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Social Media Revives Sample Sales Trend; Opens up Endless Possibilities for Businesses

Sample sales are now experiencing a surge in popularity, thanks to social media influencers.
Cover Image Source: TikTok wants to go back to its long video days | Pexels
Cover Image Source: TikTok wants to go back to its long video days | Pexels

When it comes to consumer behavior in the fashion industry, TikTok has emerged as an impactful platform that has also played a role in revitalizing the age-old concept of sample sales. Once confined to a niche "fashion insider" consumer base, this strategy is now experiencing a surge in popularity, thanks to the creative content shared on the viral video platform.

Fabric prints are always a go-to option in fashion|Pexels
Image Source: The evolving landscape of fashion | Pexels

Seun Ogunsola, a stylist and content creator, discovered the goldmine of TikTok in July 2022 when she started crafting videos focusing on DIY hacks, thrifting tips, and sample sales in London. Her content struck a chord with viewers, helping her garner to a substantial following of 14,500. "The younger generation are really interested in fashion and luxury and they want access to these pieces but don't want to pay full price and maybe don’t have the money to do that just yet," she states.

The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office | Getty Images | Photo by Mario Tama
Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Mario Tama

The global economic climate has played a huge role in this shift, with consumers seeking bargains, deals, and value channels, and they are buying less while exploring avenues like off-price and resale markets. TikTok has become a platform where these value-conscious consumers can discover the excitement of sample sales.

"A lot of people commenting on my videos have seen the sample sales and are [now planning] to travel down to London for the weekend to go to one. It’s turned into a 'what to do in London' activity, rather than just being a clothing sale," says Evelyn Smith, a presenter and content creator.

Retailers Look To Tighten Rules as Fraudulent Returns Grow. Pexels | By Magda Ehlers
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Magda Ehlers

London-based sample sale platform, The Box, has witnessed a noticeable increase in younger consumers attending their events, which feature premium and luxury brands like Matchesfashion and Vivienne Westwood. "From our analytics and social media pages, we can see that there are plenty of people aged 20 to 25 shopping with us," says founder Natalie Yaffe.

Woman Holding Leather Handbag | 
Godisable Jacob | Pexels
Image Source: Photo by Godisable Jacob | Pexels

In the United States, 260 Sample Sale, in operation for over 30 years, has been harnessing the potential of TikTok since June 2021. Laura DiGiovanna, head of marketing, emphasizes their commitment to creating a sense of community and exclusivity through behind-the-scenes footage and day-in-the-life style videos. "We’ve always wanted to make people feel like they’re getting the inside scoop, that they’re a part of something. That’s how we’ve approached social media: a place to build community and show all the really great deals that you can get and share our customer finds," she says.

Fashion designer Pexels | By Andrea Piacquadio
Image Source: Pexels | Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

The sustainability aspect is crucial for brands like Shrimps, which discount their products by up to 80% during sample sales. Laura Corrigan-Conway, head of commercial operations, emphasizes that none of their pieces end up in landfills. "The ideal for any business is that you are buying an inventory which is true to what you’re able to sell yourself," she believes.

The internet's role in rejuvenating sample sales goes beyond mere promotion, as it has become a force reshaping consumer behavior, fostering community engagement, and promoting sustainability. As the fashion industry continues to grow and change, brands and consumers are finding common ground on platforms like TikTok, creating a win-win scenario that blends commerce with creativity.