That’s right, #TBYB. Try Before You Buy. This hashtag and business model have been trending for more than a year, but today they are getting more and more attention from stalwart shoppers online.

And, more attention from smart online merchants working hard to eliminate that last bit of friction for buyers who insist on "trying things on” first.

Let’s see. You can have a car brought to your house for a seven-day trial (Carvana). Keeping in mind that the return of a car may not be quite like returning a ring within two weeks (Gemist). Or a mattress (Casper’s 100-day trial has a zillion competitors and looonnnggg return policies are now table stakes in that world).

But eyeglasses (Warby Parker), bras (ThirdLove), and clothing (Amazon’s Prime Wardrobe) are all on the bandwagon for this type of online selling.


If you need further evidence this trend is taking hold, look no further than the development of #TBYB platforms that integrate with your existing online stores or bring a seamless experience to your customers (BlackCart, Swell, and TryNow).

One could argue that even the payments companies, a la Klarna, are trying to “platformize” [Editor’s Note: I get to make up words like these; get you own blog if you want to do the same] the #TBYB options. These companies are already “in” your shopping cart so they know their way around.

Maybe we should recap what this experience is like. Every brand is different and some restrict these purchases to one item at a time or only certain product categories. Gemist, mentioned above, only sells rings with #TBYB because rings were the pain point for their customers.

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  1. Shopper picks one or several products to try out.
  2. Product is received by your customer who now has a trial period determined by the seller.
  3. As the trial period expires, consumers need to decide between keeping or returning the item.

Some e-commerce retailers claim conversion rates are way up, Average Order Value (AOV) is doubling or tripling, while returns are being greatly reduced.

Hello #TBYB, goodbye friction!

We think ThirdLove’s mantra is the winner that consumers can relate to:

“Only Buy If You Love It!”

Powerful and empowering words for a powerful and empowering online strategy. Don’t you think?