The best way to see if a Chinese manufacturer is a good match for your company is to request a product sample. A sample product is meant to represent the appearance, function, and quality of the supplier’s final product if it begins production. A sample can put buyers at ease since they can be more confident about what the product will look like before they place a larger order. Depending on the type of product you need, it can take weeks or several months to receive a sample that makes you happy. Every manufacturer will not be able to meet your needs or requirements, so it is important for you to contact multiple suppliers at once and ask for samples from more than one manufacturer so you can compare and contrast them. There are many different types of product samples you can request from suppliers. Here’s how to choose which one is the best one for you.
The Different Types of Product Samples
1. Manufacturer Samples
Do you want to see samples of the factory’s product quality? If so, a factory or manufacturer sample should do the job. A manufacturer sample can really help you when you are trying to vet different companies. This kind of sample can prove that their facility has the tools to produce a great product. However, it is important to remember that an amazing factory sample does not mean they will have the capacity or equipment to manufacture a customized product line in the future.
There are two types of manufacturer samples: previous batch or production samples and material samples.
Previous Batch or Production Samples
Previous batch or production samples are products that were not manufactured according to a previous customer’s design requirements. The manufacturer may have the product on hand in case another potential client wants to make a product with a similar color or specifications. This type of product sample can be useful if you want to test how a product functions or its quality level.
You will want to request to see some of their material samples if you are starting an apparel line or want to sell any products with cloth. Suppliers can send you swatches, sandwich cards, hanging samples, or another type. Some suppliers do not charge for material samples but you may have to pay for shipping via DHL or another international courier that ships from China to the United States.
2. The Private Label or Prototype Sample
Do you want to customize an existing product but sell it under your own label? Then you should talk with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) manufacturers or other suppliers who can provide a private label or prototype sample. When you order the sample you can immediately tell if the manufacturer can deliver the product according to the specifications you provided. To increase your chances of getting it right the first time, it is important to give your supplier product specifications that are clear and specific before they start to work on the sample. You may have to pay extra for the manufacturer to create a mold, graphic designs, special packaging, and other customizations. Avoid giving the manufacturer the power to decide which materials and components to use since they will be motivated to use the least expensive material to keep costs down. If they make your private label sample correctly, you can be confident that they understand what you are looking for before production begins.
Regardless of what product you want to manufacture, we recommend that you ask for a sample before you place a large production order. When you have the opportunity to see it in person, you can make sure the sample meets your expectations before you make a substantial investment.