So you want to sample. But how do you actually go about launching product sampling campaigns?

From choosing the right products to sample packaging and follow up emails, there’s a number of factors for brands and agencies to consider when they’re sending samples.

Read on for our guide to the best product sampling ideas for campaigns that deliver.

How to choose which product to sample

The first step in launching a product sampling campaign is choosing the product you want to sample. 

Brands may pick a product for a number of reasons including introducing a new product to market, launching a new version of an existing product, or wanting to increase general brand awareness for a product.

Brands may also want to send out samples to promote a product for a certain season: for example, sending out sun cream samples to increase summer sales or focusing on female marketed products around Mother’s Day.

And if competition from another brand is increasing, brands may want to launch a product sampling campaign to reinforce their own presence in the market.

When it comes to how many milliliters or grams there are in beauty samples, there’s no fixed rule and the size of the sample will vary depending on the type of product being sent.

Ultimately, it’s about giving consumers enough product to allow them to properly test it out but not too much so a brand is unnecessarily wasting resources. Typically, free beauty samples will measure only a few milliliters (5 to 30 ml).

The importance of sample package design

An often overlooked stage of the product sampling process is the package design.

Packaging isn’t just functional: its aesthetics and ease of use are all part of the customer experience. 

Brands should make sure their sample packaging is eye-catching yet consistent with their overall brand and that it clearly explains what each sample is and how to use it. 

On a logistical level, sample packaging should be small enough to easily send samples to customers via mail. It should also provide protection for samples so products don’t land on consumers’ doorsteps damaged or broken, leading to frustrated consumers and wasted resources. Protection is a particularly crucial consideration for perfume sample packaging but it’s important for skincare sample packaging and cosmetic sample packing too.

And packaging should be recyclable and sustainable as well as protective.

As the beauty industry gets more serious about sustainability, beauty brands should turn their attention to their packaging and this includes samples. Statistics from the British Beauty Council estimate that currently only 14% of beauty packaging actually ends up in a recycling plant, only 9% of packaging is recycled and the rest goes directly to landfill. This is hugely damaging for the environment.

At Odore, we acknowledge this and that’s why we offer sustainable and 100% recyclable packaging in our sampling campaigns. We also include clear recycling instructions on our packaging to help customers responsibly dispose of their packaging.

Beauty sample packaging ideas

Sample packaging for cosmetics, skincare and perfume requires careful thought.

Sample packaging

As mentioned above, beauty brands need to invest appropriate time and resources into the graphic design and usability of their packaging.

The quality of retail packaging has an impact on product perception and online beauty reviews will often factor packaging into overall impressions of a product. ‘Unboxing’ trends on social media have also elevated the importance of product packaging.

When it comes to what to include, eye-catching designs that tie into a brand’s wider image are a must and brands can use A/B testing in their online product sampling campaigns to help them determine which designs resonate most. 

And consumer data gathered from sources such as email marketing campaigns, website activity and online quizzes can help guide the design process by giving brands insight into the priorities and preferences of different demographics.

At Odore, we make impactful packaging easy. Our digital sampling platform gives brands the opportunity to create custom packaging and design individual inserts for their sample campaigns. This helps businesses establish sampling campaigns as a natural extension of their brand and develop their relationships with consumers.

Outer packaging

But it’s not all about the packaging directly around a product sample: outer packaging is important too.

It’s important in terms of protection - for instance, padded envelopes can be an efficient way to provide protection whilst keeping a package small and light - as well as enhancing the consumer experience with branded boxes and envelopes.

With Odore, brands can also choose to customise their outer packaging and we offer black and white options so they can create striking packaging without spending unnecessary budget on colour designs.

How to send samples to consumers

Product samples can, of course, be sent out manually but for beauty brands of every size - including small businesses - online product sampling is the way to launch successful sampling campaigns.

By launching campaigns digitally, brands can hyper-target consumers with samples they’ll be most receptive to, collect high-quality, highly detailed customer data and create a customer journey with multiple touch points.

Online sampling can also help brands cut down on wastage. Odore’s digital platform incorporates mail address checks when collecting customer delivery details so products aren’t shipped to incorrect addresses, angering customers and increasing road miles.

In fact, Odore’s all-in-one solution is designed to make the entire product sampling process as efficient and easy as possible.

With our drag-and-drop campaign builder brands can create stand-out campaigns in just a few clicks, with no coding skills needed. 

After designing their sample interface (the page consumers are directed to claim their sample), they can then launch their campaign across multiple channels whilst monitoring activity through one central dashboard.

Once samples are claimed, our end-to-end fulfilment services spring into action to quickly and safely deliver products to customers’ doors. And real-time shipping updates and tracking allow brands to monitor and manage their sample deliveries.

But a successful delivery isn’t the end of a sampling campaign.

Encouraging customers to review their samples is a crucial step in learning more about consumer preferences, determining the success of a product and increasing brand awareness.

To pay or not to pay? Free product samples are a very effective way to increase brand reach, launch new products and win customers. But consumer-paid sampling is also a popular marketing strategy. Consumers are willing to pay a small fee for product samples although this is more suitable for established, rather than new, products and a larger sample size would be expected.

How influential are beauty samples on purchasing?

Product sampling marketing is very powerful in driving sales.

Research from Euromonitor International found that beauty samples are the third-largest driver of full-size product purchases and our own data shows that customers are four times more likely to buy something once they have interacted with it in person.

And the data collected from online sampling supports a brand’s wider marketing strategy too. 

Answers from online sample quizzes, consumer activity data and point of purchase statistics all provide incredibly valuable insights that help brands refine their marketing and develop their hyper-targeting strategies.

Read more about the ROI of beauty sampling here.


Getting the most out of your beauty sampling campaigns

Brands often fail to make the most of beauty sampling campaigns in one of two ways: either by insufficiently capturing and utilising campaign data or by forgetting to follow up with customers.

Consumer data is a free insight into the preferences and priorities of new, returning and potential customers and a host of consumer data is generated by product sampling campaigns. Of course, there are legal and ethical considerations to take into account when capturing data which is why zero-party data is in the ascendancy.

Brands should also make sure they have tech that allows them to centralise and segment their data so they don’t create information silos and to enable them to properly tailor their marketing.

And following up with customers for reviews is a crucial way to drive conversions. Research from our partner Bazaarvoice found there is a 140% conversion lift when shoppers read reviews and interact with other user-generated content, with a single customer review on a product corresponding to an average 10% conversion lift. This isn’t a step brands can afford to miss out.

There are many elements involved in launching a beauty sampling campaign but the process doesn’t have to be. Odore’s scalable pricing model makes digital sampling accessible to beauty brands of every size. How can sampling help your business? Find out more and book a demo here.


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