Marketers know that consumers’ sensory experiences while making purchasing decisions affect which products they choose. For example, while Unilever sells both Axe and Dove deodorant, the sound made by Axe spray is engineered to sound different than Dove spray. Marketers also often use sampling to steer consumers toward a certain product — perfume companies, for instance, may offer fragrance samples on different colored test strips, ensure sampled fragrances are different colors, or that they are sampled in a particular order. Samples are attractive because they are cheaper than advertising and because they provide powerful, hands-on experience with the product.
Sampling presents consumers with a variety of products across a range of sensory cues. “In theory, the order of the sensory cues should not matter, since the information received is the same,” says Professor Don Lehmann.