Product Sampling Adopts Well to Changing Landscape

Product Sampling Adopts Well to Changing Landscape

When a July survey (First Insight) found that 80% of women said they felt unsafe testing beauty products through product sampling instore, things seemed bleak for the sampling industry. Brands scrambled to adopt and provide innovative alternatives. It seemed almost certain social and virtual sampling would capitalise on the shift to online sampling.

Now as we approach November and brands have had plenty of time to re-think, strategize and adapt, results have been surprising for sampling. It seems in-store product sampling has been salvaged through a changed format and not left on the cutting room floor.


Whilst not wanting to overlook the effectiveness of in-store sampling, some retailers became innovative with how a sample could be presented to consumers. Cue sealed sampling.

Major retailers such as The Body Shop started providing sealed samples and make-up swatches. Consumers could still physically sample a product whilst quelling fears about hygiene as each sample was individually packaged. Whilst not the most environmentally friendly of methods, it became a saving grace for brands who would ultimately have to see thousands of product testers going to waste as surplus stock could not be used.

Plastic individual packaging and mini ampoules saw a significant return to the beauty/skincare industry as they became a crucial tool in saving in-store sampling from decimation.

Beauty is visual and as such, in-store product testing is a necessity to colour match products and choose products which match the wearers skin-tone. In-store sampling has survived on the strength of that, but science based virtual sampling is also gaining popularity online.

“Phygital” (physical & digital) became a buzzword for the realm of virtual sampling. With a reduction in retail footfall, beauty technology provides an in-home virtual try-on for consumers in the comfort of their own home.

Using modern A.I. and A.R. technologies so consumers can virtually try and test different beauty products on their skin, results have shown consumers can increase time spent on a website by 101 percent by engaging with virtual sampling.

Beauty Bible Marie Claire also keen to keep sampling at the forefront of beauty introduced the Beauty Drawer in August, with the first 5,000 U.K. customers to sign up receiving free samples of anti-aging cream.

The fragrance, beauty and skincare industry are heavily reliant on sampling to drive sales.

In an industry which has taken a lot of knocks financially, it is important to remember that beauty sampling remains the third largest driver of full-size product purchases (Euromonitor International).

For now, beauty sampling has learned to adopt to a changed retail landscape.


At Flavor, we use multiple sampling channels as part of an integrated sampling approach to curate the perfect mix of sampling techniques to deliver optimal results for every campaign. We look after all sampling elements under one roof to drive efficiencies in targeting, relevance, measurement & ROI…

If you would like to find out more about social sampling or any of our integrated sampling techniques you can get in touch richard@flavorsampling.com + 07977 148784

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