A few weeks ago, we wrote about how buying product samples is a must in your sourcing journey.
Product samples are critical when selecting the right supplier. Any buyer who’s ever gotten a bad product shipment will attest to this.
Samples are important for these let you evaluate not only products but also how your potential supplier delivers.
If a supplier has sold and shipped you samples, it is making or supplying the product for real.
How a supplier sells you the sample gives you an idea on how it will handle your bulk orders. If the shipped sample matches what was advertised, it shows you supplier dedication to quality. If delivery is timely, the supplier values your time.
If the supplier is easy to communicate with and willing to provide you additional information you need even as early as the samples stage, then talking to them for future orders might be a breeze.
Got you convinced? Here are helpful tips and reminders to start you off on the right foot.
- Visit online sourcing marketplaces – Start your search with your go-to sites for sourcing. Check if any of them have listings of companies that offer ready-made samples. Global Sources’ Buy Product Samples page, for instance, shows plenty of suppliers selling instant samples, which you can filter easily by product and industry.
- Background-check your potential supplier – Is the company a registered business and verified supplier? Does it comply with product standards? Has it participated in trade shows? Are there major clients that trust it? It’s easy to find answers to these. Visit the company website and its online sourcing platform. Call the supplier to confirm those, too. If you’re searching via Global Sources, look for the “Verified Suppliers” and “Verified Manufacturers” marks, which indicate the company has been confirmed a legitimate business by independent third parties.
- Have backup suppliers – Collect and select. It is given that some suppliers will fail to meet your standards. Having alternative suppliers beforehand or a well-trimmed down supplier list helps you save time.
- Avoid counterfeit products – Is the product really owned by the supplier? Beware of certain red flags. For instance, if there are other companies offering the exact same thing, chances are, these products are counterfeit. Don’t hesitate to ask your supplier for more photos or if they’ve patented it.
- Check pricing and lead time – Is the listed price only for the sample itself or does it include delivery? How fast can the sample be sent? Talk to your supplier directly, and if these details are specified by your online marketplace then the task is a breeze. Suppliers of ready-made samples at Global Sources display their pricing which already includes shipping, and checkout is guaranteed speedy.
- Complete your sample order form – All it takes are a few clicks. Fill out your online order form properly and double check it. Most forms will ask you to indicate how many samples you’d like, and the model, specifications or photos of the product you’re interested in. If there’s a section for remarks, be clear with your instructions.
- Select a good payment method – PayPal, bank or wire transfers, Trade Assurance, Western Union or Letter of Credit? You’ll also need to choose from these common payment methods. Each differ in terms of security. A Cosmo Sourcing article recommends PayPal for samples for it is fast and buyer-friendly, and has verification on the supplier and buyer side. PayPal is also the payment method most ready-made sample suppliers at Global Sources offer. Only hit that “buy sample” button when you’re done with background checks and good with the payment terms.
- Get multiple samples ship in one package – While some may want suppliers to ship the product by themselves, you can arrange it yourself in a way that multiple samples from various suppliers are sent in one package. Sourcing experts at ChinaImportal say that this is a good strategy that can help you trim down delivery cost and time.
- Check and test the samples thoroughly – Compare the received sample with the advertised product. Check beyond appearance if applicable – durability, working time, efficacy and more. Don’t forget the packaging. Shopify reminds buyers in a sampling guide that how the packaging looks may also reflect how your supplier or freight partner will ship large quantities of your future final order.
- Send feedback to supplier – Satisfied with the sample? Then let your supplier know you’re ready for serious business, and that’s the sample where to base your bulk order on. If not, it’s time to move on to a new supplier.
Now that you’ve got the essentials in mind, you’re ready to purchase samples. Find easily the right suppliers and profitable products at the Buy Product Samples page. Start your successful sourcing journey with Global Sources today.