This idea is far from new, HiFi shops have been doing some version of this for decades. You charge a non-refundable deposit that applies towards the purchase - basically just enough to cover the markdown you would incur to sell the “open box” equipment to someone else, and the customer tries it out for a couple weeks or so. If it’s already an open box or floor model you’re trying to get rid of, then maybe no charge.
Bailey - it’s not your first born child, it’s just a piece of electronics that is covered under your insurance if it all goes wrong. Obviously the extremes like $50,000 speakers or amps may not be appropriate for this approach, but your moderately successful mid 20s guy or gal with a nice bonus check to burn is not in the market for that. The $3K prepro, DAC, or speakers? Sure why not*.
In fact the last two cars I bought (<$20K commuter/grocery getters), the dealership let me drive it around for the weekend like it was my own and return it for no charge other than gas. My credit score was good, I appeared to be legitimately interested and able to buy, I signed the “I promise not to damage it or else” paperwork and left my payment and personal info on file - it’s not much more complicated than that.
*Companies like Amazon or maybe even Magnolia can absorb the cost of the inevitable fraud that comes with sending product to random people they’ve never met, so I don’t see this approach ever going completely online for your average HiFi shop.