Samples and mini sizes – Zalando Beauty


Online shopping for Beauty is gaining more popularity even ore so after the new reality of COVID, as customers love the wide selection of products online and the convenience of shopping at home. Since color, texture and smell determine if a customer would like to buy a Beauty product in the first place, online beauty shopping continues to be a challenge to them. 

Customer problem:

Every second Zalando customer states that the missing opportunity of a sensory experience is the main hurdle for buying unknown beauty products online. In fact, 81% of Beauty customers are still shopping offline as they miss the opportunity to try products before buying them. Until now, Zalando beauty customers did not have any opportunity to physically try out and experience a product prior to purchase. If customers wanted to try a new product at Zalando, they needed to order a full size product online, risking that they did not like it and would not be reimbursed for the purchase. If customers return opened products to Zalando, the products need to be disposed off. This led to a lot of waste production which is the last thing this world needs.


I started the discovery phase of this project with research planning along with Zalando’s Voice of Customers team. On one hand, I collaborated with the qualitative and quantitative researchers to find any existing insights on beauty. On the other hand, I did a competitor benchmarking to find out which other online and brick and mortar beauty stores are trying help their customers with the sensory experience, before they commit to buy a bigger size item. Based on the findings, I created some concept sketches followed by wireframes. In every stage of the design process, stakeholders were closely involved. I then ran a concept test with the help of Zalando design research team to validate these concepts.

After synthesizing the user test results, a bunch of limitations were identified on our existing shopping flow because of which the proposed user journey wasn’t possible to be implemented. Moreover, onboarding samples to our existing platform and setting a fair usage policy of the samples were quite challenging tasks too. We didn’t want to create a free candy effect where people abuse free samples. But one big win for us was that our sample offerings were nothing like any competitors. We were creating a true experience of trying out a product before buying it through this experience, unlike the competitors who generally provides random samples to cross sell. This was appreciated by the test participants a lot.

The rest of the process was collaborating with different teams to hash out all the use cases and edge cases and creating the detailed solution design. I worked at this stage closely with the content design team to come up with sample onboarding strategy, with the product management to set limits of samples, return restrictions and with the packaging team on how sample packaging can be most sustainable and cost effective to Zalando.


The beauty samples and mini sizes project is at its production stage. It got delayed due to other higher priority initiatives. It’s likely to go online in Q3 2022

Zalando SE
August 2020 – March 2021 | Team size – variable



What I did

  • User research and discovery
  • Concepts
  • Wireframes
  • Design system integration
  • Stakeholder management