eye glassware company Warby Parker has created a personalised approach to the try-before-you-buy experience, allowing customers to take a quiz to help pick out the perfect pairs for their face shape. On top of this customised approach, Warby Parker sends a total of five selected glasses by the consumer, installed with the correct ready-to-wear lenses to be tried on at home once delivered. This option saves customers the time of scheduling an eye-doctor appointment and the glasses are a great option for the convenience of the buyer. Once, the customer picks out their favourite frames, they then seal the box back up and return the rest of the glasses to the company, along with paying for kept glasses.

Casper: Mattress company Casper has offered clients the best possible option when it comes to trying out their product by offering consumers a 100-day mattress trial period before choosing to commit to buying the product or not. After the trial, consumers can easily send in their payment or have a free pick-up delivery service to return the mattress if they decide it’s not the right fit. Casper offering a free return is a great way to entice customers to try out their products by eliminating the fear of making a non-refundable large purchase.


Overall, the use of try-before-you-buy online shopping is a great method for companies to use during the current crisis at hand. With fear still spreading amongst many, being able to try products out from home is the closest customers will get to in-store shopping for the time being. While this approach comes with some obstacles, it has the potential to create loyal consumers, as well as send a positive message to your audience that you care specifically about their needs and convenience. With no end to the pandemic in sight, this is the perfect time for your customers to take advantage of this marketing strategy.



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