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Subscription sampling - helping to connect the consumer to the brand

By Michelle Yeomans , 29-Feb-2012

Subscription sampling - helping to connect the consumer to the brand

Subscription sampling companies are said to be a new trend that better connects the consumer to the brand, enabling the sampler to find what product really works for them while offering up and coming brands the opportunity to reach potential buyers.

Birchbox is one such company that specializes in ‘being the middle man’, helping consumers to cut through the clutter of the cosmetic world to find the best possible product on the market whilst acting as a type of marketing or commercial partner to industry brands.

Its co-founders Hayley Barna and Katia Beauchamp say they work with brands like L’Oreal, Elizabeth Arden and Bare Minerals to only provide its subscribers with sample or full-sized products that are ‘worth the splurge.’

We know first-hand how overwhelming the world of lacquers and lotions can be. We’ve shamelessly cherry-picked every category to bring [consumers], companies that pour time, research, and love into their products.”

How it works

Consumers pay $10 a month and fill out a beauty profile to receive a box of four or five deluxe cosmetic samples that match their skin tone or hair type for example, whilst also having access reviews and feedback on tried and tested products.

We’re not talking about a sampling giveaway at retail point of sale where theretail sample is often thrown in the bag or remains unopened or discarded," says Beauchamp.

The Birchbox team also keep on top of what its customer have receives in past boxes so that they don’t get back-to-back products in the same category.

Samples may lead to buying full size versions

The sampling company also offers its subscribers the opportunity to purchase full-size versions of products that they have tried and liked, directly from them.

CosmeticsDesign.com USA put the question to Organic Monitor’s senior market analyst, Virginia Lee as to why brands aren’t offering this type of service themselves, essentially cutting out the middle man.

To which she pointed out that; “Big brands would not benefit from setting up this service themselves because the main selling proposition of Birchbox is that they are acting as ‘beauty editors’ by offering a curated selection of beauty products to consumers.”

If a company offered this service it would be traditional sampling, without the ‘sense of discovery’ and a third-party perspective.”

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