In a luxury market where a discerning consumer thinks nothing of paying £25 or more for a single jar of face cream, premium brands used to offer testers at the beauty counters of every high street retailer. But those days are gone.
As noted in a recent article by Global Cosmetics Industry magazine, “Tester products have long been criticized as unhygienic bacterial breeding grounds—even before our pandemic-induced fixation on germs and cleanliness. Certainly, some shoppers might still prefer the in-person 'look at it, touch it, and test it' experience, but with pathogens top of mind during a pandemic, it’s not as easy to ignore this hygiene issue.” As they quite rightly point out, not a single high street store is prepared to take chances now. So how does a luxury brand expect to introduce a new product when consumers want to 'Try before I buy'?
It seems that the answer lies in small, miniaturized packs of the product, that will allow the consumer to receive their own small 'tester' in a pack that oozes the same luxury as the final product - but may only be 10% of the full-size pack. Some argue that this is expensive, but in fact consumers are often willing to pay for this experience, to lower their risk of buying a full pack of something they may not actually like.
There are a few hidden pitfalls here, so we'd like to share our top two tips for doing miniature tester packs successfully:
Make sure the brand is not damaged by a lesser user experience on the miniature. Luxury brands whose products are usually packed in premium glass jars have failed to connect with their audience by issuing testers in small sachets. Everyone knows that a miniature replica of the real thing is a novelty and indeed, if we look at the whisky industry, could actually become a collector’s item or a keepsake.
Keep the pack small enough to ensure it is just a tester and the consumer will want to come back for the full-size pack.
So, whether the product is sold on the high street or online, miniature testers are going to fill a more important role from now on. Right now, skincare brand owners have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve, and even create a faster, more accessible route to brand loyalty than the old beauty counter tester experience.