The Future of Grocery Store Samples Is Looking Super Techy

published Oct 4, 2021
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Few joys in the world match the delight of a free sample at Costco. When the warehouse store paused their signature freebie program during the pandemic last year, it symbolized the tiny ways the health crisis stole fun — minor compared to the big picture, but still so sad. Now, a company hopes to avoid that issue in the future by automating samples in grocery stores. 

With 1,400 stations already set up in grocery stores around the country, Freeosk aims to safely automate the sampling process. The booth lets shoppers find new products and gives stores the opportunity to share items without needing extensive setup or staffing. Currently you can mostly find the touchless interactive sampling kiosks in Sam’s Club and Walmart stores, where they offer sample products like Jimmy Dean breakfast nuggets, Tyson sweet ginger bites, and L’Oreal Le Color gloss. They are also in a few Safeway, Albertsons, Randalls, and Tom Thumb shops, too. 

Credit: Courtesy of Freeosk

To retrieve your sample in-store, you just pull up the Freeosk app on your phone and scan it to see what that week’s sample is at the station. You can also use the store’s own loyalty app, like Walmart’s, to retrieve samples. 

While it does lack the charm of the sweet staffers that make the Costco and Trader Joe’s sampling experiences the stuff of legends, this offers a safe alternative in a time where it’s so important to avoid sharing space with strangers. While stores struggle to find enough employees and products just to keep things running smoothly, the free kiosk model allows stores to continue offering samples without detracting from the rest of the shopping experience. If you’re a freebie-lover, try your local Freeosk the next time you visit a participating store.