Imagine having the chance to comment on Old Navy jeans and then getting rewarded with a free sweater! That’s the beauty of doing market research. In order to gauge consumer opinions about new products, companies seek input from everyday people. In return, participants get free product samples, gift cards or cash.

Manufacturers and retailers give out product samples to increase brand awareness or to introduce a product for consumers to try, in hopes that it may result in a future purchase.

There are seemingly endless opportunities to participate in online market research. Here are a couple options offering product samples or cash in exchange for honest input about new products.

CrowdTap

A fast, four-step process leads to participation in market research for CrowdTap. Participants have recently offered input on products from brands such as Adidas, Old Navy, Pepperidge Farm and American Express. Sign up through Facebook and quickly begin earning reward points, which can be redeemed for gift cards and even a donation to charity.

Reward points are collected by responding to online polls and challenges. Points are super easy to earn. After signing up, I easily completed a couple of polls and racked up 1,500 points in less than 15 minutes! Participants typically earn between 10 and 100 points per poll (with 25 points per poll). Accumulate 5,000 points and enjoy access to the CrowdTap store, where there are rewards such as a ShoeBuy or Amazon gift card.

CrowdTap has a variety of offers and products that can range from housewares to fashion, or finance or food. The site recently had an offer for an Old Navy sweater!

Consumer panels

Organizations are frequently looking for feedback about their products, processes, and the consumer's experience. To capture feedback, companies often turn to consumer panels.

Market research companies put together consumer panels for various organizations, allowing consumers to openly engage in active discussion about an organization's products and services. To reward consumers for participation, usually some form of compensation is provided.

To find consumer panel opportunities, reach out to market research companies to see what upcoming panels are available and get screened for participation. The process is pretty simple:

  • Sign up with the market research company
  • Get notified when panels are available
  • Go through prescreening process to see if you qualify for the current panel
  • If approved, participate and get paid

20|20 Panel was founded in 1986 and is considered one of the leading organizations in market research, conducting studies on companies such as MIcrosoft, Dell, Disney and Kraft. A mix of in-person and online focus groups and studies is offered. In-person focus groups are held in Nashville, TN; Miami, FL; and Charlotte, TN. Online studies are available nationwide.

After signing up, an email invitation is sent for a pre-screening when a study is available. The pre-screening usually takes less than 5 minutes and involves multiple-choice questions that can be more personal (such as age and employment status), along with additional questions specific to the study.

After completing a study, participants typically receive a pre-paid Visa gift card. A recent study involved a fuel/gas consumer panel that paid between $115 and $150.

More information

Got a lot to say (and want to earn even more)? Learn more about other market research companies, including Pinecone Research, MyView and MySurvey.

Before signing up to participate in any online survey, take time to do some research of your own. Read comments from other participants to find out what others say about the experience (including the amount of time it takes to participate, whether they were compensated as promised, etc.). Check Survey Police, a site dedicated to spotting online survey scams, to find additional information about the company’s legitimacy.

 This is a guest post by Jennifer from San Antonio, TX
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How to Earn Clothes, Cash and More Doing Market Research