Chapter 26 – Ordering Samples

When you become confident the supplier you are talking to is one you want to consider for your purchase order, don’t hesitate to order your samples at the Trade Fair.

Order Multiple Samples

Do not make the mistake of ordering only one sample per product/color because you need reference samples for several purposes.

  • Samples for your showroom
  • Samples for lab approvals
  • Samples for photo shooting and gift box preparation
  • Samples for your inspection company
  • Samples for sales managers to show customers

Samples are usually not free of charge, which is understandable because they are handmade and very labor intensive. Even if they are simple plastic products, the factory has to follow your instructions and inject them with a specific color that is very time consuming. The plastic injection machines are usually running at full capacity and only one color at a time can be injected.

If you ask the factory for several different color samples, they can only make them when they have a production run in your requested color.

Since factories are reluctant to provide samples free of charge to new customers, you have to negotiate for a refund of the sample charges after you reach a certain order volume.

In addition to the sample charges, you will be asked to pay the freight charges for the sample delivery. This could be an even higher cost because samples are usually sent by special courier in order to meet your lead time requirement. Factories don’t want to pay these charges and it is often difficult to convince them to do so. If they do so, it is usually only after establishing a long and successful business relationship. That is not much help to you at this point because you are just starting to do business with them.

If you need the samples urgently and that is often the case, you are better advised to look for a compromise, otherwise you may lose the competitive edge in your home market.

Samples in Your Own Packaging

When asking for samples you must also ask the factory for the packing details based on your packaging concept. Packing details means how many pieces can fit into one 20’ or 40’ container. How many sales packagings fit into one export carton and if needed, how many inner cartons fit into one export carton.

You will need this information to calculate the freight cost. It may be necessary to change the sales packing size in order to fit more pieces into one container and save substantial freight charges.

For instance, it makes a big difference if you can pack 1,400 pieces of coffeemakers in a 40’ container instead of only 1,200 pieces. The difference will certainly affect the selling price in your home country.

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