No chance, I believe. They´re not allowed to.
Thread: How to get a tester from an SA
I would be super interested to hear anyones stories of how they were able to score a tester from a brick and mortar store. Is it even possible? I have offered to pay for some in the past but have always been refused. If some one has a strategy please post it!! The reason I ask, I was in Nordstoms today to test Pure Malt. They had it there but the SA commented that the tester out was old. It was from when it was originally released last year...they had it just in sitting in a drawer the whole time. That prompted me to ask her, so what do you do with testers you dont use anymore.....her response......"usually we just throw them away" They were going to throw away an almost full bottle of pure malt...when I asked if I could buy it , she said they were very strict in the fact they cannot sell them.
A similar story, the Saks in the same mall has the WHOLE Tom Ford private collection line of testers just sitting in a drawer (even the MUSK line). They had it for sale there a long time ago but removed it and now only sell Tom Ford Extreme. There is no need for the testers and they are quite hidden away except from me. Since I know about them I always bug my Creed SA to decant some samples from them. I have GOT to find a way to have them either include one in a sale or to sell it to me at a nice price.....which leads me to this post...
Last edited by Captcrunch; 19th September 2010 at 03:07 AM.
No chance, I believe. They´re not allowed to.
At the retail level in a big established store like Nordstroms, I don't see how you could do it.
Clearly from our point of view "you're going to throw it away, so just give it to me."
But put yourself in the position of the store and/or the SA. It is an item of some value, but who can accurately assess that from the store side? How do you account for it when ringing it up as a sale? My guess is you want to play "let's make a deal." "Well you're just going to throw it away- I'll give you $30 for it."
If you're the SA and you just "toss it in" with another purchase, doesn't that put you at risk of losing your job? I would assume these guys are watched like the dealers in Vegas. A place like Nordstrom stands behind everything they sell- fanatically so. You go home with the tester and come back a week later and say "I don't like it. I changed my mind. I lost my receipt" or "It must have gone bad." How do they deal with that if they sold it to you at some haggled discount price?
All that being said, I have heard a handful of anecdotes about some people getting testers from Creed reps...but I believe that usually involves people who've made a lot- a lot - of purchases from said reps.
I'm guessing that some stores will sell testers, but I haven't run into any. The smaller boutique type stores probably have more latitude.
Last edited by StylinLA; 19th September 2010 at 02:26 AM.
I think maybe the reason is that if you got the tester, you would not buy the full bottle. How is it then in the store's best interest to lose a sale?
A store I go to fairly often gave me an almost full tester of Dzongkha (100ml), saying they would just throw it away, and couldn't sell it as it had been used (I offered to pay for it). They knew me as a customer. It was fairly out of the blue and has not been repeated. There was no strategy involved, and I would not feel comfortable asking for another one.
I don't know much about medicine, but I know what I like. -- S.J. Perelman
Last edited by Captcrunch; 19th September 2010 at 03:02 AM.
Your Creed SA strategy is worth a try. But what little I know about how my Nieman Marcus is organized, there are clearly established reps for the different lines. Not sure how easily she/he can go grab another product line.
Ok, now getting a tester of a perfume they're still selling, and selling strong, is near impossible, chances of that are very very low. But I know that's not what you're asking.
I've heard some brick and mortar stores sell testers that are still NEW, when they don't want them anymore, e.g. a bottle change happened, or they sold out on the perfume and have no need for the tester since they're not restocking. This has never happened anywhere near me and it's only stories.
The 3rd case is no brick and mortar stores, yes if it's a boutique, or a small discount store, they might do it for you, or even give it to you for free if you have very good relationship with them.
The last case I can think of is probably what you are asking. If there is a tester bottle in a brick and mortar store, how to get it from the SA for free or what not? That chances of that are lower than in a boutique. Never happened to me, but you'll have to have a very, very good relationship with the SA (he has to buy either a relative, friend or someone you bought A LOT of perfumes from). I think in that case he might be able to give it to you if it is not needed anymore (again, bottle re-design, discontinued fragrance, no plans of restock...etc). If you're not a relative or friend, and he'll have to give it to you on the spot instead of somewhere else, chances that he'll do it for money are very low, do you pay the money for him or for the store? if it goes in the cash register and you get a receipt for it he's in trouble since it's not registered as "for sale stock", if you give the money personally to him, he basically stole from the store and he's in trouble. So why should he take that risk in the first place if he gives it to you for free and makes nothing out of it than good relations?
I'm not an expert, but we all dream of getting a free tester thrown in with a purchase, especially one not needed. But ultimately it's safer for them to throw good full testers away than selling them and getting in trouble, or having to pay for their storage. Sad fact....But I'm quite sure the easiest solution is for the SA to take the tester for himself, I'm very sure such thing is offered by the store since clothes stores do it all the time, so get one of your friends/relatives to work there!
I was at the Takashimaya going out of business sale in NY and wanted to buy a tester of Histoires de Parfums 1725, but they still wouldn't sell it to me even though there were no more bottles left. I would have offered "full price" (which was 40% off MSRP at the time), but the bottle was only 25% full. That was really freaking annoying.
Heres how it works... in large department stores, one of two things has resulted in testers actually being on the shop floor:
1. The department store has paid for them (along with spray cards, acetate display stands and other related collateral), OR
2. The company whose fragrance it is has supplied them to the store (ie: LVMH, L'Oreal, BPI) but they still effectively "own" the collateral.
Department stores cannot sell testers because in case no. 1 above, there is no barcode or track number for a tester. As systems are in place to monitor stock on hand levels etc, you cannot sell a tester otherwise there will be money in the till that has not altered the barcoded stock-on-hand. Thus, when fragrances are discontinued or no longer on range, testers are usually destroyed.
In case no. 2 above testers cannot be sold by the store because they do not have ownership of the collateral. The company who has supplied the testers have the right to collect them again if unused or discontinued, and can distribute them again freely to other stores who may have stock on hand.
So, very seldom are testers EVER available for purchase through department stores.
Perfume boutiques and franchises are another story.
This topic begs for the question though, where do all these online stores get their consistent large supply of testers from? There's probably a limit on how many testers a store can get from the manufacturer depending on the number of boxed bottles purchased, free or not, I doubt they get more than 1 tester per 10 boxed bottles purchased.
But leave those ebay and online stores. In Kuwait, we have a market that's specialized in selling perfumes, a total of over 60 perfume shops. About 20 of those are discount perfume shops, many of which carry testers. And they have about the same number of testers, if not more, than they have boxed bottles, now granted they don't sell a tester of EVERYTHING. But having 30 testers of 1 million is quite impressive for a small store. Where do they get those from? Does the manufacturer sell testers at such rate?
I've received a full tester of Fleur Du Male, a tester of John Varvatos and a tester of Kenneth Cole Black. I've had pretty good luck. But, I'm in sales so I think I use a few tricks lol.
Everytime I've gotten them it was late and I just chatted up with the SA and tried to get them out of sales mode and just talk. I'd ask for a lesser known fragrance and while they looked I would proclaim how many bottles they have in the drawer and which ones do they never use. If they showed me some I'd say I really like that one and talk for a bit and throw out "hey, do you think you'd be cool enough to throw one of those in a bag for me since I really like it and you never use it?"
I've gotten a few people to do it for me and it mainly depends on the time.
Make the relationship reciprocal. Once a female SA gives me a sample, I always reply with a smile and say "when's the last time someone told you you're absolutely beautiful" with a lighthearted delivery. I also always carry some Starbucks gift coupons for a free drink with me for whenever I encounter anyone that goes above and beyond the call to help me out. People remember these gestures.
If you have the looks, seduce them.
Only twice... and once because the sales associate swore I was the only person she had seen purchase Acier Aluminium before from them in over 2 years and another because I asked and the rep was going to be there the next day and would invariably replace it.
Also once, I had somebody tell me that the testers were often stolen, so me asking was an oddity but then I felt bad and just bought myself a bottle instead.
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Here in Saudi Arabia it isn't unusual for shops to sell testers. Like ekove mentioned for Kuwait, some of the shops offer a surprising number of testers, usually at substantial discounts over the official retail versions.
I also don't know how they get them or how they get so many of them. I have bought many, and since I am such a good customer, have been given quite a few used testers varying in fill levels.
You'd think that if the manufacturers could produce such a huge number of testers to be given away to retail shops that they could reduce the cost of their products to begin with.
The thing is, this industry is getting quite screwed up because of the internet. Samples are already very hard to get in most brick and mortar stores, unless you buy something, and even then you won't get that many. Why, you may ask? several reasons but my main guess is ebay. A sample easily goes for $5-$15 dollars in there, that's free money, especially if you live in a place with quite a few stores that you could circle, get 5 samples from each store, go to 5 stores a day, that's an easy $250. And I have a feeling we'll see less tester bottles in the future because of ebay.
Having said that, regarding freebies and samples, I thinking what it comes down to is 1. being confident 2. being talkative and establishing a good relationship with the SA 3. Have a conversation. whenever you ask for something like that, be smooth and don't ask directly e.g. "I really like this perfume, I like to give a perfume 2 or 3 wearings before I purchase it, do you happen to have samples" vs "I'd like a sample of this or that".
Ultimately though, free testers sound like a fantasy that happens once in 10,000 visits.
I've bought testers from a lot of different places.
I just tell them I want it, and put out some cash. The people who work at these places usually need money. That often trumps anything else. They make a hundred bucks, they're feeling good.
Here in the UK the department stores have a shop for the staff only. A lot of testers end up there and got for next to nothing. I know, a friend who works as a sa told me. She bought a few bottles of Cartier Santo for her hubsand at like £3 each.
Hence testers turning up on ebay, some staff buying and then selling on brand new testers. So Coty/Lancaster in Europe taking ebay to court and the banning of tester bottles being sold. Of course they still are but not actually using the word tester now.
I have been told that if an sa was caught selling or giving a free tester to a customer they would be sacked. But that could only be the policy in Debenhams,House of Fraser and John Lewis.
A small skincare shop locally sells fragrances of all types too so I shop there occasionally. One day they were closing out their L' Artisan Parfumer line completely. They had 3 bottles of Fou d' Absinthe, 3 Navegar, and 2 Merchant Loop all in 50 ml. bottles and all at 50% off as a close out. They had mostly full 100 ml. testers of these three and I asked if I could buy the testers since they were closing out the entire line? "No, we are not allowed to sell testers!" Seeing an opportunity here I asked "what if I buy all of your close outs, will you give me the testers free, since you can not sell them and won't need them any longer."
Well they sold me the close outs and gave me the testers for free! I put the 50% off NIB L' Artisans (all 8) up for sale at my cost on basenotes marketplace and they were gone in three days. I was left with three almost full 100 ml. testers of very nice L' Artisan fragrances.
I couldn't imagine a SA at a major department store selling a tester! I'm sure there are some penalties for it, i.e. lose your job.