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What Are Perfume Testers?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Many companies use perfume testers to advertise their product and inspire shoppers to make a purchase. The perfume testers are usually small containers of perfume placed at or near the point of perfume stock in a store. Shoppers are able to try the perfume while in the store, and if they like the scent, they can then purchase a bottle of their own. Typically marked "Not for Resale," the perfume testers are a way for manufacturers to give the shopper an actual sample of the product at no charge. Many manufacturers of women's fragrances have had such success with the testers that many men's fragrances are now offered as testers in finer department stores.

While typically placed in smaller packaging, some perfume testers are used in much larger than typical dispensers. This allows for a greater number of samples to be offered without fear of running out. Some manufacturers and shoppers alike feel as if the larger containers do not accurately represent the actual scent of the perfume. For this reason, many of the top manufacturers refuse to introduce a new product in anything other than a small bottle. While most perfume testers come with a soft paper swatch in which to spray or apply the perfume, most shoppers apply the scent directly to their skin to receive a more realistic sense of the fragrance on their bodies.

A bottle of perfume.
A bottle of perfume.

Many fragrances take on a particular scent when applied to the human skin. By applying the product in a trial manner, the consumer can get a sense of the mix with her own personal chemistry. The perfume testers do the job that was once performed by human employees. A consumer used to be approached by an employee of the store or the perfume distributor and asked if she would like to sample the product. Now, consumers can help themselves by using perfume testers to sample a new fragrance.

Perfume testers allow shoppers to try perfume while in the store.
Perfume testers allow shoppers to try perfume while in the store.

Merchants have long known that offering a sample of a product may entice the buyer to make a purchase that they would have otherwise not made. From food samples in the grocery department to fragrance samples from perfume testers, merchants are able to sway the buyer into making a frivolous purchase on an impulse. Often, the fresh new scent of one person's sample will drive other shoppers in the area to also sample the perfume. This can lead to a group purchase of an otherwise overlooked or unneeded product.

Discussion Comments


As far as I'm concerned, I'd never buy a perfume just because I liked how it smelled on someone else. The connection between your personal body chemistry and a cologne or perfume is as unique as a finger print.

I like to buy perfume online, but only after I've tried it out in the stores. This is one more reason why I like to shop in a brick and mortar store as well as online. It's a perfect blend!

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    • A bottle of perfume.
      By: Kayros Studio
      A bottle of perfume.
    • Perfume testers allow shoppers to try perfume while in the store.
      By: Goran Bogicevic
      Perfume testers allow shoppers to try perfume while in the store.