Does giving away cosmetic samples boost sales?

According to Forbes, samples are the third-largest driver of purchases of full-size skin care products, make-up cosmetics and perfumes. And while freebies have always attracted customers, they have become even more important in the post-Covid era. Learn why giving cosmetic samples is currently an effective marketing strategy.

Shift in beauty consumer habits

Try before you buy. This is one of the oldest marketing strategies which has gained in importance in the post COVID-19 era. When the pandemic broke out, we all became more germ-conscious. Customers no longer feel safe using the same stick, bottle, tube or box as others when testing cosmetics on their skin. This trend was confirmed by as many as 80% of women surveyed by First Insight.

As a result, never before have hermetically packaged cosmetic samples been so coveted by customers. Now hygiene and safety come first, so it is no exaggeration to say that the days of testing products from the same full-size packaging are gone forever.

Why do free cosmetic samples boost sales?

How does giving away free samples affect sales? They help both attract new customers and increase customer loyalty. The underlying mechanism here is the so-called norm of reciprocity. When someone does something nice for us, we automatically become grateful and feel the need to return the favour. Thus, by giving cosmetic samples for free, we can attract new customers as well as engage existing ones.

How to make cosmetic sampling efforts effective?

As consumers have much greater awareness of hygiene, more and more cosmetic brands are using samples to entice customers to make a purchase. What becomes more crucial, then, is the answer not to the question of whether it’s worth giving away samples, but how to do it to keep customers coming back for full-size cosmetics.

Aesthetics in the cosmetics industry has always been of particular importance, and there is a reason why customers never forget to evaluate the packaging when reviewing cosmetics. That’s why making sure your sample packaging is aesthetically pleasing and in line with your brand image can be the perfect way to attract even more customers – and that’s true whether it’s a moisturiser, lipstick, perfume or hair shampoo.

Do not miss: How do sample packaging drive cosmetics sales?

What is the role of packaging in branding?

Using the packaging as a three-dimensional advertisement is a clever marketing ploy. Today, consumers have less and less time to familiarise themselves with all the benefits of a product. Sample boxes can therefore be used, for example, to communicate the qualities that distinguish our cosmetic on the market, as well as to create a sense of luxury among gifted customers. It is important to incorporate solutions in the packaging that relate to the brand values. After all, it has long been known that the way customers perceive a brand influences their purchasing decisions and is relevant for both small and large companies.

Why is consistency between a sample box and a full-size product important?

Consistency between sample packaging and the full-size product is crucial for several reasons. Above all, by unifying the two boxes, you reinforce the message and emotions that are necessary for the customer to make a purchase decision. Through consistency, customers begin to believe more firmly in the values of their favourite brand, and thus the company gains customers who do not make their purchasing decisions dependent on the product price. And when prices of raw materials in the cosmetics market are rising, customer loyalty and trust are among the most desirable marketing goals.

It is also true that consumers prefer products that are somehow different from others. An attractive design of the packaging gives them satisfaction and makes the purchase exciting. However, if a brand image is inconsistent, consumers may begin to perceive it as unreliable, and this feeling may project onto the quality of the products offered by the brand.

What do customised sample boxes look like?

Here’s a look at what customised cosmetic sample boxes look like. Boxes that give rise to a new quality of communication between the brand and the customer. In each of the boxes presented, the visual identity system is unique, and is tailored to the values of the brand.

Opakowania na próbki to ważny element strategii marketingowej, ich zastosowanie nie ogranicza sie do roli pojemników.
Pojemniki transportowe z tworzywa sztucznego (np. polipropylenu) do przechowywania próbek kosmetyków można zamienić na pudełka z tektury..


Today, when a new dimension is added to the phrase “pure beauty”, giving away sterile samples in attractive packaging is an effective marketing strategy in the cosmetics industry. This is due to numerous factors, and they are not solely related to the pandemic. The one that is most obvious is that with samples, customers can make rational and informed purchasing decisions. They don’t have to guess – a sample will provide them with complete information about the colour, texture, smell and effects of the product. And if rationality is combined with emotions, i.e. the adequate, customised sample packaging, we achieve the perfect solution, so that winning new customers will be a matter of time.

At Burgopak Poland, we design and manufacture packaging for samples that builds brand trust and makes the product stand out on the shelf. We also provide packaging, customising and shipping services. If you want to attract more customers for your products, contact us – during a short consultation we will analyse your needs and prepare a free quote.


Forbes, How to reinvent your sampling efforts in 2022 and beyond, S. Frech, Accessed: 29/08/2022

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