If you’re looking to build a business based on quality products and strong supplier relationships, samples should be an essential part of your import strategy. Product samples allow you to get a feel for the merchandise before investing in a larger order. You’ll receive a small quantity, usually 1-10 units, of the product you intend to order to test the product before committing to a contract. I


What is the benefit of ordering product samples and how do you go about doing so?


Why order product samples?


Whenever you’re ordering a new product, you want to ensure the quality is up to standard. Samples are like trying on a pair of shoes before purchasing. You have to make sure the fit, feel, color, and look will work with your needs.


Samples allow you to ensure the product is exactly what you want to offer to your customers.


Samples can also help maintain the quality of your product, even if you’ve ordered that product before. This is especially important if you are unable to perform frequent factory inspections. Samples can function as a quality audit to ensure your factory is maintaining the quality standards set out in your contract.


This type of quality check—before ordering and amidst a contract—is equally important for all suppliers, no matter your relationship with them or their experience in the business. If you are ordering a product, you want it to fit your needs. The product could come from the best supplier in the world but still look a slightly different color in person than you want to offer. It may not hold up the way you expect. It may not fit the way your audience would wear it.


Product samples are not a measure of your supplier. They are a measure of the product in terms of your brand’s goals and consumer. You should never feel as though requesting samples means you are implying that you don’t trust the supplier. In fact, the best suppliers will insist you approve a sample first because they want to provide you with the best product and superior service.


A major hesitancy for many importers is the cost of a product sample. Often, factories will charge a higher price per unit for samples because they have to hold a production run of your product. This is usually not cost effective for them unless they are producing that product for another company as well. You have to expect that samples will be more expensive than the expected cost of your product when purchased at the minimum order quantity.


Nine times out of ten, product sampling is worth the small investment. You are only paying a premium for a few units—not an entire run. It’s better to pay the money to ensure the product is perfect and meets your specifications before ordering an entire MOQ volume.


Samples allow you to do your due diligence before making a large investment and committing a product to your portfolio.


How do you order samples?


After you’ve selected a product and chosen a trusted supplier, you’ll want to request samples immediately. Don’t waste time drawing up an extensive contract or negotiating long-term solutions until you’ve approved the product. This could end up being a waste of time and money.


A possible sample production process might be:


  1. Select a product with your supplier.
  2. Request a specific number of samples of that product. Include various specifications like color, feel, weight, and sizes.
  3. Pay the factory for the production run of those samples. There is no “typical price” for samples because it depends on the product and quality. Talk to a consultant with Ask Idea Sourcing for more information. Some companies will reimburse this sample cost if you make an order with them.
  4. The samples are shipped overseas to your home or business.
  5. You will test the product yourself. Consider the color, feel, fit, weight, size, quality, and details. The sample is your property, so you can try out the product in your own life. Use the product in the way your consumers would in order to get a good idea of usability and brand relevance.
  6. If approved, continue with negotiations with the supplier.
  7. If not, discuss your concerns with your supplier or find a new factory.


It’s often recommended to have a middleman like Ask Idea Sourcing to help you with this process to ensure you are making strong decisions for your brand.


If you aren’t pleased with your samples, Ask Idea Sourcing works with you to understand and fix your concerns. We work with your chosen supplier to come up with a new product that better suits your needs, or we will find other suppliers that may offer different product types.


We will ensure that every product you order matches with your brand, consumer, and portfolio. We guarantee a perfect fit every time.


Learn more about the Ask Idea Sourcing sampling services here.

Request a quote now if you’re ready to find, sample, and import the perfect product for your business.

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