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Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the Amazon FBA beginners course, episode number three, how to get the product samples. If you have watched episode number one and two, I bet you have realized something. The contents in this step-by-step course are way beyond the beginners because, in each step, I was trying to help you to think like a business person. Amazon FBA is a business model for everyone, but for you to be successful, you have to think like a business person in each step. Otherwise, you are going to make a lot of mistakes, and you are going to waste a lot of money.
In this step, getting samples for amazon fba is sounds so easy and simple, right? Do you want samples? Go get samples. Not so simple, not so easy. This step is one of the most complicated step as part of the product development process. If getting quotes is to validate the product profit, getting the samples is to validate the product design, the functionality and the quality before you commit the purchase order. So this step is very critical and very complicated. I’m going to explain it all in this episode.
By the way, if you are seriously considering getting samples, I applaud you, and I congratulate you because out of this entire pool of people who want to be successful in doing Amazon FBA, guess what? Many of them stay on the paper level. They do a lot of product research. They do a lot of quote analysis, but they never will take this step to commit to getting the samples. There is something magical about this step in getting the samples because it takes psychological commitment to getting a physical sample, and there’s anticipation of your sample is going to arrive to your house. And when you do get your physical samples, there is a lot more creativity coming through, and this signifies the beginning step of your Amazon FBA business journey.
Now, the first and one of the most important questions is, from which supplier should I get my samples? Is that based on whoever gave me the cheapest price or their communication? They seem to be very responsive to me. Before selecting the supplier to get your sum post, think long. Once the sample is approved, you may spend thousands of dollars with this particular supplier. So you need to learn now how to qualify the suppliers, learn to ask questions, and where they are located. Certain region of the country may specialize in doing certain things. How long they have been in business, three years, 20 years? How many people they have in their factory. Is that 20 people or 200 people? What kind of equipment? What kind of certifications?
Well, in the Alibaba sourcing hike video, I teach you step-by-step in how to qualify the suppliers. If you have the QuoteMaster or the Mastermind course, I have made it so simple. You have the good supplier checklist. Learning how to qualify the supplier is the first step in deciding which supplier I should get my sample from because this relationship is going to carry on until the purchase order.
The second question is, how many samples should I get, one or as many as possible? But I cannot afford getting so many samples. I understand. My recommendation is three plus one. Let me explain. The three samples I’m recommending are from your suppliers, three different suppliers, because you need to keep your options open. The product development need to be concurrent with three different suppliers so that eventually, one of them will lead to the purchase order. If you keep only one suppliers in the play, and if things doesn’t work out, you have to start over, you end up wasting a lot of time.
There are a lot of benefits in getting multiple samples from different suppliers. The first one is for you to be able to look at the physical samples side by side, in relationship to their quote. Let’s say if the supplier quote you a very cheap price, and you’re concerned that the quality of that product may not be good. Another supplier quote you a very high price, you wonder how their product quality could be different. Now, you can see side by side of each supplier’s product quality in relation to their price, and you better take notes for the cheap supplier’s low quality product and making sure in the future this is reflected in your inspection checklist.
The other benefit in getting multiple samples, seeing multiple samples’ quality, it is for your negotiation. Once you see the sample quality from three different suppliers, you will know better where you stand on the negotiation. Otherwise, when the supplier says that, “Oh, my price is high because my quality is better,” you will have nothing to say or do about it. Now you know they’re pretty close in quality, now you can use one supplier’s price and negotiate against the other.
That was the three product samples from three different suppliers. What about the plus one? The plus one is your competitor’s product sample. You must get one sample from your competitor’s store, at least one. Wherever you get your product idea from, whether it’s IC, Shopify or Amazon FBA, get one product sample and consider this as your baseline. This is your baseline to beat, and evaluate the three samples from the supplier against this one to see how can you design the samples better, how can you make the function of your product better to beat this plus one product?
Next question, how do I pay for my samples? How do I ship my samples? But most importantly, how do I save some money in getting my samples? Getting samples seems to be so expensive because the shipping costs take the majority of the cost. Sample itself is very cheap. It could be $3, $5 or $10. But when you want to customize something, adding logo, adding different color or changing packaging, that in itself could be very costly. Plus the shipping. Any little thing can cause you a lot of money. So here is what I recommend.
If you are shipping one sample, one customized sample from your supplier, I would recommend you pay through PayPal plus credit card. This gave you the best protection, and DDP one sample directly to your house. If you’re shipping three samples, don’t ship one sample at a time. DDP directly to your house. Consolidate all three samples together, have them send to a freight forwarder in China and pay one shipping cost to send the three samples all together to you.
In my Facebook group, I recommended one, and the only one freight forwarder can help you consolidate the sample shipping that will save you a lot of money. Once you get the product sample, how exciting, what do you do with it? Well, if there’s nothing you could remember from this video, I want you to remember this part. Take a video camera out and start to record how you unpack the product sample. Do not throw away the packaging. How does supplier sent you the product sample reflects their attention to detail. Take a look at the packaging. Is that dirty? Is that scratched? Is that damaged? Packaging inspection is part of this entire quality inspection process. Do not throw away the packaging and rush over to the sample. You don’t know which supplier has which box. Okay?
Once you have each sample unpacked, put the packaging in front of the product, and now you can inspect your product side by side. What to inspect? Fit, form and function. Obviously you’re looking at the appearance. You’re looking at the function and how each component fit into each other. If you don’t know how to inspect a product, if you have SourcingWarrior’s Mastermind, you have the entire checklist of the product inspection. Every possible question has been thought up. So you should get the product inspection checklist when you inspect your samples. This is your revision. Number one inspection checklist. By the time you are ready to issue your purchase order, perhaps you go through rev two, rev three, rev five, then you are finally comfortable issuing purchase orders, specify what quality you want. But they all start from the product sample inspection.
After the sample inspection was next, how do you move forward? Well, there’s two paths in the next step. The first one is if your product is highly customized, there’s a lot of special, unique ideas in your design, the first thing you need to do before you share your design ideas with any of the supplier you get the samples from, first ask the supplier to sign the NNN agreement, non-disclosure, non-compete, non-circumvention agreement. This agreement needs to be in place first before you share your design ideas with the supplier. What if the supplier refused to sign it? Then don’t do business with them. Pick the supplier who’s willing to show that they’re honest and they have the integrity to work with you, to not steal your design ideas. That’s when you have a customized product idea.
If your product is not that special, it’s not that customized, then what you need to do after the sample inspection is to pursue negotiation, continue to negotiate the price, and continue to improve on the product quality. Everything you negotiated right now before the purchase order is profit.
Did you learn something from this episode in getting product samples? I’m pretty sure you did. Do you have more questions? If you do have more questions, feel free to leave your questions in the comments field. I would love to answer your questions. It’s a beautiful thing that you are learning. You are growing. Isn’t it beautiful? I hope you enjoy my content, and I also hope you join my Mastermind course so I can mentor you in the elite Facebook group. That’s where you can learn this business systematically. You’re going to save a lot of time. I hope to see you in the next episode. In the next episode, we’re going to talk about how to issue purchase orders. It’s a big deal because big money is going to be spent. See you next time.