In April of this year, Canadian omnichannel beauty experiences platform Sampler acquired beauty-industry focused digital sampling agency abeo. The acquisition, of which the deal amount was not disclosed, affords abeo founder Arcade Beauty a minority stake in Sampler and will see the abeo team join Sampler in a commercial partnership affording brands the opportunity to design promotional solutions for products.
Sampler’s extensive experience in customizing promotional relationships between brands and consumers will benefit from abeo’s extensive experience in establishing personalized digital sampling campaigns, particularly in the beauty space. Sampler will be leveraging the acquisition to accelerate expansion into Europe and the US.
To learn more about the background behind each organization, the role female leadership has played in brokering the acquisition, and the importance of digital sampling in the beauty industry, CosmeticsDesign interviewed Marie Chevrier Schwartz, CEO and Founder of Sampler and Allie Sorensen, General Manager of abeo for their insights.
CDU: As an early adopter of sampling as a marketing tool, how has the beauty industry played an influential role in the expansion of industry growth and to better reach targeted consumer demographics?
Marie Chevrier Schwartz (MCS): For the beauty industry, sampling has always been an integral part of the consumer shopping experience. From scent strips in fashion magazines, to the beauty counter, to subscription boxes and all the way to a few additional samples with your Sephora orders.
The beauty industry has been at the forefront of adoption of several new sampling methods over the years. Where we see a large opportunity is where technology and sampling come together.
In fact, the beauty industry embraces technology more than any other consumer product category. For example, companies like L’Oréal are now positioning themselves as beauty-tech companies rather than just a consumer brand.
By leveraging technology to sample, brands can reach hyper-targeted audiences with personalized experiences, automate high-value sampling education journeys with various digital touchpoints, reach consumers directly in their home and then create a closed attribution loop.
Because of their fundamental belief in both sampling and technology, we believe that the beauty industry is uniquely positioned to take advantage of digital sampling.
CDU: Why does sampling specifically work so well for the beauty industry regarding helping beauty-based companies better influence consumer purchasing decisions?
MCS: Sampling is a key purchasing driver for the beauty consumer due to the personal and tactile nature of selecting beauty products in an industry that’s overflowing with options. Consumers need to touch, experiment, colo0match and smell prior to making a purchase decision.
Additionally, sampling has become an expected component in the beauty consumers' purchase journey whether it’s sampling at e-tail, in-store or through targeted digital programs.
CDU: What was your mission when founding Sampler, and what have you found was the most important aspect(s) that have helped drive company expansion?
MCS: I fundamentally believe in the power of product sampling. Even as a marketing student when the initial idea came to me. I felt like advertising got overly complicated.
If you sell a food product, your goal should be to get as many people as possible to taste it. If you sell a lip product, your goal should be for as many people to try it on!
Our vision at Sampler is to make product sampling as scalable and as data driven as programmatic advertising. While this is a large mission, I always go back to my fundamental belief that product trial is the best way to build a brand.
CDU: What does Sampler offer to abeo in terms of being able to better expand your beauty portfolio on a global scale?
Allie Sorensen (AS): There were two key components that I found most compelling about the Sampler business. The first is their sophisticated technology and the second is the internal infrastructure.
The mission that Sampler is on inspired me and when I connected with Marie, I knew that Sampler was going to take abeo to the next level. Seeing their data driven process really helped to paint the big picture when it comes to product trial and consumer behavior.
We believed that with the tech behind Sampler and the internal infrastructure, the team would be able to allow abeo to scale globally.
CDU: A growing number of beauty-based companies are female founded or female led. As women in leadership roles within your categories, what has your experience been as you have expanded your company reach, and what does this acquisition mean to you in this regard?
AS: Businesses have changed dramatically, especially since the pandemic. There are always new ways of targeting your audience and it has been important to find new ways.
I have seen that brands have come a tremendous way in understanding the importance of sampling and understanding it as a strategic part of marketing. Sampling is a great way of expanding your company reach and it is something that Sampler does so well.
Having abeo be acquired by another female founder and leader was incredibly important to me. Looking at the business Marie has built, I couldn’t imagine abeo going to a better home.
abeo is completely aligned with the mission that Sampler has created and was inspired by the likeminded talent at Sampler.
CDU: Are there any challenges that your company has faced that this acquisition will help overcome?
AS: I think this goes back to the question above. Sampler’s technology and infrastructure will help abeo scale much more quickly than if we had tried to do it internally. This is something that Sampler is really an expert in, and we look to them to continue to push the needle forward.