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Sourcing Your 1st Amazon Samples

You’re reading the guide that will cover exactly how to source your 1st Amazon product samples. Your samples could come from a range of different countries, such as China, India, Indonesia and the like.

Assumptions to this sample guide

When writing this guide, I’ll assume that you:

  • Are new to Amazon
  • Haven’t ordered samples before
  • Are keen and excited to start the journey
  • Curious about how the whole process works
  • Want a beginner-friendly approach from a mentor

I’ll also assume that you’ve already found the product. You’ve used my previous guide that provide some excellent information on product selection and detailing the ideal customer. From me, you’ll want to find a supplier.

Sources to find sample suppliers

It’s wise to contact 10 different suppliers for your product. Gauge their responses. Some sites to look at include:

  • Alibaba
  • Made-In-China
  • LightInTheBox
  • DHGate (sort of..)
  • China Brands
  • Global Sources Direct

You’ve probably used some of those sites recently too. In addition, trade fairs are excellent for sourcing samples.

Feel free to talk to your Chinese factories in addition to emails and WeChat

Some factories are willing to put your company brand on to samples. Some aren’t willing to do this. I’ve had both, and I’ve still used both types of suppliers. The later will put your logo on the final product, provided you order more than 500 units. My corporate socks, being very small, could have higher minimum quantities such as 1,000.

Placing the sample order

Once you’ve found your product, and in my example case it was men’s colourful corporate socks, then it’s time to place the order. There’s multiple payment solutions:

  • Paypal (I prefer this)
  • Alibaba Trade Assurance
  • Western Union (be cautious)
  • AliExpress (certainly no logo)
  • Direct bank to bank transfer

The later will incur some transaction fees. Though I do recommend OFX going forward, if you’re serious about building a real online business. I’ve been using OFX for quite a while, and they even give me a US bank account too as part of the free service.

Sample order pricing

When quoting, a factory will quote a single price. In my socks example, I’ll break this down:

  1. The cost to produce the product ($4.60)
  2. The cost to ship it to you for inspection ($45)

My supplier then may just round the cost to $49 flat-fee. These numbers are typically in USD. The supplier is hopeful for a long-term business agreement with you, so I assure you that they’re not trying to make profit on the samples. They’re looking forward towards you placing on-going orders.

Please note that I’ve bought many samples. They range between $40 and $250. If you’re too cheap to pay a sample cost, then you’re too cheap to play the Amazon game. It isn’t a platform or opportunity for cheap people.

Creating an Amazon business is for those who are prepared to invest in themselves. But more importantly, in their samples, their product, brand and the customer experience. Cheap people don’t last long on Amazon.

The sample goes in transit

Waiting for the sample creates feelings of nervousness and excitement. It typically takes 5 to 7 business days, though as I have a UPS corporate account, it’s usually 3 days for me. Door to door. Yes – that quick!

Your sample will go through a range of handling centers, before being delivered.

A faster way to evaluate samples is to ask the manufacturer to take a 2 minute video of it, before they send it to you. This way, if there’s any obvious defects, it can be rectified before sending. That’s an insider tip right there. 🙂

The sample delivery day

Once the magical day has arrived, you’ve got a package on your table. It’s got a bunch of funny looking Chinese characters over it. But you know what’s inside – your sample! This business is starting to look and feel more real now. You’re closer to becoming an Amazon seller.

Here’s what you want to be checking:

  • The materials they’ve used
  • Smells or strange odours in the product
  • Any current defects, or potential future defects
  • How expandable is the product, especially into a range
  • Did the manufacturer actually care about the product’s quality

So let’s use my men’s corporate socks example. I’m sure you’re loving this one!

  • How nice is the material?
  • Is the colours and design sharp & crisp?
  • Do the socks feel good to wear for 9 hours?
  • What smells (if any) are present within the socks?
  • When I wash the socks, how well do they hold up?
  • Are the socks packaged nicely, or do I have to improve packaging?

There’s more factors, depending on the product. Some products are fragile, others are fluffy. Occasionally some are sharp, whilst others are large. Some have a short life-span, whilst others are designed (and expected) to last for years.

Do a full audit of your sample upon its arrival. Take notes, pictures and measurements.

Remember – my target market is the corporate man. He’s in the medium to high range income bracket. He demands a great fitting and stylish product. Especially if he’s paying $15 per pair of socks. That’s USD.

The next step with samples

If you’re happy – great! You’ve probably found a solid manufacturer. Someone that can manufacture for you, hopefully for years to come. Remember guys – this is the long game.

If you’re not happy, then it’s okay. Learn from this sample, this manufacturer and this experience. Realize what went wrong, and what you as an individual didn’t specify.

Remember, it’s typically the Amazon seller making the mistakes, not the Chinese factory. They’re actually pretty good, if you give them specific instructions. Data in, is data out.

I’ve not had any issues with my factories in China, as I invested in my knowledge. I know had to deal with them, and come across as a professional buyer and retailer.

Heading through to the final step

It’s time to go back to that factory, sign some paperwork, and get the ball rolling. In fact, I’ve shared that all in my final guide available right here.

There’s literally no one out there that is providing as much value as I am. I hope you’re enjoying these guides!