Sampling is an easy and effective way to promote products and help customers purchase products that best suit their needs. For example, when a customer is in a typical type of brick-and-mortar store, sample products is an already “built in” option that helps customers make a choice; something that online stores rarely offer. Imagine that you can provide the same level of tailored service and support to your clients from your ecommerce site. Everything from fabrics to construction materials to cosmetics, even food! Online shoppers could have the opportunity to feel, taste, touch, and smell all these products and understand if it’s what they truly want.

You can help them out by implementing a sampling program like Home & Fabrics Online did. In addition to ordering normal products from the catalog, they also offer the ability to order samples of their fabrics to try out in your own space before you buy.

Home Fabrics and Rugs

 

The good news is that this kind of functionality is easy to implement in any Magento 1x store with our fresh off the press extension – SAMPLE PRODUCT EXTENSION. Let’s take a closer look at what you get when adding this option to your store:

  • Enable sample ordering for each product individually
  • Setup the price of samples for the entire catalog or for each particular category separately
  • Setup sample product prices as a flat price or as a percent of a product price

And the best part is that with all of these things in mind, you can apply this feature to any of your Magento stores and there’s no need to manage sample inventory.

Please note that the “sample product” feature can be enabled only in the following Magento product types:

  • Simple product
  • Simple product with custom options
  • Configurable product

While it may seem complex, the reality is even easier than pie. Let’s just look how the price of a sample product is formed:

1) Flat price.

In this option, the price of a sample is the same for all products in the Catalog (General sample price) or in the Category (Sample price depending on the Category).

2) Percentage.

In this option, sample price for simple products is calculated as a percentage of the base product price (not the special price, tire price etc.). For configurable products, sample price is counted as a percentage of product price+price of options.

Sample product extension user guide

To add the Samples option to your products, the first thing you should do is select the Admin Panel Catalog >>Manage Products >> Product >> General tab and set the Product Attribute “Has Sample” value to “Yes”.

Samples option

 

Then, we can set the sample prices. You can do it by going to System >> Configuration >> Sample product.

Sample prices

 

If you want to offer all your samples for the same price, no matter the size, color, shape, etc you’ll want to set a single sample price for the entire Catalog. Let’s say all samples will be sold at $5. Simply specify “5” in the sample price field, and you’re good to go. This allows you to apply a single numeric value for the entire Catalog.

Single numeric value

 

Or, if your products are more diverse, you have an option to set sample prices for different Categories, as needed. Here, you have two options how the price can be set: as a flat price or a percentage of the regular product price.

Sample prices for different Categories

Sample prices for different Categories 2

Additionally, if there is a need to add/modify categories, click on the Add button.

Add button

Note: Sample price by category takes a higher priority than general sample price. So, if both fields are filled out, sample price by category will override the general sample price. With this in mind, it’s important to pay close attention to the field where the information is added.

 

How Sample Product Extension works on the frontend

When you land on the page featuring a simple product, you’ll notice a “Buy Sample” button near the “Add to cart” button. You can ask your Magento developers to add other text if you’d like, as well as style the button in accordance with your site appearance.

The purchasing workflow does not differ from the standard scenario of purchasing in Magento, as we’ll see below. Let’s pretend we cotton drape sample, here’s how we’d do it:

  1. Open the product page with cotton drape.
  2. Select the Buy Sample button.

Buy sample

     3. Go to the Shopping cart and proceed to the button that increases happiness: Checkout.

In case you want to order a sample of a Simple product with Custom options or a Configurable product, the Buy Sample button appears only after all the required sample product setup options have been selected. So instead of cotton drape, maybe this time we want to sample a new pillow. In this case, the workflow is as follows:

  1. Open the Product page with the pillow.
  2. Modify and adjust all the required fields of information, as you can see below.

Fields modifying3. And voila, the Buy Sample option appears after all product options have been specified. Now your customers are ready to order samples of whatever you may have to offer.

Buy Sample option4. The customer can then click the Buy Sample button.

 5. Head to the Shopping cart and proceed to Checkout. 

As you can see, our extension makes it pretty easy to add and manage sample product functionality. Considering the fact that sampling is one of the most effective tactics to increase sales, it makes sense to at least give it a try in your own store. And since this extension is completely free and can be downloaded from our Github account, the choice is simple. If you need additional custom Magento development, or if you have any questions regarding the current version of the extension we’re here to help.