Why are customers willing to pay for product samples from Sephora?
If you want to pay for a subscription box of deluxe samples from Sephora, you’re going to have to wait. That is because, according to Sephora’s website, subscriptions for their immensely popular subscription box service, “Play! By Sephora,” are currently on backorder. Would-be customers are instead directed to leave their email addresses on the website to be contacted when the company has more samples back in stock.
So, what are these subscriptions that are taking the beauty world by storm? For $10 a month, Sephora customers can subscribe to Play! to receive a curated box of five pre-selected “deluxe” samples along with access to how-to videos and invitations to subscriber-only in-store events. In addition, they get a “Play! Pass” which can be redeemed in-store for an additional 50 Beauty Insider loyalty points, which only become available when they make a full-size purchase.
Hitwise reports that from 2013 to 2016 the subscription box industry grew by nearly 3,000 percent. Beauty subscription boxes are blowing up in popularity and popping up seemingly everywhere. Birchbox and Ipsy charge $10 for five monthly “deluxe” samples, and Allure, Julep and Glossy Box offer nearly identical subscription services.
Department stores such as Macy’s aren’t immune to the “deluxe sample” beauty craze. Heck, even Target and Walmart recently threw their hats into the beauty subscription box ring.
One resounding question comes to light in the face of the overwhelming popularity of subscription boxes like Play! by Sephora: Why is the modern customer willing to pay $10+ a month for something they can get for free? After all, one only has to head to a beauty counter at any major department store to get a free in-person makeover, complementary beauty samples and a lengthy consultation from experts in cosmetics and skincare.
So then, what is it about subscription boxes that make customers so willing to sign over a regular monthly stipend of their hard-earned cash?
- The Best Beauty Boxes Every Woman Must Try – Birchbox, Sephora Play!, Julep and Glossybox – Forbes
- Sign up for Play! By Sephora – Sephora
- Should Sephora Be in Subscription Boxes? – RetailWire
- Is the New Macy’s Subscription Box Already in Trouble? – Forbes
- The Rise of Subscription Box Shopping – Hitwise
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why do you think consumers are willing to pay for samples of beauty products from services such as Play! By Sephora when than could go to a store and get them for free? Is the popularity of subscription boxes another sign of the decline in the in-store experience? Where do you see sample box sales going from here?