How Ulta Beauty Is Tackling The Beauty Sampling Waste Problem — Retail Bum

Retail Bum
3 min readNov 7, 2023

In the world of beauty and cosmetics, free samples have long been a cherished marketing tool — one that gives consumers a risk-free way to try out new products and discover their perfect beauty routine.

However, the traditional approach of distributing random, non-personalized samples has become unsustainable in today’s highly competitive market. In response to this challenge, SOS, in partnership with Ulta Beauty, is pioneering a new era in the beauty industry by harnessing the power of retail media kiosks to offer personalized free beauty samples.

During an interview with Retail Bum, Robina Verbeek, co-CEO and co-founder of SOS, delved into the company’s mission to eradicate the excessive distribution of impersonal samples and replace the antiquated approach with a fresh strategy centered around using retail media technology.

“It’s truly an exciting opportunity for consumers to be more intentional about the samples they’re choosing to take with them,” said Verbeek.

“From Ulta Beauty’s perspective, it’s about being more deliberate in how these samples are curated and considering sustainability concerns, as sampling can lead to wastage if it’s not reaching the right audience.”

The sampling problem