The beauty world may be becoming more digital but physical product samples are still crucial to the success of the beauty brands.

We’ve written the definitive guide to product sampling campaigns, from why samples are important to the ways brands can maximise ROI and how to launch a campaign.

What is product sampling?

Product sampling is the process of giving consumers the opportunity to try a product before committing to a full purchase.

This could be through free samples and products or by allowing customers to claim a smaller version of a product at a reduced price. Brands can launch product sampling campaigns separately or send samples out with customer orders.

Product sampling is suitable for industries where consumers physically interact with a product: for instance, the food and drink industry. And it’s been a staple of beauty marketing for decades.

Yet although the principle of sampling remains the same, technology has evolved to make it easier than ever for brands and agencies to launch campaigns, in addition to offering extra benefits.


Why product sampling is important for brands

These benefits of product sampling are comprehensive.

Firstly, it encourages consumers to try something new by taking away the financial risk of spending money on a product and not liking it. Customers won’t know they enjoy a product until they experience it for themselves and cost is often a big barrier that stops them trying it in the first place. Free product samples remove that barrier so more consumers try a product, driving full-size sales.

But it’s not just that customers get to experience something physically that increases conversions. Product sampling plays into the ‘reciprocity instinct’: the human urge to reward someone who does something positive for us.

When a brand gives someone a free product sample, the reciprocity instinct means they are compelled to ‘reward’ this action by buying the product from the brand.

Product sampling therefore helps businesses drive sales and build brand awareness. But when campaigns are conducted digitally, they offer in-depth insight into consumer behaviours and preferences.

Monitoring consumer interactions and collecting sample feedback helps brands better understand the tastes and needs of different demographics and shows them which aspects of a product and its marketing are successful, and which are not. This insight is invaluable in aiding new product development, designing packaging, shaping marketing strategies and guiding the growth of a business overall.

The data from e-sampling campaigns can also be used to hyper-target marketing and personalise consumer interactions to build more meaningful customer relationships.

All these benefits mean product sampling ROI is incredibly high.


Sampling campaigns on digital and physical channels

When it comes to product sampling campaigns, brands can choose to conduct them digitally or physically.

Physical sampling still has its uses - such as with product samples for events - but the pandemic and its legacy has swung brands towards digital channels.

With the right tools, brands can create striking digital campaigns in a few clicks and launch them across a variety of online channels. Customers who engage with the campaign are directed to claim their product sample which is then delivered straight to their home.

Event and in-store product sampling can still be assisted with such sampling tools. Odore’s digital retail kiosk can be installed at physical sites and dispenses product samples when customers enter their details. This supports brands in collecting in-depth, high-quality sample data even through physical channels.


Types of sampling campaigns

Product sampling campaigns can be launched in a number of different ways.

Lead forms

Lead forms - often shown to consumers via an ad - are a place where customers fill out their personal details to claim a product sample.

They’re a perfect way for brands to facilitate sample claims without redirecting consumers to a separate page. With Odore’s platform, the lead form link cannot be shared or copied and customer interactions with the link are easy to track.

For instance, we recently worked with a global beauty brand to launch a lead form campaign for one of their perfumes. The campaign was launched exclusively with Facebook, so the brand could target certain viewers and collect sufficient data without consumers being redirected to a separate website. The brand saw just under 30,000 samples claimed through this campaign.

Publisher campaigns

Another way to launch a sampling campaign is through a publisher partnership. For beauty brands, this means working with particular beauty and fashion magazines to exclusively offer their readers the chance to claim a sample.

It’s a great way to target a particular demographic but also spread brand awareness across a wide client base. And opt-in rates tend to be high: a recent campaign we launched with a client saw 70% of targeted consumers claim a sample.

Influencer campaigns

Influencer campaigns are driving consumer engagement across marketing and product sampling is no exception.

Collaborating with influencers makes them ambassadors for a brand, enabling businesses to grow their CRM as well as target particular audiences for greater acquisition.

An influencer-led sampling campaign will see specifically chosen influencers encourage their audience to claim sample beauty products and direct them to a link to do so. Using Odore, brands can also conduct A/B testing between different influencers, allowing them to compare opt-in rates and other marketing metrics.

VIP emails

VIP emails see brands send a sampling campaign to specific segments of their email database.

It’s another way to achieve high opt-in rates from a single campaign and allows brands to build in multiple touchpoints to maximise customer conversions. Such a strategy is also hugely effective in gaining verified product feedback for greater insight into customer preferences.

We launched a VIP email campaign with a client that saw a 12x return on investment in addition to offering the brand crucial data on optimal times to send out emails in the future.

Diagnostic tools and profiling experiences

Diagnostic sample campaigns essentially ask consumers a series of questions about themselves and their preferences as part of claiming a sample. For instance, we launched a campaign for a client that saw consumers answer questions about their biggest skin concerns in order to receive a sample. 

Such a strategy immediately makes the customer experience more personal, building a stronger brand relationship, and allows brands to collect very specific data that may otherwise be missed. The type of sample consumers receive could also vary to match their answers.

Additionally, brands can use profiling experience in their campaigns: such as including shade finding tools to help consumers find a perfect colour match. Again, this helps personalise and improve the customer experience and increases the chance they’ll receive a product that works for them.

Paid media ads

Paid media ads allow brands to identify, target, reach and remarket to audiences with ease.

It also helps brands collect rich demographic and analytics data to better understand their customers and shape their future business strategies.

Odore’s platform makes it simple to launch eye-catching, cost-effective campaigns that allows businesses of every size to grow brand awareness and increase customer acquisition.

Using such channels, brands can turn sampling campaigns into unique consumer experiences, merging product sampling with experiential marketing.


Creating campaigns on a product sampling platform

There are many elements involved in an effective product sampling campaign but Odore makes managing them easy.

Our drag and drop campaign builder allows brands to create sophisticated, integrated campaigns in a matter of minutes with no coding needed. Our smart platform also gives brands personalised recommendations based on customer responses and data and multiple user access means every member of your team can contribute to a campaign.

Once a campaign is launched, teams can monitor its success in real-time. And Odore’s reliable fulfilment services makes delivering samples smarter, faster and more reliable. Daily dispatches from our international network of fulfilment centres ensure samples reach your customers safely and on time and brands can efficiently manage deliveries with shipping updates and tracking.

Not only this, we work hard to ensure our shipping is as sustainable as possible. We offer sustainable and 100% recyclable packaging and printing to clients and print clear recycling symbols and instructions on packaging to assist customers. We also implement sustainable and recyclable packaging in our fulfilment centres and offer batch processing so samples are shipped in bulk and packaging and emissions are minimised.

Another key feature of Odore’s platform is the ability to integrate with other marketing tools. We bring together the best marketing services and apps into one powerful hub so brands can centrally manage campaigns and avoid information silos.

For instance, our Mailchimp integration allows brands to automatically sync responders and subscribers and our Salesforce integration lets businesses connect their Odore and Salesforce data to seamlessly manage customer information and analytics.

And it’s such analytics that give Odore clients the edge.

Our platform collects rich analytics from sampling campaigns, helping brands gain an in-depth understanding of their customers and hyper-target consumers, at scale. And Odore doesn’t just present the data: our platform provides brands with actionable insights to make the most of the information they’ve learned.

All these features, and the quality and sophistication of our tools, mean Odore is trusted by the world’s biggest beauty brands.


Want to find out how product sampling and monitoring can help your brand? Book an introductory call with Odore here.


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