Yes, samples make me go buy the product.
Thread: 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.
Yes, samples make me go buy the product.
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.
I've returned multiple times to buy fags from a SA that gave me samples.
- Expect the unexpected
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.
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.
Back on topic to the thread though...
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
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sephora's wonderful about samples, but their selection isn't a great match for my tastes.
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?
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!
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.)
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.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.I have samples:
• that were decanted by SAs at Nordstrom, Sephora or Aedes
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?
You bring atomizers to the store and fill them with juice from the testers?• 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
So it is a convience factor for you rather than a loyalty?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.
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?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.)
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!
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.
Hanae Mori and Tobacco Vanille samples have led me to purchase, not much else has led me to buying.
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.
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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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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My Top 10*:
1. Bois des Iles (Chanel)
2. Ubar (Amouage)
3. Pandora (DSH)
4. Miss Dior - vintage (Dior)
5. Jolie Madame (Balmain)
6. Jicky (Guerlain)
7. Gold Woman (Amouage)
8. Mata Hari (DSH)
9. L'Air du Desert Moracain (Tauer)
10. Medici - Italian Splendor: Florence (DSH)
*in no particular order because it's too hard!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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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
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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!