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  1. #1
    Mr_Castro's Avatar
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    Default Question about Samples

    I am a sales associate and I specialize in the Tom Ford Private Blends. I give out many samples, not only of Tom Ford but of multiple products that people ask for.

    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? Has a sample ever made you decide to go back and purchase. How many of you sample repeatedly to spare the money of buying the product?

    I try to follow-up with customers that sample. What are your thoughts on this?

    I know from my own purchases of Creed, Bond no. 9, etc. whenever I buy I receive samples. They have generally led me to a purchase. But I am more of a faithful customer to specific SA's that go out of their way to find things that I like. I have never sampled and sought better prices. I also have a stigma against discounted products. I feel they may be poor quality. They put work in, and deserve my business. At different boutiques, I have specific SA that I contact for business and we have a relationship.

    I guess it is the server mentality. If you tip well as a server, somewhere down the line that tip will make its way back to you.

    Thoughts? This has been something that I have thought about a lot.

  2. #2
    volley2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Yes, samples make me go buy the product.

  3. #3
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Although I never purchase or collect samples myself, if I receive samples as part of a purchase I make from a generous SA, I often return to that same SA to make future fragrance purchases.

  4. #4
    PuddleMonkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I've returned multiple times to buy fags from a SA that gave me samples.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by PuddleMonkey View Post
    I've returned multiple times to buy fags from a SA that gave me samples.
    dude you buy what now? thats disgusting!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Dixon Cider View Post
    dude you buy what now? thats disgusting!
    LOL holy crap just spit out some water

  7. #7

    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? Has a sample ever made you decide to go back and purchase. How many of you sample repeatedly to spare the money of buying the product?
    Sampling does draw me back to make a purchase. It is important for a sales associate to developed a relationship with their customer. I have done this with the sale associate that I deal with. They have become familiar with my likes and dislikes. My particular sale associate has a file filled with notes about my preferences and I've supplied them with my own notes. It's a great relationship. I sometimes find packages in my mailbox filled with samples of fragrance they thought I would like. Guess what? I usually do and for them this turns into a sale. I have been given at least 30ml samples, especially on extremely expensive fragrances, to help me make up my mind. I wouldn't trade any of these perks for saving a few bucks and dealing with some online retailer that doesn't really care about anything more than securing a sale without any work. None of the savings is really worth the possibility of purchasing fraudulent merchandise. I prefer the interaction when it comes to something as personal as fragrances.
    - Expect the unexpected

  8. #8

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I got samples on line, and I bought on-line fragrances that I couldn't get here, or the price difference was huge.

    I had a wonderful experience with a SA, that gave me a bunch of samples when I purchased from her, she went really off her way!

    My decisions are based on the difference in price now, If it's less than 10.00 I'll go to my SA, cause I feel I'm taking care off, but they have a very limited inventory.
    hope this helps.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    I am a sales associate and I specialize in the Tom Ford Private Blends. I give out many samples, not only of Tom Ford but of multiple products that people ask for.

    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? Has a sample ever made you decide to go back and purchase. How many of you sample repeatedly to spare the money of buying the product?

    I try to follow-up with customers that sample. What are your thoughts on this?

    I know from my own purchases of Creed, Bond no. 9, etc. whenever I buy I receive samples. They have generally led me to a purchase. But I am more of a faithful customer to specific SA's that go out of their way to find things that I like. I have never sampled and sought better prices. I also have a stigma against discounted products. I feel they may be poor quality. They put work in, and deserve my business. At different boutiques, I have specific SA that I contact for business and we have a relationship.

    I guess it is the server mentality. If you tip well as a server, somewhere down the line that tip will make its way back to you.

    Thoughts? This has been something that I have thought about a lot.
    if you're a undercover tom ford spy please tell ol' tommy that his private blends suck and are over priced, imo

  10. #10

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by puddlemonkey View Post
    i've returned multiple times to buy fags from a sa that gave me samples.
    lmao

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    It is my policy to buy from the store and -- if possible -- the clerk who gave me a sample. If I purchase a sample, then I am at large to purchase the product wherever I like.

  12. #12
    Mr_Castro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Dixon Cider View Post
    if you're a undercover tom ford spy please tell ol' tommy that his private blends suck and are over priced, imo
    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...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I never repeat sample to just avoid buying the product. As for the sample, they defintely make me consider returning to that SA if price is close. But I'm not going to come back and pay triple for what I could get at a big discount or maybe a used bottle that is a good value, just in the name of some silly "entitled loyalty". Especially if the SA does nothing out of the ordinary or seems to want to get rid of me. Not quite as bad, but also annoying is when they clearly push something they have an agenda to sell. A Bond Rep did this to me one time.

    Now of course if the SA works with me, is friendly,helpful, and generous with samples, obviously then I will lean toward doing business with them

  14. #14
    Mr_Castro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Force of One View Post
    I never repeat sample to just avoid buying the product. As for the sample, they defintely make me consider returning to that SA if price is close. But I'm not going to come back and pay triple for what I could get at a big discount or maybe a used bottle that is a good value, just in the name of some silly "entitled loyalty". Especially if the SA does nothing out of the ordinary or seems to want to get rid of me. Not quite as bad, but also annoying is when they clearly push something they have an agenda to sell. A Bond Rep did this to me one time.

    Now of course if the SA works with me, is friendly,helpful, and generous with samples, obviously then I will lean toward doing business with them
    So, you do generally go elsewhere to price products that you have sampled? I think that any product, not only fragrance, can be found elsewhere at a discounted price whether it's used or old stock. Is the SA help that really the deciding point or the price and value?

  15. #15

    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...
    lol, can i hear more about how good tom ford fragrances are? or how many awards they've won? tom ford fragrances suck! its just my opinion dont get so offended. show some "class" geez
    Last edited by Dixon Cider; 5th January 2011 at 06:37 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    I am a sales associate and I specialize in the Tom Ford Private Blends. I give out many samples, not only of Tom Ford but of multiple products that people ask for.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dixon Cider View Post
    if you're a undercover tom ford spy please tell ol' tommy that his private blends suck and are over priced, imo
    Quote Originally Posted by Dixon Cider View Post
    lol, can i hear more about how good tom ford fragrances are? or how many awards they've won? tom ford fragrances suck! its just my opinion dont get so offended. show some "class" geez
    I think the above speaks for itself. Do you actually have anything relevant to add to the topic being discussed, Dixon Cider?

  17. #17

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Oh defintely price and value! But if it was close, I would probably not have a problem giving the sale to the SA, especially if he had worked with me and been helpful. But I'm not going to pay near double, simply b/c they allowed me to test their stock at the counter.

  18. #18
    PuddleMonkey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Dixon Cider View Post
    dude you buy what now? thats disgusting!
    frags! FRAG! FRAGS!



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  19. #19

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    I think the above speaks for itself. Do you actually have anything relevant to add to the topic being discussed, Dixon Cider?
    it was a joke is humor not allowed on basenotes? and if my comments were so irrelevant why bring attention to them? or do you have anything relevant to add to the op's topic?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    Although I never purchase or collect samples myself, if I receive samples as part of a purchase I make from a generous SA, I often return to that same SA to make future fragrance purchases.
    Same here. Building a relationship with an SA who knows what he/she is selling and makes an effort can be a mutually rewarding two way street.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    To be honest; yes, no and no.

    As for the 1st No, I met a fantastic Tom Ford SA once, she gave me 6 4ml samples without me even asking for samples, but merely for showing interest and knowledge. However, the store sold the 50ml for $220 each, when they sell online for as low as $120, $100 is a huge difference. But as I said, in the case the lady simply liked me and offered to give me stuff. I would never abuse a SA if I have absolutely no plans of making a purchase.


    As for the the 2nd No; Sometimes I ask for a sample of a perfume simply to have enough of it for reference. An example is "Serge Lutens Arabie". I'd never wear that perfume thus I wouldn't buy a full bottle of it, but I like having some of it for reference. But again, in this case I would not ask for a sample unless I am making a purchase.

    And for the Yes; If I'm genuinely interested in a perfume I'll ask for a sample, if I happen to like it I'll make a purchase from the same SA. If I make a purchase and the SA is very generous with samples, I'll come back even if I don't like any of the samples I got. When I used to live in Canada, a SA always gave me over 10 samples (I was purchasing expensive niche stuff anyway), and I always came back to that store whenever I had spare money for perfumes, even if I was more interested in a line sold somewhere else, I would put my plans aside and spend my money in that same store. So yes, generosity can make a customer very loyal.

    But to be reasonable, no matter how generous you are, if you're working in a store that sells products for, say, over %130 of what they go for online, I'll make my purchase online. Good customer service can only take you so far...Luckily the price difference in the Niche market is usually tight, so I don't mind paying an extra $20 to get some goodies. But designers on the other hand...they can go for %400 in store.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    If an SA is helpful--by giving samples, or guiding me to a fragrance I might like, that sort of thing--I'll likely make a purchase from that SA sometime in the next few weeks. But I shop at a lot of different fragrance stores, and I take a long time, sometimes months, to go from sample to purchase. Therefore, it's unlikely that that purchase will be the one that that SA showed me--it will probably be something that some other SA showed me a few months before.

    And, yeah, if I can find a fragrance at a deepdeep discount, odds are I'll buy it at that discount, and I'll go back to the helpful SA to buy something that I _can't_ buy at a discount. For example, if a Neiman Marcus SA shows me an older Goutal fragrance, I'll likely buy the deeply discounted version online, but when I want to buy something new and not yet at the discounters (or at least not deeply discounted), or buy something from a brand that manages to keep its products away from the discounters, I'll go buy it from that SA.

    Some places, like Sephora, have very little that I want, that isn't deeply discounted elsewhere. I buy one or two full-price products from Sephora every year, just because I go in there to sample so often and I'd feel guilty if I didn't. (If I wore makeup, I'd sample perfume at Sephora, buy makeup there, and buy the perfume at discounters. But I don't wear makeup.)

    ChickenFreak

  23. #23

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekove View Post
    But to be reasonable, no matter how generous you are, if you're working in a store that sells products for, say, over %130 of what they go for online, I'll make my purchase online. Good customer service can only take you so far...Luckily the price difference in the Niche market is usually tight, so I don't mind paying an extra $20 to get some goodies. But designers on the other hand...they can go for %400 in store.
    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.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I think the original question is probably more relevant to niche as Ekove mentions - for me it is SAs at the handful of retailers carrying niche stuff that I have got to know quite well and with HK tax free status + in all three cases a 10% membership discount the on the ground price is way better than online retail.

  25. #25
    Mr_Castro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Ekove View Post

    But to be reasonable, no matter how generous you are, if you're working in a store that sells products for, say, over %130 of what they go for online, I'll make my purchase online. Good customer service can only take you so far...Luckily the price difference in the Niche market is usually tight, so I don't mind paying an extra $20 to get some goodies. But designers on the other hand...they can go for %400 in store.
    That is why sometimes I feel like full price in the store has no chance when compared to online shopping. You could buy the full price perfect quality product, or you could go online and buy a product that may be dated or used for a discount. For some of us, I like my own and I hate the idea of dipping into a sauce that someone has already used. In fact, my favorite part of a fragrance is the first inital spray =) But not everyone has that feeling.

  26. #26
    Mr_Castro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    Same here. Building a relationship with an SA who knows what he/she is selling and makes an effort can be a mutually rewarding two way street.
    This is a great point. As a SA, I try and supply clients with as much information and knowledge about the product. By understanding what your looking for and what your likes/dislikes are, I can assist you in finding further perfumes.

    Particularly with the Private Blends, sometimes showing people a fragrance that layers and blends with their current Private Blend helps them increase their fragrance wardrobe.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I usually walk in the department store and I make my way over to the fragrance counter, smile and usually the SA are kind of nasty to me. But honestly, I have met one that was really nice, down to Earth, even went out of her way as to what she thought was the best scent for me and never tried to force something off on me. She gave me one of those 'gift with purchase' bags that didn't come with my fragrance and a butt-load of samples. I went back and sought her out (sadly, she had left) because of just how nice she was and she seemed to really want to help me. If all SA were like her, I'd go back and buy with them in a heartbeat.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    I'll be frank.

    Until Xmas eve, I was also working as a fine fragrance SA, which also covered the Tom Ford portfolio (amongst others).
    I know how this works from both sides of the counter. I also learned how to recognise a genuine request or need for a sample from a 'sample-whoring' request.

    Answer: If Im given samples, 9 times out of 10 I will shop online if I can find it drastically cheaper.

    This being said, the store I worked in until recently had a Guerlain counter. Our competition (just across the road) ALSO had a Guerlain counter. DESPITE our very generous 20% staff discount, I made all my local Guerlain purchases from the store across the road. That is because the Guerlain consultant there ALWAYS provided exceptional customer service. She followed up on purchases, made calls to get me to come in and sample, invited me to VIP events and gave generous GWPs. Even when faced with outstanding house discounts in my store, I was (and still am) very loyal to her.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr_Castro View Post
    That is why sometimes I feel like full price in the store has no chance when compared to online shopping. You could buy the full price perfect quality product, or you could go online and buy a product that may be dated or used for a discount. For some of us, I like my own and I hate the idea of dipping into a sauce that someone has already used. In fact, my favorite part of a fragrance is the first inital spray =) But not everyone has that feeling.
    The risk of getting a flawed fragrance online is not as big as some people make it seem. Especially if you stick to places like Luckyscent, Parfumraffy or basenotes trade boards. Even Ebay is relatively safe, the only complaints I regularly hear on these boards regarding online purchases were about creeds, batches older than 3 years are of lower quality. So personally I was not considering that risk.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Question about Samples

    When was testing some Bond frags, the SA gave me samples of what I wanted and she was very helpful in general. I could have purchased my bottle online for a solid discount but I felt better about giving her the sale. She also gave me 8 more samples and some samples of Jack black facial cleansers.

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