- Nutella, the brand of hazelnut spread marketed by confectionary giant Ferrero, helped people celebrate National Pancake Day on March 5 by letting them order free samples from the voice-powered Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, according to a company announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Customers must register a name and address at the Send Me a Sample website before placing an order. After creating an account at the site, customers can simply say "Send me a sample of Nutella" to either virtual assistant to activate the offer and receive the sample by mail.
- Ferrero is reportedly the first company to use Send Me a Sample's voice-powered technology in the U.S., per the details shared with Mobile Marketer. Other products available for sampling include Butterfinger candy and Diet Coke.
Offering product samples in direct mail packages or in-store counters has been a popular way to let customers test out products before committing to the full-size package. By letting customers use Alexa or Google Assistant to request a sample hands-free, it appears Nutella is working to reach a new generation of consumers willing to use emerging mobile technology to test products and unlock free samples.
While the voice-powered process appears to be simple once a user is registered, requiring registration at the Send Me a Sample website is a key friction point that may limit how many people actually use the feature. If the company begins to partner with more brands to offer a greater variety of products, Send Me a Sample improves its value proposition to consumers, and could spur repeat visits to drum up loyalty.
Nutella's latest campaign demonstrates the growing capabilities of voice-powered devices in marketing. The number of voice assistants in use is predicted to jump threefold to 8 billion by 2023 from 2.5 billion at the end of 2018, per a forecast from Juniper Research. Amazon has a 70% share of the U.S. smart speaker market with its Echo devices that run Alexa, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
For Amazon, which this year tested a program where consumer product brands like Maybelline and Folgers pay to send free samples to Amazon customers based on data indicating what they may buy, free samples may help the company grow its advertising sales and gain an edge over Facebook and Google.