Trial Run

Companies allow consumers to test out major purchases

For Millennials who tend to be shy of buying, trying out products can be key in their decisions. The “test drive” has long been part of the path to purchase, but modern companies are finding ways to bring try-before-you-buy experiences to new consumer categories. From innovative stores to unique digital tools, shoppers can now have practice periods with wedding rings, high-end appliances, and even residential neighborhoods.

082715-1Amoro: Weddings represent a lifelong commitment, but getting stuck with an unsuitable symbol of love shouldn’t be part of the equation. Amoro aims to ease the decision of choosing the perfect wedding ring by offering exact, non-precious replicas of diamond-encrusted jewelry for brides to test before the big day arrives. For a refundable fee of $50 each, the company will send up to three samples to prospective buyers to wear for five days. For example, the trial period allows users to see if the band fits with their engagement ring or to determine if it’s too cumbersome. Ultimately, the deposit can be applied to the purchase of the ideal ring.

082715-2Pirch: The design decisions that go into the most used rooms in the home—the kitchen and bathrooms—can be big-ticket items. Pirch is a luxury appliance store that understands one must be convinced before shelling out top dollar for fixtures. To that end, the retailer has found ways to let consumers get hands-on with everything from stoves to shower heads. Play is part of the brand experience—one of its store centerpieces is a large circular sink where customers can splash about with various faucet options, and customers can even schedule appointments before opening and after closing to experience the store’s showers (robes are provided)!

082715-3Realtor.com: Choosing a house or apartment is one of the most stressful processes for consumers; not only does the home have to be a good fit, but so does the neighborhood. Before they commit, they want to be sure the atmosphere is friendly, to see that there are shopping and entertainment options nearby, and to know that their work commute won’t be a pain. A clever new partnership from Realtor.com and Airbnb leverages the sharing economy to enable house hunters to do just that. When users search properties on the website, it provides a direct link to Airbnb with nearby available rentals so they can test out the area before moving in.