Evidence repeatedly shows that samples drive conversion. Customers that receive a sample of a product are more likely to purchase the full size. Despite this, most samples are relegated to an afterthought – presented at the counter or the last step of checkout –  in the beauty shopping experience.

A few brands like Bobbi Brown, Benefit, and Charlotte Tilbury are changing their approach to samples. Benefit, for example, displays samples prominently on the home page and advertised alongside full sized products. Benefit also monetizes samples by calling them “minis” and selling them in the “mini shop.”

Bobbi Brown gives a prominent call to action on its homepage, asking customer to pick five mini products, free of charge with any purchase. The customer can browse through a sample gallery and select up to five items, which remain in the cart while she shops for full size products. The samples serve as an incentive for completing the purchase, rather than an offering to a consumer who has already decided to buy a product.

Bobbi Brown’s sample gallery is differentiated by its educational content. The pages focus on skin problems that certain samples can cause and provide usage instructions.

Charlotte Tilbury has also ramped up its sampling program, jumping from four sample offerings in Q3 2016 to 44 in Q1 2017.

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