NEW YORK -- A spritz and a swab are no longer enough.
While a trip to a department store cosmetics department in years gone by meant circulating fragrance models and skin care saleswomen ready to slather any available hand with cream, today's consumers aren't easily swayed by the old sampling approaches.
Beauty companies are attempting a variety of new approaches to achieve the all-important goal: Get the product into the customer's hands at any cost.
Fragrance companies have been using advances in technology to put their scents into all manner of eye-catching objects and have been trying out variations of the Scentstrip, first placed in magazines in 1979.
Meanwhile, treatment and color vendors have been operating with the concept that bigger is better.
"Our belief is that if you give the customer a chance to simply try the product, that is one thing," said Mark Loomis, vice president of retail marketing at Elizabeth Arden. "But if you allow this customer the opportunity to get hooked, that's something else."
Arden applied this philosophy in February of this year when it offered consumers a 14-day supply of both Ceramide Time Capsules for Face and for Eyes, 28 capsules in all, as a gift-with-purchase.
"A 14-day supply can, we are confident, get a customer committed for life," said Loomis.
With Alpha Ceramide, Arden's four-stage treatment product that launched last month, the company is giving the first three steps free to consumers who purchase Step 4 for $55.
Historically, Clinique has sampled full-sized lipsticks and travel sizes of its treatment products in its gwp's. But recently the company has stepped up deluxe sampling on individual products by 400 percent, according to Eunice Valdivia, executive vice president of marketing.
"Consumers are different now," Valdivia said. "They really want to try a product before they invest the money in it."
To help consumers get acquainted with its new Long Last Lipstick, in September the company handed out mini-replicas with a three-to-four-day supply of the lip color. The effort promoted multiple purchases, Valdivia said. "Since people knew what the product was like, they felt comfortable buying it in two or three shades."
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