May 21, 2020

Free Samples: Why They’re Good for Business and How to Do It Right

Why should you offer free samples? Because they’re great for business if you do them correctly!

With much of the world still practicing safe distancing, you probably have a little extra time on your hands. Putting together free samples for your customers is a great way to keep the momentum going for your business and attract new users once things start to get back to normal. 

Why free samples? Because statistics don’t lie.

Consider this article published in The Atlantic, which explains why the famous free samples given out by popular wholesale club Costco are so good for business. Though it focuses primarily on food samples, the idea is applicable across all industries: Free samples lead to higher sales. 

In a nutshell, getting something for free helps consumers learn about—and, in this case, taste—the product, which makes them more likely to buy it now that they know they like it. Not only that, the author points out, but free samples trigger a feeling of obligation, meaning people feel compelled to purchase a product when they are given a sample at no cost. 

Finally, getting something for free helps to build long-term brand loyalty, and consumers are more likely to spread the word to their friends and family that, “Hey, this great company gave me a free sample of , and I love it! You should try it!”

According to Shopify, free samples can boost sales by as much as 2,000%.

Yes, you read that right. The retail marketing experts at Shopify also had a few things to say about the importance of giving customers free samples, citing the Costco article but also adding their own perspective on why retailers should consider using freebies. 

According to their blog, retailers can use free samples to: 

  • Introduce your product to new audiences unfamiliar with your brand.
  • Foster relationships and inspire loyalty with existing customers.
  • Expand shoppers’ knowledge about the products you offer.
  • Encourage repeat customers and more sales of new products.
  • Earn attention for your brand at or leading up to an event.

The Shopify blog also provides some great advice about how not to do free samples, so it’s worth checking out. 

What about smaller beauty retailers selling private label products? 

The same advice still applies. 

To help put things in perspective, we checked in with our Onoxa Insiders Facebook Group to see how they used free samples to attract and incentivize customers. With skin care products especially, being able to try out a sample and feel it on their skin is one of the best ways for potential buyers to experience the quality and efficacy of your products

Some of our Onoxa Insiders offer free samples at in-house events or trade shows they attend. A simple way to do this is by providing single-use portions of the product using disposable makeup spatulas; these are very inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk from Amazon, Walmart, Target, and other places. 

Likewise, you can purchase—also in bulk—cosmetic sample containers in 3 or 5 gram sizes to create your own complimentary single-use samples that you can hand out in person or add to online purchases. (Repackaging is fine in this case since you are providing the product sample free of charge.)

Use one of your existing products or order a Sample Kit to make your samples. You can even give out samples of products you don’t offer in your line yet to draw hype or see if there’s interest in that product in your current customer base. 

Just keep in mind that Onoxa products cannot be resold once the seal has been broken. And, because repackaging products may compromise their integrity and affect the results, we recommend letting customers know that all samples should be used within two weeks for the best results. 

Are you giving your samples to the right people? 

Just because free samples are good for business doesn’t mean you should start giving them away to everyone you meet. 

Bottom line: You made an investment when you set aside some of your products to use as free samples, so you want to make sure you get the most out of that investment. This requires doing a little research on your part and targeting the right people.

A good place to start is your regular customers, since people who have purchased your products before are more likely to buy from you again. You can include your samples with their online purchases, tuck them into subscription boxes, or simply hand them out in person. Essentially, freebies are a great loyalty booster that lets your regulars know you appreciate their business. This also encourages customers to try new products they would likely enjoy and increase your sales. 

From there, reach out to people who have shown interest in your products (or skin care and beauty products in general), either from meeting you at an event or via word of mouth from someone who already uses your products. And, if you sell your products in a spa, salon, or other location, you can distribute free samples there to generate more interest. 

Ultimately, you want to make sure your investment isn’t wasted and that those who receive your free samples have a strong potential to become purchasing customers.

How should you give away free samples?

We talked about the where, but what about the how? Our Onoxa Insiders had some great tips for packaging and distributing free samples, but here are a few other things to consider:

  • Try offering free product samples instead of generic giveaways at events and trade shows. They are far more enticing, plus they’re a great way for potential buyers to experience the benefits of your products. 
  • Always include a business card or handmade tag along with your free samples that includes the name of your business, your website, and your contact information so that people can reach out to you after their sample is gone. (On that note, always make sure your printed and online business information is up to date.)
  • Use your freebies as a lead generation tool at events. For example, anyone who adds their email to your mailing list receives a free sample. 

Curious about other ways to grow your skin care business? 

Onoxa’s online blog is filled with ideas to help you launch, market, and grow your skin care business so you can reach your goals. Whether you’re a first-time beauty entrepreneur or a veteran business owner, working with Onoxa makes it easy to build your beauty empire. 

Our proven formulas are beneficial for all skin types, and we offer the industry’s lowest minimum order quantity to help you stay within budget. Plus, there is never any contract or commitment. Contact Onoxa today at 888-688-2991 or email us at