Stand Out in a Crowded Ecommerce Market with “Try Before You Buy”

Irene Wanja Apr 11, 2023

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the world of ecommerce, the phrase “Try before you buy” (TBYB) has become increasingly popular. The concept is simple—customers have the opportunity to try products before making a purchase—and is often a win-win for all involved.

At its core, strategy is an attempt to reduce some of the uncertainty that comes with online shopping. By giving shoppers the chance to feel a product in their hands, see it in person, and try it on, they can make more informed decisions about whether or not to buy a product. This approach allows shoppers to make better purchasing decisions and ultimately leads to a more satisfied customer base.

confused online shopper uncertainty make better purchasing decisions

Benefits for business owners

  1. One of the primary benefits of TBYB is that it can improve the overall customer experience. For ecommerce store owners, this can translate directly into more sales and higher profits. When people feel like they have the opportunity to try products before committing to a purchase, they are more likely to have a positive shopping experience. They also feel more confident in their purchasing decisions, which can lead to fewer returns and fewer negative reviews.
  2. In addition to improving the customer experience, this method can also benefit ecommerce business owners by helping them differentiate themselves from their competitors. As more and more online stores enter the market, competition is becoming increasingly fierce. By letting people try something out before committing to purchasing, you can set yourself apart from the competition and attract more customers.
  3. A third benefit of going this route is that it can help to increase customer loyalty. When people have a positive experience trying products before buying, they are more likely to return to the store in the future. This can lead to repeat business, which is critical for the long-term success of any business.

Benefits for customers

From the online shopper’s perspective, there are also several benefits to trying before buying: 

  1. The most obvious advantage is that they have the opportunity to try products before committing to a purchase. This approach can help to reduce the risk of buying a product that doesn’t meet their needs or expectations.
  2. By giving products a trial run, customers can also save time and money. Rather than ordering a product online, waiting for it to arrive, and then returning it if it doesn’t meet their needs, they can avoid this process altogether by trying the product in person first. This approach can save your shoppers both time and money since they don’t have to pay for return shipping fees.
  3. Trying something out before purchasing can help people make more informed decisions about the products they purchase. By seeing and touching a product before committing to a purchase, they can get a better sense of what the product is really like. This approach can be particularly helpful when purchasing clothing or other items that need to fit well.

Disadvantages for business owners

  1. Despite the many benefits of “try before you buy,” there are also some potential downsides. One of the biggest challenges is the cost of implementing such a program. This approach requires a significant investment of time and money on the part of ecommerce store owners. For smaller businesses, this investment may be too much to handle.
  2. Additionally, offering this benefit can be challenging for certain types of products. For example, it may be difficult for ecom store owners to offer TBYB for digital products like software or e-books. In these cases, shoppers must rely on reviews and other information to make informed purchasing decisions.

Despite its challenges, this method is a powerful concept that offers significant benefits to both customers and ecommerce store owners. 

One example of an online store that has successfully implemented TBYB is Warby Parker. Warby Parker is an eyewear company that allows people to try on their glasses at home before making a purchase. This approach has been incredibly successful, helping Warby Parker to differentiate itself from its competitors and build a loyal customer base.

store with successful implementation of Try Before You Buy Strategy

Warby Parker offers a “Home Try-On” option, sending you a box with five frames that you choose at home, complete with return label (all free of charge). Their customers get to try on the different glasses for a period of 5 days, keep the ones they like and pay for them and return the ones they don’t like. 

Another ecom store that has successfully implemented risk-free product trial runs is Stitch Fix. They’re a clothing subscription service that allows shoppers to try on clothing before committing to a purchase. This approach has been incredibly successful and helped the company build a large and dedicated customer base.

store successfully implemented risk-free product trial runs clothing subscription

They start by asking their people to take a quiz that teaches their AI algorithm the person’s clothes preference, which in return suggests clothing items that match the customer’s style. Shoppers also get their clothes handpicked by a human stylist apart from the AI recommendation and delivered to them monthly, quarterly or a frequency of their choosing to try out. And if they choose to keep the clothing, they get a 25% discount.


“Try before you buy” is a powerful concept that offers significant benefits to both customers and ecom store owners. By reducing the uncertainty associated with online shopping, you can create a more positive shopping experience, which can lead to increased sales, higher profits, and a more satisfied customer base. While there are some challenges associated with implementing this method, the benefits are clear, making it a valuable tool for any ecommerce store looking to succeed in today’s competitive market.


About the author

Irene Wanja

Irene, a skilled Revenue Optimization Specialist for Build Grow Scale, combines an unparalleled focus on user research and a deep understanding of the ecommerce customer journey to orchestrate optimal shopping experiences. With an uncanny knack for detecting and addressing customer pain points through meticulous user testing, she utilizes tools such as moderated user tests, heatmaps, scrollmaps, and clickmaps to fast-track improvements in user experience and usability. Her keen eye for detail aids in swiftly spotting potential issues and implementing solutions, all while working closely with store owners and applying her intricate comprehension of user interactions. Passionate about software and technology, Irene immerses herself in enhancing her clients' business clarity, efficiency, and user satisfaction. Even though the value of user experience doesn't conform to a conventional numerical scale, the tangible outcomes of her work—improved user experience, amplified retention rates, and reduced customer support issues—are testaments to her prowess. Beyond her revenue optimization skills, Irene is a skilled writer and copywriter. She weaves her profound insights into engaging prose, crafting content that not only resonates with diverse audiences but also demystifies the complexities of user experience, consequently benefitting businesses worldwide.