Beauty Sampling and The Role of Influencers
For many years, sampling has been a very effective marketing tool for brands. Retailers know that giving away a product (for example a scoop of ice cream to taste or a complimentary branded umbrella) can in many instances open the door to an immediate product purchase or even a long term brand loyalty. By bringing and keeping customers on board through the power of sampling, brands can expect to see a huge profit return.
The beauty market has utilised this practice for years. Being an industry that creates products which are specific to certain skin/body types, providing consumers with product samples prior to their purchase is a great way to secure them as long term customers. It was from this practice that travel samples and trial kits were born. From cosmetics to skincare items, sampling allows users to patch-test, colour-test and assess products based on their personal needs and standards. It also allows them to create reviews and share their thoughts about these products.
With the rise of influencer marketing, beauty brands have really mastered the sampling practice, by sending samples of their latest products to social media influencers, including bloggers, vloggers, celebrities, models, and more. As influencer marketing heavily relies on positive experiences with products, sampling to key opinion leaders gives room for brand ambassadorship and promotion. Should influencers like the products they receive, may it be a lipstick or a face sheet mask, they tend to talk a lot about it (especially on social media), and in turn, infer loyalty to that brand. With the power of authentic experience and influence, they promote and represent the brand to their audiences.
Sampling also creates a sense of reciprocity. When brands provide individuals with a positive experience, these people are naturally inclined to want to reciprocate the favour. This concept very much applies to influencer-brand relationships. While it’s not contractual in the way that a paid sponsorship may be, a good experience of a product fosters a positive relationship with the brand.
Sampling appeals to brands from a variety of industries, particularly with fast moving consumer goods such as those in the beauty industry, because it allows for a large pool of users to experience a product and connect with the brand that produces it. Any resulting exposures lead to a building of customer loyalty.