Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. We’ve all heard this old adage.
But if you’re an importer of products, whether they be from China or elsewhere, here’s a variation that you need to hear more often: Don’t buy it until you’ve tried it.
And by “tried it”, we mean product samples.
In an interview with Global Sources, John Niggl of InTouch Manufacturing Services warned that buyers who skip the product sampling stage do so at their own peril. “The benefit that comes from being able to ‘try before you buy’ – review and approve a sample before committing to an order – is simply too great.”
A quick search online yields tons of sourcing best practices articles about product samples and how buying them is a must in the sourcing process.
Or as how Will Mitchell put it in his Startup Bros article, “Don’t buy in bulk from a factory until you have their samples in your hands and LOVE them.”
How does one fall in love with samples? By testing them, of course. That’s what samples are for, in the first place.
Mitchell emphasized this in his article and pushed for thorough examination, advising importers to check “every last nook and cranny” and putting products through the figurative wringer.
A Shopify buying guide, meanwhile, said buying product samples is one of the “smartest moves fledging retailers can make.”
And both articles have a very valid point. A lot is riding on the quality of the products you sell. You wouldn’t want to stake your reputation on a lemon, would you?
Product samples are also a great way to vet and verify suppliers. This is highlighted by Sourcing Bro in its guide to importing from China and echoed by Fredrik Gronkvist here. Gronkvist said suppliers that do refuse to send samples normally have something to hide and advised not doing any business with such companies.
InTouch’s Niggl, meanwhile, said product samples help buyers gauge if a potential supplier can meet their product expectations. “It’s one thing to browse a supplier’s product listing page and view specifications and photos online,” he added. “It’s another thing altogether to hold a physical sample in your hands.”
Buying product samples made easy
Admittedly, buying product samples is not as easy as, say, you picking out a couple of shirts in a clothing store to try on in the fitting room. Gronkvist’s handy guide will show you just how time-consuming buying product samples from China could be.
Global Sources has curated carefully products with instant samples and compiled them in an easy-to-navigate page.
Don’t want to browse by category? Search via product keywords or even supplier name. The latter is useful if you want to check if a regular partner-supplier has product samples available for instant purchase.
You will also find clear product photos with descriptions. The “View Product” button will yield more product photos and details, including the product sample price. And there’s no need to compute delivery cost as the sample price already includes shipping charges.
Keep an eye out for these three words: Buy Sample Now. One click will bring you to a secure easy-to-fill order form so you can purchase the samples quickly.
Why not start your sourcing journey now? Here’s a selection of products with ready samples from verified Global Sources suppliers: