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  1. #31
    Hob Dobson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    From your perspectives as customers, I ask if sampling actually draws you back to purchase the product. Do you sample and then go buy online for a cheaper price?
    Is that a trick question? If my samples are from TPC, I almost have to go somewhere else (probably online) to make my purchase - CdG Hinoki, Knize Ten, MPG Centaure.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    Has a sample ever made you decide to go back and purchase.
    ... from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, LuckyScent, The Different Scent, and L'Occitane.

    Sephora's wonderful about samples, but their selection isn't a great match for my tastes.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    How many of you sample repeatedly to spare the money of buying the product?
    Not worth the effort, as I don't plan on getting used to wearing anything that horribly expensive. If it really is something that I know I'll wear, it's worth buying a full bottle.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    I try to follow-up with customers that sample. What are your thoughts on this?
    If they come back, that's a great thing for both of you because it should be easier to skip trying stuff that's too much like what the customer didn't like previously. My experience is that if I've already told you I don't like the popular fresh/aquatics (for example), asking me to sniff at 5 or 10 more variations of the same just isn't going to get you any closer to a sale.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    I also have a stigma against discounted products. I feel they may be poor quality.
    It depends on the business model - the discount may reflect lower overhead, deferred shipping costs, or loss in retail value from cosmetic defects, partial use, or depressed popularity. None of those things necessarily reduces the quality of the product.

    Point of sale retailers, for a higher ticketed price, offer immediate services. If I decided I wanted Creed's Green Irish Tweed, I know exactly where I need to stop on the way home from work, from having stopped by Bloomingdale's a week or two ago. That's worth a little extra, no?

  2. #32
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Force of One View Post
    This summed up what I was trying to say very well. I'll add, that if something is the same price online as it is in the store (say something on LuckyScent for example) I'd rather the SA get credit/comission for it.
    +1 on Evoke's summary. To add to the conversation, part of my decision of where to buy also takes into account the risk involved. If I'm buying an expensive frag, like one of the private blends, I'm already putting down at least $150 even at a discount. At that price, getting a bad bottle would be tragic, so I'll spend a little extra to ensure I get a fresh bottle, and a robust return policy.

    With designer frags, available at $30-40 online (~50% off retail), the risk is acceptable to me.

    Edit: As for sample-giving. I won't give my business to a place that refuses samples, at all. If I get samples from a place like Sephora, but buy the product online, I make sure I give some other kind of business to them. In this case, I buy all my skincare products there.

    Having said that, if I meet an awesome, generous SA, I'll definitely go out of my way to get "qualifying" products from them!

  3. #33
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Samples definitely make it more likely that I will buy the product-- in fact, I don't buy perfumes if I have not been able to sample them. But I find that there is no consistent correlation between where I obtain samples and where I buy the product.

    I have samples:
    • that came to me secondhand from other BNers
    • that I got by emailing the house and requesting them
    • that were decanted by SAs at Nordstrom, Sephora or Aedes
    • that were original manufacturer samples given to me by an SA (but not many stores in CT have mfr. samples to offer; usually these are designer scents that I don't end up liking or buying.)
    • that I was allowed to decant for myself, into sample size atomizers that I bought online and brought along in my purse for just this purpose
    • that I bought online from Luckyscent, Aedes, Perfumed Court, eBay, L'Artisan, Rosine, Beauty Café....

    With samples coming from all over, it is not so likely that I will associate a particular sample with a particular SA. I also shop at different hours and days and often do not see the same SAs anyway.

    Not only that, but I may sample at one store, then some time later decide to buy the fragrance while in another city, shopping. Perhaps it would be different if the stores that sell the perfumes I love were closer; as it is, convenience plays a big factor.

    I'm more likely to buy while I'm out for a day of shopping with my husband and daughter. It becomes part of the pleasure of the outing. I've sampled in Westport but ended up buying later in NY (Bois de Paradis). I've sampled at Barney's NY and bought later at Barney's Boston! (Une Rose.) Perhaps it all evens out for the SAs in the long run-- I hope so!

    I do buy online sometimes, particularly from vendors that offer a discount to Basenoters and free shipping. These represent a minority of my perfume purchases, however. I've found them entirely satisfactory.

    Follow-up calls-- I do not care to get these calls (unless I have specifically requested that I be called when a certain item becomes available.)

  4. #34
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I find multiple interesting topics associated with your post.

    Samples definitely make it more likely that I will buy the product-- in fact, I don't buy perfumes if I have not been able to sample them. But I find that there is no consistent correlation between where I obtain samples and where I buy the product.
    I have samples:
    • that were decanted by SAs at Nordstrom, Sephora or Aedes
    So you receive samples from multiple places and don't keep track of where you get them. I competely understand this. In fact, it makes sense. How exactly are you supposed to keep track of samples of products especially when you have multiple.

    Would it make a different to you if a SA was to attach their business card to the sample and give it to you? If they made the visit and experience great for you, would you be open more to remembering the SA?

    • that I was allowed to decant for myself, into sample size atomizers that I bought online and brought along in my purse for just this purpose
    You bring atomizers to the store and fill them with juice from the testers?

    Not only that, but I may sample at one store, then some time later decide to buy the fragrance while in another city, shopping. Perhaps it would be different if the stores that sell the perfumes I love were closer; as it is, convenience plays a big factor.
    So it is a convience factor for you rather than a loyalty?

    Follow-up calls-- I do not care to get these calls (unless I have specifically requested that I be called when a certain item becomes available.)
    Interesting. As a SA at a high end retailer, they actually encourage us to do this. Have you told the SA to add you to a don't call list? Has this method ever worked for you in returning, even without a request for a certain item's availability?

  5. #35
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Gae View Post
    +1 on Evoke's summary. To add to the conversation, part of my decision of where to buy also takes into account the risk involved. If I'm buying an expensive frag, like one of the private blends, I'm already putting down at least $150 even at a discount. At that price, getting a bad bottle would be tragic, so I'll spend a little extra to ensure I get a fresh bottle, and a robust return policy.

    With designer frags, available at $30-40 online (~50% off retail), the risk is acceptable to me.

    Edit: As for sample-giving. I won't give my business to a place that refuses samples, at all. If I get samples from a place like Sephora, but buy the product online, I make sure I give some other kind of business to them. In this case, I buy all my skincare products there.

    Having said that, if I meet an awesome, generous SA, I'll definitely go out of my way to get "qualifying" products from them!
    I agree with you. With expensive niche products, I am VERY weary of purchasing from a discount retailer. The risk is too expensive.

  6. #36
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    So you receive samples from multiple places and don't keep track of where you get them. I competely understand this. In fact, it makes sense. How exactly are you supposed to keep track of samples of products especially when you have multiple.

    Clarifying, I don't have multiple samples of the same fragrance. Just samples of a number of fragrances.

    Would it make a different to you if a SA was to attach their business card to the sample and give it to you?

    No, this would be inconvenient given my storage method (I decant vials into empty 2.5 ml spray atomizers and store them stuck into a box filled with poly pellets.)

    If they made the visit and experience great for you, would you be open more to remembering the SA?

    I have only had one truly memorable visit to a perfume counter with an SA, and that was at JAR boutique. That SA is immortalized in my memory for sure.

    I do not say this to fault the SAs. I prefer to sample independently without having to maintain a conversation with an SA simultaneously-- LOL I think my brain only runs on one track at a time! Seriously, conversation while sniffing practically guarantees that I won't retain any impressions of the perfumes. At JAR the difference was that we were seated, the perfumes were presented slowly and ceremoniously, and I had a table at which to take my own notes while sniffing. It was quite the experience, but not practical for most perfume counters!

    You bring atomizers to the store and fill them with juice from the testers?

    I buy empty atomizers in varying sizes from Accessories for Fragrances.com and use them for sharing samples with others, for decanting my current fragrances into (I keep the full bottles in fridge and the decants in the same poly pellets in dresser drawer) and I also bring some with me when we visit shops that sell perfume.

    If after using the store tester on paper/skin I think I might like it enough to buy it, I request a sample. Almost always, I am told regretfully that they do not have samples. I then ask if I may decant a bit (usually 1-1.5 ml) into my own sample atomizer and with rare exception, I am told that I may. I would never take it without asking as I consider that to be theft.

    The only places where I asked and was refused were Bendel and Barney's Boston. I do not ask for samples that I am not interested in, so obviously I have not tried this everywhere.

    So it is a convience factor for you rather than a loyalty?

    As I mentioned, the stores I buy from are almost entirely out of my local area, so yes, I buy where it is convenient. I don't make a special trip to a particular distant store if I can get the perfume closer to home. I have a family to care for, a teenager and elderly parent with needs, and I weigh the family's needs over loyalty to a particular store or sales associate. However, if I do recall where a scent came from and if it is convenient to buy from that store, I would do so.

    "Follow-up calls-- I do not care to get these calls (unless I have specifically requested that I be called when a certain item becomes available."

    Interesting. As a SA at a high end retailer, they actually encourage us to do this. Have you told the SA to add you to a don't call list? Has this method ever worked for you in returning, even without a request for a certain item's availability?

    I've only had follow up calls from Bond No. 9 and L'Artisan so I don't feel the need to give such instructions. OTOH, when I have actually requested return calls (from Saks and Nordstrom) the calls never came. I think it probably works best for me to just call them myself to check on availability.

    **I do want to say this, lest you conclude that I am callous about or rude to sales associates. They are humans like myself and are worthy of every bit of common decency. I make it a point to always be polite with them, and we do chat, but not when I'm sniffing if I can avoid it!

  7. #37

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    It depends, as a student I am generally a bit more tight with my pennies.

    That said, if someone goes that extra step or is happy to give me samples of a few other fragrances I would be willing to overlook the 10% premium, Anymore than that and I am likely to purchase elsewhere, unless its truly exceptional service.

  8. #38
    Neurosis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Hanae Mori and Tobacco Vanille samples have led me to purchase, not much else has led me to buying.

  9. #39
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    So you receive samples from multiple places and don't keep track of where you get them. I competely understand this. In fact, it makes sense. How exactly are you supposed to keep track of samples of products especially when you have multiple.

    Clarifying, I don't have multiple samples of the same fragrance. Just samples of a number of fragrances.

    Would it make a different to you if a SA was to attach their business card to the sample and give it to you?

    No, this would be inconvenient given my storage method (I decant vials into empty 2.5 ml spray atomizers and store them stuck into a box filled with poly pellets.)

    If they made the visit and experience great for you, would you be open more to remembering the SA?

    I have only had one truly memorable visit to a perfume counter with an SA, and that was at JAR boutique. That SA is immortalized in my memory for sure.

    I do not say this to fault the SAs. I prefer to sample independently without having to maintain a conversation with an SA simultaneously-- LOL I think my brain only runs on one track at a time! Seriously, conversation while sniffing practically guarantees that I won't retain any impressions of the perfumes. At JAR the difference was that we were seated, the perfumes were presented slowly and ceremoniously, and I had a table at which to take my own notes while sniffing. It was quite the experience, but not practical for most perfume counters!

    You bring atomizers to the store and fill them with juice from the testers?

    I buy empty atomizers in varying sizes from Accessories for Fragrances.com and use them for sharing samples with others, for decanting my current fragrances into (I keep the full bottles in fridge and the decants in the same poly pellets in dresser drawer) and I also bring some with me when we visit shops that sell perfume.

    If after using the store tester on paper/skin I think I might like it enough to buy it, I request a sample. Almost always, I am told regretfully that they do not have samples. I then ask if I may decant a bit (usually 1-1.5 ml) into my own sample atomizer and with rare exception, I am told that I may. I would never take it without asking as I consider that to be theft.

    The only places where I asked and was refused were Bendel and Barney's Boston. I do not ask for samples that I am not interested in, so obviously I have not tried this everywhere.

    So it is a convience factor for you rather than a loyalty?

    As I mentioned, the stores I buy from are almost entirely out of my local area, so yes, I buy where it is convenient. I don't make a special trip to a particular distant store if I can get the perfume closer to home. I have a family to care for, a teenager and elderly parent with needs, and I weigh the family's needs over loyalty to a particular store or sales associate. However, if I do recall where a scent came from and if it is convenient to buy from that store, I would do so.

    "Follow-up calls-- I do not care to get these calls (unless I have specifically requested that I be called when a certain item becomes available."

    Interesting. As a SA at a high end retailer, they actually encourage us to do this. Have you told the SA to add you to a don't call list? Has this method ever worked for you in returning, even without a request for a certain item's availability?

    I've only had follow up calls from Bond No. 9 and L'Artisan so I don't feel the need to give such instructions. OTOH, when I have actually requested return calls (from Saks and Nordstrom) the calls never came. I think it probably works best for me to just call them myself to check on availability.

    **I do want to say this, lest you conclude that I am callous about or rude to sales associates. They are humans like myself and are worthy of every bit of common decency. I make it a point to always be polite with them, and we do chat, but not when I'm sniffing if I can avoid it!
    I have to say that I find your post very informative and appreciate your honesty. This is my idea of the general consumer with products and it helps give me an insight into helping further clients.

  10. #40
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    One last thing about the samples is that I don't hold onto them after I have determined that I do not like the fragrance enough to want to buy it.

    Many BNers keep a reference library of fragrances, which is a wonderful idea but just too much clutter (physical and mental) for me. After I am done with samples, I pass them along, if possible to someone who has it on their "to test" list.

    BTW I think Neroli Portofino is very pleasant; it's currently my favorite Tom Ford, though I do not own it nor have a sample of it. I'll have to smell it again next time I'm at Neiman Marcus.

  11. #41
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I do both. Sometimes I buy online at a cheaper price. But there are some SAs, both local and across the country, who I have established a very good relationship with. So I will always give them my business when I can.
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  12. #42

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    I am loyal to sales associates who are helpful and knowledgeable. If they don't work on commission, I try to compliment them in writing. I am big on keeping business cards with notes, so if I do go back for a recommended item (fragrance or other) they get credit for the sale.


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  13. #43
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Sometimes I feel that even if you are going to purchase a fragrance from somewhere else, writing a good comment card about your visit with the SA can be great and very rewarding.

  14. #44

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    Wow. No, I'm not. The Private Blend are an award winning fragrance line. Two of the fragrances in the line have won awards for Best fragrances of the year. I think they are gorgeous and it takes class and elegance to wear them....and not all of us have that. I appreciate your opinion.

    Back on topic to the thread though...
    Very well replied too. I agree, the Private Blend is classy and not for everyone.

  15. #45
    Neurosis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    If a sales associate is giving me many samples, talking about stuff, and making legit recommendations (not "here try "Bang!" If i get offered another Bang! tester card, I'm going to walk out and never come back) they've got a customer for life! As for samples exclusively, I personally have found that samples do help me make purchases, but not necessarily of the fragrance in the sample. Samples allow me to privately and publicly test a fragrance, get a feel for it, understand its dimensions and nuances. I can learn that I love or hate it basically. Over time I have become much pickier towards my fragrances, so I find sampling to greatly help me streamline my taste and collection. Tom Ford has been awesome to me with their 4mL samples, and I've purchased a decant of Tobacco Vanille as a result. Oud Wood is very slowly growing on me, and I can see myself owning a bottle a few years from now. And that's the other thing: maybe I won't buy it now, but if I dig up a sample from a month or a year ago, my taste is guaranteed to have change, and I may love it now. Same thing has happened to me with Serge Lutens. They sent few a Chergui sample and it didn't blow me away at first, but now I own a 50mL...something I'd never have done a few months ago. It just grew on me thanks to the sample allowing me to test it over time in different settings.

    TL/DR: Samples will generally lead me to buying a fragrance, maybe not immediately, but at some point I may love it. As for yourself being an SA, I'd keep it up with giving out samples. A friendly SA that is willing to let you take a fragrance home and try it for as long as you need to before making a decision is a great SA!

  16. #46

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    It's extremely weird to me reading that you "give out many samples", specially considering that Tom Ford Private Blends are not cheap.

    Here, at Barcelona and rest of Spain it's very, very, VERY, difficult to find a place where they give you samples without looking at you as an "anotheroneofthosewhoarenotgoingtobuymeanythingbut areusingMYfantasticsamples". And, the more expensive a perfume is, the most difficult is to receive a sample.

    I can't buy a perfume if I can't try it in different days/situations/state of mind!!! But they seem to not understand it. Maybe they are not good professionals, or don't want to sell, or they get the samples to their own home.

    Recently I went to a "high quality perfumes seller" at Passeig de Gràcia and had one of the most pathetical experiences with a seller. They are one of the few retailers (I only know 2) at Barcelona of Creed. When I requested for some samples, she told me it was not necessary. She explained me that the best I could do was to perfume my neck with two different fragances and each hand with two more perfumes on the wrist and the backside. Total=6 fragances. The best way, she told me, to compare them and decide which one was the best.

    I won't buy there. Obviously.

    Even at spanish Neiman Marcus (El Corte Inglés), I have difficulties to receive samples. Even more than other places! And they are one of the Creed retailers.

    I don't have problems at Sephora, where they do instant samples at empty decants, but they don't sell niche fragances. Just Annick Goutal and Serge Lutens and only at the biggest one.

    I don't have the same facilities as US residents to buy on the net, and that's why I will buy, without a doubt, in any place where they give me information, respect, samples and a professional treatment. Unfortunately, I'm still in process to find it.

  17. #47

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I definitely look around at price and value but as long as it's not a massive discount I try to go back to the SA that helped me. The couple I have right now know that I return more often when they hook me up with a bag of samples etc.

    I usually come in for more of the new stuff that can't be had online yet really and they know that and try to show me new stuff.

    We have talked enough that the know I am not paying 270 for a 4oz when I can get it f or 140 reliably but say Atelier Trefle pur and Aventus flacon really have no huge deals out there and that was my last 2 purchases.

    Next I think I am going to try Dior Leather Oud since it's really not around or cheap yet if that makes sense. I try not to waste their time sampling or spraying things I have already tried or can get cheaper and they know this. The free samples of that stuff are great though and nice to keep on trying if you are on the fence one a frag and are already purchasing something anyhow.
    “Perfume is like cocktails without the hangover, like chocolate without the calories, like an affair without tears, like a vacation from which you never have to come back.”

  18. #48
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I sampled most of the Tom Ford private blend before buying any of them. I now have full bottles of four (1 100 oz, 3 50 oz). Samples work. As a SA, be liberal with em
    Looking for Hermessence Ambre Narguile and for TFPB Moss Breches (50ml bottle), willing to pay in cashdollars. PM me!

  19. #49

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Good question. I wouldn't buy something in the price range of the Private Blend line without sampling it first, regardless of how the sample is acquired. However, I'm not near any retailers. Beyond the current lack of funds, the geography makes it difficult to buy from an SA... but I've got your card!

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