Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Old Tradition of Including Free Tea Sample with Order

In the early days of internet puerh buying, the early and mid- 2000s, free samples were always included in the order.  Most all of the early vendors did this, I think.  The reason they did it was to remedy the problem of not being able to sample at a storefront tea table which was the way puerh tea was most commonly purchased in Asia at that time.

You walk into a store, they steep up whatever tea you’re interested in buying.  If it is persuasive enough for you to buy, maybe you walk out of the store with some.  Maybe you even walk away with a tea they were steeping at the tea table that you had no intention to buy in the first place.  With the advent of ordering puerh over the internet, you obviously couldn’t really do this… so the first online puerh vendors re-invented this tradition of free sampling before purchase by including a sample (or two) with purchase.

Nowadays vendors don’t always give a free sample with every purchase and some older vendors who used to do this has phased this out.  These days, vendors usually fall into 1 of 3 categories. Those who 1- never give a free sample with order, 2- occasionally give a free sample with order (randomly or part of a promo), and 3- always give a free sample with order.

It does have a cost and how that cost is rolled into the product you buy is anyone’s guess.  But in the end, I suppose, we are paying for that in the same way we are paying for free shipping.  Some vendors might actually choose not to give free samples in an attempt to offer the absolute lowest prices.  I am aware of this but I still like the old school gesture of receiving a free sample with my order.

It also is good marketing too.  It uses the marketing strategy of reciprocity.  That is, we are more likely to support and buy from someone who has given us a free gift, regardless of how small it is.  It also promotes the brand if someone posts about their sample on social media.  So it has that effect as well.

Personally, the gift of a free sample always makes me smile.  It’s like Christmas every time you order because you have no idea what it’s going to be.  Sometimes, while drinking these free samples, I even imagine walking into their shop and sampling it off their busy tea table.  Of course, there are those who give just because I’m a blogger, but I really like the ones who always give the free sample to all.  Even if, I suppose, we are all paying for it in a roundabout way.


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