How Try Before You Buy Can Drive Growth for Your Business

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When a consumer visits a brick-and-mortar store, they have the option to touch and see a product in real time. They can try it on, assess if the fit is right, and decide whether they should shell out to make the purchase.

Online shopping has undoubtedly changed the way sophisticated consumers shop—but it’s often meant asking them to take a chance with their hard-earned money. 

Today, Shopify is hoping to improve that consumer experience for our merchants by announcing “try before you buy,” a new purchase option that gives consumers a flexible shopping experience and more confidence in their buying decisions, with the goal of increasing sales for your Shopify store. Here’s how it works and how it can level up your business.

Table of contents

  1. What is the “try before you buy” purchase option?
  2. What are the benefits of offering “try before you buy?”
  3. How to get started on Shopify
  4. Launch “try before you buy” for your business

What is the “try before you buy” purchase option?

“Try before you buy” is a new purchase option that allows you to ship orders to customers before collecting payment—meaning you can charge customers after they have the opportunity to try your product—whether it’s three days, seven days, much longer, or somewhere in between. 

Customers provide their payment information upfront, allowing you to create the full authorization before fulfilling the order to ensure you receive payment at a future date. We securely store each customer’s payment information in the platform to safeguard this data throughout the pre-purchase experience.

This act creates invaluable trust between customers and your brand, with safeguards in place that make offering “try before you buy” a smart decision for your business.

What are the benefits of offering “try before you buy?”  

Launching a “try before you buy” program can benefit your business in three main ways: it can boost convenience for customers, increase conversions, and drive growth for your business. 

Drive greater customer convenience

Naturally, consumers are hesitant to purchase a product online that they’ve never seen, touched, or tried on in person—especially with higher consideration products or higher price points. Offering “try before you buy” can address this barrier. In one survey, 74% of consumers said being able to try on a product before buying it would eliminate a major downside of online shopping. 

In today’s competitive ecommerce environment, consumers place a high premium on flexibility and convenience. 57% of consumers even said these two factors influenced their decisions to buy online, according to Shopify’s Future of Commerce study. With “try before you buy” and flexible shipping and return policies, your customers can browse a product online, try it on, or experience it at home—bringing your merchandise closer to them and building their trust, loyalty, and satisfaction in the process. 

Increase conversions 

This purchase option also can increase sales for your business. 

With traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, digitally-native brands, and online marketplaces, consumers have limitless options to buy clothing, shoes, and other accessories. 

Whether you run a small or medium-sized business, you need to find a way to differentiate your brand. “Try before you buy” gives customers an easy way to compare your product to others in the market—or to have such a great initial experience with your product that they decide not to look elsewhere. 

For some brands, try-on customers typically have an average order value that’s three times higher than customers who don’t participate in a try-on experience. Offering “try before you buy” can help you increase near-term sales, as well as customer lifetime value. “Try before you buy” programs are particularly valuable for companies in the apparel and accessories space.

Grow your customer base

Though it’s a Catch-22, customers are sometimes hesitant to purchase from a new business if they’ve never tried their product before or received a recommendation for it. 

“Try before you buy” alleviates many of these concerns because customers get first-hand experience with your product and can form their own opinions about it. There’s also no commitment or financial risk involved, because they only pay after they’ve decided to keep it. 

“Try before you buy” also addresses another issue: When consumers are unsure about a purchase, they often don’t complete it. Cart abandonment rates range from about 70% for desktop all the way up to nearly 86% for mobile. This represents hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in potential lost revenue for smaller merchants. With more flexible purchase options like “try before you buy,” you can take some of this uncertainty away and help customers make a more informed buying decision.

Companies are already taking advantage of this purchase option on Shopify to attract more customers. GoodLife, a high-end menswear brand, used the TryNow app to launch a “try before you buy” program that enabled shoppers to try its premium-priced products. The company also wanted to reduce its customer acquisition costs and reliance on discounts. 

GoodLife launched the program, advertising it through paid media and email. As a result, the company saw a 15% increase in email click throughs, a 47% lift in return on ad spend (ROAS) for its TryNow ads compared to standard ads, and higher average order values for TryNow customers. GoodLife also saw a $10 decrease in customer acquisition costs with its TryNow campaigns, and a lift in both customer retention and customer lifetime value. 

How to get started on Shopify

Download a “try before you buy” app 

To get started, simply install a “try before you buy” app from the Shopify App Store, like TryNow.

Once you’ve completed this setup process in the Shopify admin, you’ll be able to see the trial details in the purchase options section of the product page for any products or associated SKUs that have this purchase option applied to them. From here, you can add details about how long the trial will last—as stated above—three days, seven days, or much longer. 

Customers will see this information in the order summary when they check out.

Build your own custom “try before you buy” solution 

We’ve introduced “try before you buy” APIs and tooling to make it easy for partners and developers to build new experiences directly within Shopify Checkout. Learn more here.

Launch “try before you buy” for your business

If you want to engage customers and turn them into repeat buyers, offering more flexibility is key. Using “try before you buy” in your Shopify store is one way to give your customers more options and move them from the uncertainty stage to the ready-to-buy stage. 

About the author

Satta Sarmah-Hightower

Satta Sarmah Hightower is a journalist-turned-content marketer and has been a full-time freelancer since 2014.

Through her content marketing consultancy, Talented Tenth Media, Satta collaborates with agencies, content studios, and brands in diverse industries and has produced and managed content for several clients.

Check out Satta Sarmah-Hightower’s work