Free Samples

Today’s blog post is about the free sample requests and to address the increasing customer anger we are experiencing for not posting them out. So, let me start by explaining how the system used to work.

A customer would visit our show stand or our website; they requested scent samples which we would post out. These people were interested in our company and our product range and would generally go on to purchase from us.

Typically, we would post out about 25 per day, and about a third of the recipients would purchase from us. Each sample pack, including postage, costs us about £2 but it worked well and was a win-win situation for our customers and us.

Then everything changed.

Unbeknown to us, someone shared this offer onto numerous “freebie” websites. The number of requests exploded. To date, we have had about 70,000 applications for free samples. We are a small company with very limited resources and certainly not £140,000 in the bank to post them all out.

Recently we sent out a test batch of 1000 samples to this new list of prospective customers at the cost of £2000.  If the conversion rates remained the same, we would have expected to receive about 300 orders which would have totalled about £12,000. More than enough to cover the cost of the stock, the shipping, the original samples with their postage and for us to make a small profit on the transaction.

But when we analysed the results from this test batch of 1000, they were almost unbelievably bad. We received just four orders totalling £97. This is unsustainable, and we cannot continue to send them out for free.

Sadly, a system that worked very well is now broken and corrupted by a group of people who have no interest in our products; they simply want a freebie. This is fair enough on their part, but it is now having a very negative impact on our reputation.

Each day we are receiving hundreds of angry emails demanding the free samples. We don’t even have the resources to answer each one. Andy, who is responsible for this part of our business, only has one pair of hands and he answers the phone to customers, replies to all their emails and then wraps and packs all the orders.

The problem is that we cannot identify who is a “real” customer requesting samples before buying and the thousands of others who have put in a request.

To be honest, it’s a nightmare!

So, as of now, I’m writing to explain that we will no longer be sending samples out free of charge. If this is the only reason you are on our email list and do not wish to hear from us again, then please feel free to unsubscribe. If, however, you would still like to receive samples, then you have the following three options.

Option One: Make a purchase from us, and your samples will automatically be included with your order.

Option Two: Pay £2 to receive your scent samples and you will also receive a £5 voucher to spend on our website.

Option Three: Visit our stand at one of the many shows we do and smell the scents in person.

I’m very sorry that we have had to make this change and that we can no longer offer the samples for free, but it is the only way that we can see to move forward. Thank you as always for your continued support. Justina and I, along with all our team really appreciate it.

7 thoughts on “Free Samples”

  1. Hi Luke,
    This is terrible! I’ll admit that I am one of those people who signed up for a “freebie ” after receiving an email from a third party advertising your offer and thinking that your products looked good and that I’d like to give them a try. I didn’t however know that this was not something that you had signed up to and could jeopardise the reputation of your company and I’m sure that I’m not the only one. Thank you for taking the time to explain, I’m sure that you would rather be blogging about something else! I’ve ordered my samples and am looking forward to receiving them and I hope that others do the same and then reorder. Good luck for the future!

    Reply
    • Hi, just wanted to say good for you in spelling this out for people. It’s so different being a small company not a multi national giant and people don’t seem to get this! It’s always nice to get a freebie but not at the cost of the company going broke. I’ve bought twice from you at shows like Malvern and your products are lovely and fairly priced anyway. As I live a long way from London and am not planning more shows this year, having an option to pay a small amount to try new scents is a really good idea though.

      Reply
  2. Totally agree with you and the earlier comments. It’s one thing for the multi-nationals who have the financial backing to do this but to jeopardise your wonderful company is not acceptable. I am a keen crafter and if I want samples of materials then I have to pay for them, and I do, because I really want them. Of course we all like a freebie, but not at the expense of someone’s livelihood.
    Completely support what you are doing and I am always delighted with my purchases from Valentte, with or without free samples!

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  3. Completely support you and your decision. The freebie sites are great but not at the e expense of someone’s business that really isn’t on. Anyone who cant see that doesn’t deserve any respect or even acknowledgment. If they cant see the damage that has been done to a small business by over sharing that offer then they really are blind and selfish and only out for what they can get

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  4. Excellent level of information provided and I think all 3 options are absolutely right. It is shocking that only £97 of sales came from the 1000 free samples – I can only think that people couldn’t have bothered trying them when they arrived as the products are top quality and smell divine. Furthermore customer service is great, friendly and professional

    Reply
  5. Hi Luke,
    This is a real shame for your company and for potential customers like me.
    I have read your blog after submitting a request for samples.
    I have read about your company on Facebook this morning, interested in what I read I have visited the company website. It is clear to see that you have great reviews for the products, but they are a little expensive for my pocket, so for me I would have to love the scent before I committing to a purchase. This is sad as it potentially excludes a group of customers who could become loyal if the product was for them. These freebie advertiser are not understanding the impact that they are having on small business and potential customers who are not in a position to try before they buy.
    That said, I understand and respect the position the company has taken
    HJx

    Reply
  6. You have such a fantastic company Luke. Well done for initiating the 3 options re free samples. I could not believe the number you quoted as requesting samples.. That is shocking and fully support your response. Keep up the good work and be blessed!

    Reply

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