Bringing trial-sized products to retail shelves


When I was at the dentist the other day, I received an unexpected treat: trial-sized packages of a few dental care products that I use. As pretty much everyone knows, it’s a hassle to cram all your personal care products into a single plastic bag when traveling on a plane. Thus, swapping out a few larger items for the trial sizes is a big help — especially if the trial items are small enough to use on a single trip and then throw away before heading home.

Receiving this relative bounty of dental care products made me wonder: why aren’t more trial-sized items sold in stores? The manufacturer is already spending the money to produce the small packages, which apparently get distributed to doctors or dentists as free samples. Bringing these same items to stores where the normal-sized items are sold shouldn’t be that difficult.

In fact, my local CVS has entire shelves dedicated to small, carry-on friendly products. Looking at the random assortment of items featured there, I get the feeling that very few manufacturers are making any effort to bring their trial-sized products to the retail channel. If that’s actually the case, then a brand that makes this a priority should be able to achieve significant distribution for their trial-sized items, and reap the benefits of a new revenue stream in the process.