Samples have gone the way of hugs in pandemic times – take a walk through Sephora and you’ll see that there are no testers and no samples. Maybe that will end, or they will have everything behind lock and key so that they can sterilize it for you before letting you try it, but I thought in light of the times, it was interesting to read this article written by my friend Melissa Shum when did PR for CoverFX. Have a read and let me know what you think in the comments.
Oh samples, where for art thou?
For as long as I can remember I was totally one of those beauty customers who took the idea of product samples for granted. Not literally like… I want a sample for every product I thought about buying but I did think sample availability should and would never be an issue especially for beauty brands.
My logic was… it’s a great way to promote a product and it encourages customers to try it before buying especially for big commitments like perfume. So naturally there should be samples galore right?
Since joining Cover FX I’ve come to a whole new realization about product samples.
Samples are a scarce and safely guarded resource here. Contrary to popular belief and as much as we’d love to, we do not have the luxury of endless supplies of samples for our products at the office or in inventory. It’s not because we do not forecast enough or that we don’t want to allocate budget towards that area. It is the reality that we are still a small brand in the sea of great and big brands in the beauty industry and consequently must work within the limitations of a small sampling budget.
Unless we’ve made proclamations for them in the beginning of the year during budget submissions they are non-existent. Every single sample produced is already accounted to something (e.g. in-store events, retail samples, press, bloggers etc.) and the samples put aside for a slush fund are usually quickly used up by unforeseen events. This makes it very challenging to participate in awesome opportunities that come up on the fly (e.g. gift bags for major events) or do any major promotional marketing (although I did manage to get my hands on a couple HUNDRED retail sized samples of our new product launching in the fall for a MAJOR promotion…)
Anyways to cope with the limited supply of samples, a few of us have a secret stash hidden under our desks.
We order them as they are made available and guard them with our lives. Literally! Even if a co-worker came asking for a sample we can all expect a friendly interrogation of “what is it for and how many will you need?” Although we have samples allocated to each department from the beginning of the year, our final quantities are almost always cut because of production issues.
With all this being said I am currently putting together my “wish list” for the total number of samples i’d like for next year… key word – like. *Crosses fingers* 😉