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What is the ideal quantity for sample orders?


toph
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14 Nov 10 09:59:47 am
Hi Guys,

I think I may have come across a niche worth pursuing a little further. This will me my first time selling a product other then stuff from around the house on eBay.

I have been in contact with a supplier to get MOQ and prices. They have also agreed to send sample products and asked how many pieces I wanted. So, so far so good. My question is, what would be an appropriate number of pieces. Ideally, I would like to keep it below 1000 AUD to keep below import taxes, but would also like as many as I can to better 'test'the market and also not have the supplier think I am wasting their time. For may particular case, that would be 100 pieces as a sample. Would this be appropriate or is it considered too much for a 'sample'

Thanks in advance.


irene_salehoo
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14 Nov 10 10:20:09 pm
Hi Toph,

It would be nice to know what product we are looking at. It also depends on what the supplier meant by 'sample'. Should you wish to discuss this in private you may send us a message at support@salehoo.com, or send any one of us a private message (click on our profile name).

Welcome to SaleHoo! :)


Irene

richelle_salehoo1
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14 Nov 10 10:53:26 pm
Welcome to SaleHoo Toph,

Maybe I'm just not that aggressive but I think 100 samples might be a wee bit plenty seeing that you are just about to start selling this niche product.

I understand that you must have done your research, enough to consider moving further and ordering in bulk. But have you ever sold something like this? And what if it doesn't sell as projected?

Personally, I would start with 10-20 pieces and see how it goes from there. Hopefully your supplier will allow you to order samples lesser than a hundred pieces.

Hope this helps :)


Richelle

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fudjj
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14 Nov 10 11:15:38 pm
Hi Toph and welcome to SaleHoo.

I certainly agree with Richelle on the purchasing volume to kick it off. It does sound like you have done a certain level or research that has identified a possible niche avenue, however the research isn't over once you start marketing the product, it just moves to a completely new phase of research, the test marketing phase.

Now of course not dropping a big order on the supplier straight up may not get you the best price, but talk with the supplier and explain the situation to them and where you hope business will lead.

Suppliers are in business to make money as well and the only way they do that is to move stock. If they know you're genuine and you are interested in building a relationship with them as a supplier, they can bend over backwards to get your business straight off the bat.

As Richelle said, bring your volume down to a point where you feel it is enough to give you accurate test data, but won't leave you holding boxes of stock that you can't shift at margin.

Talking of samples, have you asked the supplier for a test sample for yourself, one or two free ones so you can test the quality and service of the supplier before you decide to spend any money with them?


Mark (fudjj)

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userexists
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15 Nov 10 01:45:42 am
I think it's been quite some time since suppliers would let you have a free sample. What usually happens in my experience is that they will sell you one piece at retail price and then if you go ahead and order in bulk, they will deduct the cost of the sample against your total invoice. It's the only way they could stop freeloaders from ordering samples from dozens of different suppliers and then selling the samples for profit. ( It happens).


Difficult I can do right away. Impossible takes a little longer

toph
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15 Nov 10 02:35:24 am
Thanks for your replies everyone....

Richelle, just to clarify, when I stated 100 peices, that was not for my own use but to see how well they will sell before I buy in bigger lots. The MOQ is 2000 from this supplier. If you think 10-20 peices will be enough for accurate testing, then I will follow your advice as this is my first time dealing with a supplier.

Fudjj, I havent asked for a free sample (worth a try I suppose) but Im with userexists on this one, I reckon it wont be likely.

Thanks again for your opinions :)


toph
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15 Nov 10 02:39:44 am
And way off topic, but how can I EDIT my post (spelling) once submitted without it starting a whole new thread ??


irene_salehoo
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15 Nov 10 05:01:35 am
Hi Toph,

Sorry for the inconvenience. We've been dealing with this minor glitch a few days since the website revamp and rest assured that our technical team is looking into putting things back to normal. What we do is to copy the post that we need to edit, delete the post we have done and make a new reply (paste the body we have done), and edit before clicking post. Again sorry for the trouble.

:)


Irene

fudjj
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15 Nov 10 08:35:49 am
Fudjj, I havent asked for a free sample (worth a try I suppose) but Im with userexists on this one, I reckon it wont be likely.

Thanks again for your opinions :)


The better you explain your business plan to any supplier and start to build that relationship right from the very start, the better the chances are that they will help you as much as possible because they will see the long term benefit of getting you on board.

I'm not going to say what it was or whom I sourced it through, but I arranged for a free product sample just on 6 weeks ago now, and the product itself retails for $699.99.

Took me three days of open communication with three different people lol, but I worked on building a relationship, showed them a clear path as to how we could benefit their business through specific parts of our business plan, and I not only had a company rep call out to see me in person, he hand delivered my free sample unit, with an offer for further assistance where at all possible if required.

OK, that's a lot different to dealing with your average eBay stock supplier perhaps, but I have no idea what your product is. Bottom line for me is business is business. Show them you're not wasting their time and you can be a benefit to their business and you may well be surprised just how far a company can go to get you on board!


Mark (fudjj)

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fm1234
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16 Nov 10 05:52:40 am
Testing sales potential through sample orders can be difficult. Most of the sample orders I've done are for checking out the supplier's order process, customer service, and accuracy in reporting the condition of the items sold (since I mainly deal in aftermarket/overstock stuff and small dollar imports, it's important to verify that a given new supplier is reliable and truthful.) Trying to run a sales test based on x units of a given product is a difficult proposition, because so many different factors can affect sales from different weeks/months, from different venues (online and offline) etc.

If you can afford the 2,000 piece order, chances are you can afford to take a loss on it, and that a marginal loss will not cost much more than the high price and attendant costs of a market test -- ie. if 2,000 units costs you $20,000 , ask yourself if you can possibly move them for 90% of wholesale in a pinch. If so, then you spent $2,000 -- less if you had any retail sales -- and it didn't work out great, but you made a good supply connection, and possibly some good buyer connections as well (eg. other people who want to sell that item but can't swing for 2,000 MOQ, so they buy 400 from you.) That $2,000 or less that netted you a supplier relationship, some possible buyer contacts, and "physical experience" with the product is not too much more expensive than your proposed 100 piece order at $10 each plus shipping, sales/storage costs etc. and if it flies and you find you have a winner, you've skipped over the waiting period that the sample order would otherwise impose on you.

I don't generally advocate being cavalier with one's money, but I do think that sometimes people let themselves get scared by "big numbers," or worse, trapped in small numbers, because they justify numerous perceived low-risk expenditures based on small price tags without noticing that they are gradually spending themselves out of business. A low nominal cost in terms of dollars-for-merchandise must be combined with the price of the irreplaceable time, energy and focus that have to be spent moving all those test items before its true cost can be calculated.


Just my $0.02 (or at least, a $0.01 sample of same.)

Frank


"Failure is not when you fall down. Failure is when you don't get back up."

--J.J. Luna

 

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