The rise of using beauty subscription boxes for product sampling

By September 14, 2017General

Want a new way of doing product sampling? From Pink Parcel and Birchbox, to Cohorted and Love Lula, beauty subscription boxes are massive right now and the number of brands getting in on this product sampling action is growing.

It’s a really simple concept: you sign up, pay a monthly fee and then receive a box of skincare or make up treats direct to your door every few weeks. It’s the perfect way to sample a range of different beauty products, and sometimes consumers can get their hands on full-sized products rather than just sample sizes.

So what’s the appeal?

If consumers select their box carefully they can be sure off the latest high-quality products in a lovely package. This concept really capitalises on the feeling of anticipation: who wouldn’t want to receive a box of surprise goodies?

And when it comes to beauty – tipped to be the next trillion dollar industry – men and women alike are always willing to try more.

For the individual beauty brands themselves, the appeal lies in the fact that their products are guaranteed to get into the right hands.

Customers can select preferences when they’re setting up their subscription, so boxes can be customised and manufacturers can be sure that they’re reaching their target demographic.

With subscription sampling some of the consumers you reach may not otherwise have made the effort to buy your products and invest in your brand.

And by delivering your best bits direct to people’s doors you’re not fighting to be noticed in a crowded retail outlet. It’s a win-win!

How is success measured?

Brands need to find out whether people love a product sample and are buying full size products once they’ve used up the original, so by putting specially coded coupons or offers in the box that can be used in store or online they can keep a track of further purchases.

And the more social media reviews and comments you can harness the better (consumers that subscribe to these boxes are generally keen on sharing their discoveries with others).

Is it future proof?

If the sample boxes are of a high quality and giving people value for money, it’s likely that their popularity will continue to rise.

Sampling breaks through a noisy world of advertising, because it’s no longer about brands telling consumers what their product can do for them, it’s about letting them experience it for themselves.

The idea of getting a goodie box in the post is appealing to most and this element of surprise means that consumers will share their discoveries with others, create a stir for you on social media, and continue to enjoy the chance to feel, touch, smell and enjoy products without any having to shop online or in store.

Hotcow is a non-traditional creative agency that specialises in experiential marketing that goes viral. Our campaigns generate buzz through crowd participation, PR and content sharing. Contact us on 0207 5030442 or email us on