@GreenWeaver - I love when stores offer free samples. It makes shopping more fun. I also think that companies that perform a customer segmentation analysis can provide better product offerings to its customers because they are focusing on the needs of a various segments of their customer base.
For example, a lot of grocery stores are offering rewards programs in which they compile the customer’s personal data as well as spending habits into a database in order to better serve their customers. They will send targeted coupons and free offers to the customers based on this data.
They can also determine which new products that store should carry and which products should be discounted. This is a great way for the companies to learn about their customer base without asking a customer to fill out a survey because most people dislike surveys and consider it junk mail.
This way you will get most of the customers to respond right away. One store in particular will not give the discounted prices unless the customer fills out a rewards application. The store promises additional coupons and promotions in exchange for this one time set up.
I shop at grocery store that does this and not only do they send me coupons in the mail, but I also receive coupons on the back of my receipt for products that I normally purchase. These incentives can really make grocery shopping a little more fun and it can also tell the grocery store which are their best customers.