At-home sampling increases sales, loyalty and brand advocacy

The way beauty products are sold may be changing, but one message is clear—sampling is essential.

Even as online sales soar (up 70% according to the NPD Group) and testers are sealed up in physical stores, brands must find avenues to get trials into consumers’ hands.

What does product discovery look like as e-commerce thrives? How can brands deliver the “right” sample into consumers’ homes? And for physical stores, how can beauty companies participate with regard to in-store sampling under the new health guidelines?

To better understand the fluctuating landscape, Bazaarvoice-owned Influenster conducted a series of surveys to analyze consumer shopping behavior, including sampling.

To support and showcase the effectiveness of targeted sampling, Bazaarvoice delved into results from a recent at-home sampling campaign across skin care, cosmetics, hair care and fragrance products. More than 6,690 people from its Influenster community participated in the program designed to better understand the purchase impact and halo effect of product trials.

Here, key findings that can help map out a sampling plan for 2021. Click here for a breakdown of the purchase impact and halo effect of sampling.

Sampling Sells

The beauty industry has always thrived on experimentation—how  products look and feel when applied. But with testers sealed up and many consumers still leery of going into stores, beauty companies need to find alternatives.

Pre-COVID-19 there were already sanitary issues with testers. But the pandemic escalated those fears. A survey conducted last summer by First Insight found 80% of respondents were uncomfortable with testers.

Virtual and augmented reality tools help with product selection, but when it comes to purchasing, consumers want the real thing.

Consider these facts:

  • Gartner L2 reports that almost 50% of beauty shoppers say a free sample converts them to a purchase.
  • Samples are the third-most mentioned reason a shopper buys a full-size item, according to Euromonitor.

The significance of sampling is punctuated in Influenster’s September  2020 study where more than half of the respondents said they bought a full-size product not just once, but several times after trial.

Influenster’s base was especially interested in road testing products while sheltering in their homes—almost 40% ordered samples during the polled period.

For consumers venturing back into stores, in-store sanitary single-dose samples are the new preferred method of trial. This allows for at least some interaction between beauty advisors and shoppers.

Sampling ROI Research in the Beauty Space

It isn’t just about sending samples: the goal is to match the right trial item to the right consumer, or the effort could be wasted.
Bazaarvoice offers bespoke sampling solutions that get products into the hands of engaged hyper-targeted consumers who deliver high-quality reviews, visuals and social buzz.

Results from the Influenster sampling campaign illustrated the power of targeted sampling.

  • Bazaarvoice found that 63% of participants purchased a sample product after trial and 97% of those ended up purchasing additional products from that brand as well.
  • Over half of the participants said that the sampled product became a new favorite and/or staple in their lives.
  • In addition, 49% of participants also conveyed their affinity by following the brand on social media.
  • 9 out of 10 of participants recommended the product/brand to family and friends, 95% of those polled wrote a review, 63% posted an image on either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter, and 21% posted a video on either Instagram or YouTube or TikTok.

What Does This Mean for Beauty Brands?

Given that sampling is essential for the beauty industry and the uncertainty about in-store sampling, brands need the right solutions to encourage trial, purchase and loyalty of their hero products and new launches.

Bazaarvoice and its passionate 6 million-plus Influenster community members can help your brand navigate the new norm in sampling. They offer best-in-class capabilities, including hyper-targeting to ensure your sample reaches high-potential consumer and unique gamification that inspires members to review your product and post about it on their social media. Learn more about how your brand can tap into the Influenster community.

For the full report of  Influenster’s in-depth research, click here .

Check out Bazaarvoice’s  new website  to learn how you can activate the Influenster community for your brand.