Product Sampling and Effectiveness in the Cosmetics Industry

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What was once simply a way to attract consumers – now it is becoming a product of its own due to innovation, beauty travel size restrictions and consumers’ willingness to try new products from a variety of brands. The largest push of this change comes from innovative startup companies like Birchbox, Ipsy, and Julep, which supply consumers with various beauty samples every month. The increase in online shopping and the popularity of beauty samplers around Christmastime has accounted for the popularity and rise of samples – switching their reputation as freebies into marketed valuable products. Samples allow consumers to try out a new product or brand risk-free.

Sampling products statistically are proven sway consumers to purchase. According to Euromonitor International’s Annual Survey on Personal Appearances, free product samples were the fourth largest influencer in purchasing beauty products, including skin care, fragrances, hair care, and cosmetics. Product samples were the largest influencer to purchase among fragrance products. The top three influencers to purchase were previous experience and enjoyment of the product, friends and family recommendations, and the price of the product.

Samples are especially effective for cosmetic products because incorporating a person’s senses of touch, smell or feel, will prompt the consumer to feel inclined to purchase the product. They also perform on a subconscious level as well. “What samples do is give you a particular desire for something,” says Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist at Duke University. “If I gave you a tiny bit of chocolate, all of a sudden it would remind you about the exact taste of chocolate and would increase your craving.”

The key to introducing cosmetics samples is to choose creative products worth talking about that have not been discovered yet. Make sure to keep the prices of a sample low in order to present purchasing your product as a no-brainer and a good deal. Being able to touch and experience physical products at a fraction of the cost will provide any cosmetics company with a lucrative opportunity to increase brand awareness and loyalty.

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