Module 3 - Choose Your Supplier

3.8 Getting a Sample

Cool, you should now have found your ideal supplier! Let’s order the first batch and start selling! Well…hold it right there. Do you actually know what you are going to sell? Like really KNOW?

No. You don’t. You have only seen images so far, you have never seen the product of your choice with your own eyes, touched it with your own hands, felt it.

Since this is your very first Amazon product, we recommend you get a sample first. This is even more important in case you have asked your supplier to make certain alterations that will make your product stand out from the competition.

For example, if you’re making a better mouse trap by switching out a metal spring for a silicone strap, then you would be inclined to get a sample made to ensure a) the product works as intended and b) the quality is as per the agreed standard. Shipping on samples will differ from the larger order, normally just coming via DHL or the like.

If you get a sample made, check it over and make sure everything is as it should be.

Here are some things to check on your sample:

  • Quality of the manufacturing
  • Logo Printing was acceptable (if you had it tested)
  • Packaging was suitable for the product and it arrived safely
  • Product Differentiation turned out correctly and is as you’d like

Samples can be quite expensive. Your supplier can easily ask for a payment of $40-50 for just one sample, whereas the unit price for an order of 500 units might be only $3. This is to scare off people who are just looking for one cheap product, instead of sampling a product to then go ahead and order a batch.

But the sample can still be free if you’re smart about it: just ask your supplier if he’s ok with deducting the sample payment from the price of your first order, if you decide to actually order your first batch with this suppliers. Most suppliers will be willing to do that.

Exception: in some cases you need not ask for a sample first. A good example is a private labelled supplement. This is an existing, generally ready to ship product. Even if you decide to amend the formula slightly to differentiate yourself, the ingredients are already certified food grade and have been tested by the manufacturer. In this case there really is no need to obtain a sample, unless it is simply for your own perusal. If you don’t need a sample, then it’s almost time to put in your first order with your chosen supplier that met your vetting criteria and margin requirement.
Pro Tip: An alternative to samples getting sent to you overseas, many FBA sellers use quality assurance (QA) assessors. For a fee, you can pay someone to inspect your sample or new stock batch to ensure the quality is as expected. They can also do a site visit to the factory for you, reporting back on the entire manufacturing process including some photos so you can see what it’s like.

If everything looks great, you’re ready to finalize the details on your first order. If not, go back and forth with the supplier, make the necessary changes and you get it right. And if that fails, go to your 2nd supplier choice.

How to Place an Order & Secure Delivery, Next!

Satisfied with your sample? Then the moment has arrived to negotiate the final order price and delivery schedule with your supplier!