31 Aug 2021 --- Globally, on average, over half of consumers typically bought their BPC products in-store, the Innova Beauty and Personal Care 2020 survey revealed. Less than a quarter opted for online methods to purchase their BPC buys, and a quarter revealed they shopped in both the digital and physical spaces or had no preference. Yet, as global lockdowns have continued to play out well into 2021, and concerns over the safety and hygiene of in-store samples reshape our shopping habits, digital is increasingly emerging as an engaging and appealing way to buy our favorite products.
Looking a little closer at the Innova survey data reveals the formidable presence of data about what was already proving invaluable to BPC consumers. When shopping online for items, accessing samples is sought-after. Globally, over a quarter of respondents stated that receiving free samples with a purchase was important, with a further 27% citing the value of sample size products redeemable against a purchase as meaningful.
Click to EnlargeSource: Samplicity.French marketing technology platform Samplicity uses smart data to better inform sampling and communication campaigns. By utilizing data intelligently, the brand can optimize targeting and maximize engagement and conversion. Online sampling acts as a positive marketing tool for awareness, acquiring leads, engagement, managing metrics, accessing insights, and obtaining data analytics at a fine granular level. The Samplicity platform can activate tailored and targeted marketing operations in real-time by intelligently using this smart data.
“The value of our processed data comes from the depth and diversity of the data collected from different marketing operations, performed for different products and different brands, aggregated in time,” shares Valerie Jacob, co-founder of Samplicity.
“Currently, brands tend to believe that data extracted from online campaigns hosted on their website is enough,” says Jacob. BPC brands need more than this, though, as Jacob reveals: “In reality, targeted marketing operations are limited in the absence of information exterior to the brand that can help understand the customer’s expectations better.”
The key to successful online sampling campaigns is monitoring. Today’s marketing technology brands must combine the technical expertise of data scientists and market knowledge to provide relevant and quality insights. Adopting this philosophy and approach to handling data is vital, as Jacob outlines: “It can activate efficient marketing campaigns to better-targeted customers who finally feel understood.”
Online versus offline purchasing
While in-store BPC still garners consumer appeal, digital is a way for consumers to find out about products, know more about their preferred brands and get advice. Digital support for BPC consumers is growing. When the Innova survey asked what is important to consumers when shopping online for BPC products, slightly more than a fifth of respondents said they valued an online quiz to help them decide which products are best suited for them.
Click to EnlargeSource: SamplicityPrice points and payment options were of particular importance too, with less than a third of consumers valuing a no-quibble satisfaction or refund guarantee. Furthermore, a quarter of respondents confirmed that applying personal discount codes was sought-after, while less than a fifth said that a tool to compare products and prices was influential in their shopping experience.
Brands need to adopt a balance between online and offline sampling to appeal in today’s market. For those looking to adopt online samples, there are a number of best practices to follow. “It is crucial to understand that e-sampling is a rich marketing tool for a brand only when backed up by a solid strategy and simultaneous coordination across different teams,” states Jacob.
When setting up Samplicity, it was vital that the marketing technology platform was able to lead campaigns from start to finish, including logistics. Once the brand has identified the specific objectives of the campaign, Samplicity advises it on the mechanism to use to implement it, how to plug-in social media platforms, what to target and which marketing operations to activate once the sample has been tested.
Marketing technology is designed to enable a comprehensive understanding of a BPC brand’s sampling and communication campaign success. “With this campaign oversight, coupled with a lengthy experience and in-depth knowledge of the beauty sector, we guide the consumer smoothly from anticipated desires to sample home-delivery, and even through the post-test journey,” Jacob details.
The future of smart data
In recent years, particularly with the emphasis on compliance through heightened awareness of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), transparency and respect for personal data privacy have become crucial to develop a trusting relationship between brands.
Envisioning the future development of its business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) marketing technology platform, Samplicity is now reaching out across the globe to partner with brands to build its presence. “Samplicity is at the beginning of a movement that only gets stronger in time with the aggregation of geographic, brand, campaign and product diversity,” relays Jacob.
With curiosity and a love of constant learning at its core, Jacobs notes that this is “the beauty and pride of our system”. Yet, the ability to absorb and understand information “depends on the adequacy, quality and volume of the collected data.”
Many BPC brands increasingly want to explore the digital possibilities of sampling and marketing to generate traffic to an e-boutique or a physical location of their choice, or understand what its gathered data means for engagement and sales.
“The earlier a brand takes part in the adventure, the more quality data is aggregated and the more beneficial insights generated,” says Jacob. “All this marketing experience in the beauty industry and data tech expertise is combined with creativity and agility.”
By Natasha Spencer-Jolliffe, BPC Insights Senior Reporter