With the growing level of competition in the beauty industry, more and more brands are realizing the importance of going beyond traditional selling methods to entice customers into buying their products.
Data from the Edited reportestimates that H&M's assortment of beauty products grew by an astounding 94.8% from 2018 to2019. The same year, Net-a-Porter increased its beauty inventory by approximately 26%.The proliferation of products and brands has proven to be a challenge for beauty marketers, not just because it has become more difficult to grab customer eyeballs, but also because customers themselves are becoming increasingly desensitized to traditionally effective sales tactics.
The perfect way to exemplify this is to examine the way brands distribute free beauty samples in the UK. Sampling has traditionally been one of the most effective marketing strategies for beauty products. Studies have shown that free beauty samples are the third most influential factor in purchase decisions for beauty products, falling just behind recommendations from family and friends.
The way brands are going about their sampling strategy has become more digital in order to reach the modern-day consumer, moving from regular in-store sampling to innovative online campaigns as well as beauty tech enabled solutions.
Sampling is traditionally thought of as the customer visiting the store, being intercepted by the salesperson, and trying a free beauty sample for which they may or may not buy the end product. However, technology has allowed brands to take their sampling efforts to the next level and increase their chances of making a sale. How is this possible you ask?
The first approach is by moving the entire sampling process online – using social media, email marketing, or digital advertising to create a targeted customer experience online, at the end of which, the brand sends customers a personalised free beauty sample.
An example of a brand doing this well is Dove. The Dove website has an easy signup process and a good variety of soaps, shampoos and other products that consumers can sample and order to their doorsteps which ultimately helps in converting them into loyal users. On social media, several beauty brands like YSL, Philosophy, Shiseido and more have run sampling campaigns through lead generation ads, which pre-fill user information in a form, making it easy to sign up for a free sample of their latest products.
Online sampling is a relatively new strategy which has taken the beauty world over by storm. It focuses heavily on the data behind customers, giving brands the ability to target and track their campaigns. Through enticing customers into claiming free beauty samples in the UK, brands gain a wealth of data on customers, that can be used to retarget profitable customers increase average basket value, and cross sell other products.
Another benefit of online sampling is its cost. Although the cost of beauty samples in the UK is quite cheap, traditional sampling has less of a chance of turning a profit as compared to online sampling since the latter uses a targeted approach and personalizes the free samples they send in the mail.
The other approach to sampling is enhancing in-store sampling with beauty tech innovations. While the bulk of beauty sales occur offline, customers are increasingly seeking personalized experiences in-store to help them select the right products.
However, the experience of in-store sampling needs to be elevated in order to grab the customer’s attention, since too many brands now offer free beauty samples in stores. Simply handing out a free sample is no longer guaranteed to convert your customer into purchasing the product – customers have become more discerning about the products they want, as well as how brands reach out to them.
This is where smart beauty tech, such as Odore’s contactless sampling device can come in useful and give brands an edge over their competitors.
Odore’s sampling device offers each customer the chance to participate in an engaging online experience while in the store. In return for participation, the device dispenses free beauty samples in the UK via personalised product recommendations that are unique to each customer. As a bonus, providing a seamless omnichannel experience helps reach the customer at multiple touch points, increasing brand recall and driving further sales in the long term.
Odore’s sampling devices are a sure-fire way to elevate the experience of beauty product sampling, while gaining deep insight into customers, their preferences, and opening up new avenues for retargeting customers.
Another issue that this smart device helps to prevent is that of inventory management, which can be costly due to the expenses associated with stocking retail stores with large numbers of free beauty samples in the UK. Customer interactions with the device can help make smarter decisions as to which products to stock and which are less in demand, leading to significant reduction in wastage, and cost savings for brands.