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How I Utilized my Product Sample – Part 6

Today I am bringing you the 6th update in my Amazon FBA case study in which I will be covering how I best utilized my product sample. Before we get into the update, make sure that you are all caught up on the previous updates and you can also read the next updates if you would like.

In the last update, I talked about the details regarding my first order and today we are going to take a step back and discuss samples. Please understand that I have not actually placed my order yet and all of the calculations of costs for my first order were based off of what my supplier told me.

I have been waiting for my samples to arrive so that I could confirm that the product itself was of high quality before I placed my first order. Now that I have done that, I will be placing my first order very soon.

Alright, lets get going in the newest update!

Background Info about my Sample

I placed an order for my sample with my supplier on May 12th and it arrived 3 weeks later on June 2nd. From what I have read, it usually does not take that long for a sample to arrive but nonetheless it finally arrived.

There are a couple of reasons for this delay:

One reason for the delay was because I made some customizations to their original product to make it better, this in turn took them an extra 7 days to make the sample. What I mean by this was that my supplier already made my product, but I wanted to to change some things about it.

That was one of the main reason for the delay of 3 weeks.

Another reason why it was delayed was because my supplier asked for my DHL express account, which I didn’t have. I spent the next week or so trying to get one and that process took FOREVER. The agent working for DHL took days to respond to my emails and it was a very slow process.

After about a week and a half of trying to get an express account with DHL, my supplier said that I could pay them directly through Paypal for the samples. I ended up using Paypal instead of creating a DHL express account. 

Both of these things added to the delay of 3 weeks for my samples, it wasn’t anyone fault and I am not mad about it taking this long. I am just glad I finally got them!

Number of Samples Ordered

I asked my supplier to ship 3 samples of my product to me at once.

Why 3?

I decided to go with 3 samples because I ordered two different color variations and I wanted to have a couple to work with for various reasons.

I also wanted to look at how each one of the samples was packaged into the shipping box to make sure it would be appropriate once I start selling them.

For example, if the product was just thrown into the shipping box without any padding for all three of the samples then I could assume that is how they are going to do it for all of the products. 

If I would have ordered just one unit and the packaging was bad, I wouldn’t know if they just messed up on this one item or if they would all be like that too. That is also why I went with 3 samples, so I can get a good idea of how each one of the products will look when the customer receives it.

Cost of the Samples

Like I said, I ordered 3 samples and the they were a customized version of a product that they already made in their factory. 

The fact that it was custom made increased the price of the samples but I was fine with that. I think it is important to have a superior product over your competition.

Overall it cost me $450 for the creation and shipping of my samples to my house. Below is a breakdown of the costs.

  • $300 to make the samples with my customizations
  • $150 for the shipping fees

$450 is quite a bit of money to spend on samples but here is my logic:

I would rather spend(and possibly be out) $450 if the products were complete crap instead of making my first order for a couple grand and then figuring out my products sucked.

It just made the most sense to me. It also could have been cheaper if I only ordered one sample but I wanted three so I could use them for various things and I wanted to see the different color variations.

That is the basic background information on my samples, now in the next section I will be going over some of the ways that I best utilized my samples to get the most use out of them.

7 Ways to Best Utilize Samples

The main objective for ordering samples is to check the quality of the product yourself and to make sure that it is something that you want to sell.

Aside from doing that, there are some other useful things that you can do with your samples to get your money’s worth. Below I will be talking about some of the different ways to best utilize samples.

1. Take Pictures for your Listing

The pictures that your supplier gives to you are not of high quality and they aren’t the best representation of your product. When people view your product listing one of the biggest things they look for are the images of the product.

Most customers base their purchases off of what the pictures look like, so it is important to have the best pictures possible. Unfortunately, that usually means taking your own pictures of your product and not using your suppliers images.

I will be trying to take the pictures of my product myself, well actually my girlfriend is going to take them. I am not going to pay a professional photographer to take them because I think taking pictures of my product is fairly straightforward. 

My girlfriend has a very nice camera that takes high quality pictures and she is a talented photographer. I am going to be using the tips that Bradley Evans gave over at to help me out.

His tips, along with my girlfriends photography skills and high quality camera, I think the images will turn out great.

In the case that I do need to hire a professional photographer to take the pictures, I will be glad that I ordered 3 samples so that I can send one away and still have a couple leftover to work with!

2. Makes sure the Packaging Looks Good

The packaging for the product can look a lot different from what the pictures your supplier sends you compared to how it actually looks in person. Or in my case, I had no idea what was on the packaging!

Before we go any further, I want to make sure that we are all on the same page when I say “packaging”. The packaging that I am referring to is the material that is around/enclosing the product when it is in the shipping package. 

For example, let’s say you ordered an Iphone case. The case itself would be inside of some sort of packaging which would be inside of the shipping package. Kind of like a box within a box.

I am hoping that I didn’t confuse you even more and that we are on the same page now!

The packaging that was used for my samples was very generic and had the brand name and website for a random company on it. I didn’t even know I could put my website/brand onto the packaging.

So what I did was emailed my supplier and asked them if they would be willing to add my brand and website to the packaging. I also asked for some small cosmetic changes to make it look more appealing. 

I would have never of realized this info unless I ordered samples so I am glad I did. Not only do I get to make my packaging look better, I also get to advertise my website where they will hopefully visit and make more purchases. 

3. Get Feedback from Friends/Family

One of the best things to do with your sample is get opinions about your product from other people. As the owners of the product, we can get a little bias and it is good to see what other people think of it.

A good idea is to let them use the sample for a couple of days and then let them give you constructive feedback. 

Maybe there is a tiny thing wrong with the sample that you never noticed but your friend was able to pick up on. It is always good to get as much feedback as possible before you place an order.

I am doing this exact thing with my samples. I mentioned in previous updates that my product is in the pet niche and I gave two of my samples away to some friends that had pets.

I am going to let them use the product for about a week and see what they think about the item. I am also going to make sure that the product itself does the job it was intended to do.

Getting feedback like this from outside sources is a great thing to do to validate that your product is good and that people will like it. I highly suggest that you do this with your samples.

4. Use it for Marketing Strategies

I am not going to go into great detail about the marketing strategies that I have planned because I will have a whole update dedicated to that. I just want to touch on this briefly.

I already mentioned that I was going to take pictures of my sample and I will use these images for things such as my website, Facebook page and Slideshare. All of these are places where I can market my product.

Another thing that I am going to do is make a video talking about my product and I am going to use my sample within the video for demonstration purposes. A video is a great way to get targeted buyers to your listing and help you gain more customers. I will be talking more about this later.

5. Put it through the Ringer

What I mean by this is to test the durability of the product and push the product to its limits. You don’t want a product that can’t handle some wear and tear.

If your product is advertised as dishwasher safe, put it in the dishwasher a couple of times and make sure it can handle it.

If it is waterproof, make sure that it actually is. 

If the product is washer/dryer safe, do a couple of loads of laundry with it.

Make sure that the product is going to work as advertised because if it doesn’t, you will get bad reviews. 

You almost want to try and break your product. Think of all of the uses for the product and then do those to the extreme. Really test the product out. 

6. Double Check Product Specifications

A good idea is to double check all of your supplier given info about the product. If they say the product is 10in x 20in and weighs 4 pounds, confirm this data.

Get out the tape measure and scale and confirm this data for yourself. Like I said above, if you advertise a product as something you better make sure that it will be exactly as advertised. 

7. Test the Heck out of the Sample

I can’t stress this enough. Do anything you can to test the product and make sure that is something that you want to sell and invest thousands of dollars into.

You are taking a big risk when you place your first order so making sure that it is a product that is worth selling is important.


I really, really cool thing to do with your samples is use them to calculate the exact fees that Amazon will take from each one of your sales. I know I talked about estimating your fees in the previous update but this is different.

By following the strategy you will be able to see the exact amount, to the penny, that Amazon will take from each and every one of your sales. This is SO important because you need to know your profit margins.

To get this bonus tip, download a how-to guide that I put together below

Quick Case Study Update

Before this post comes to an end, I want to update you all on where I am currently at in the process.

As you know, I have ordered and received my samples so far. Right now I am testing and doing all of the things that I mentioned above with my samples.

I will be doing those things for another week or so and ironing out some final things with my packaging. After that I will be placing my first order of 1,000 units sometime next week hopefully.

The next couple of updates will be covering FNSKU/UPC labels, freight forwarders and FBA inspection companies. I am doing my best to try and have the updates coincide with the things that I am actually going through.


Thank you all for reading the 6th update in the case study! 

I have gotten a lot of questions regarding samples so I wanted to write this article to explain some of the best ways to get the most use out of your samples.

I am very pleased with how my product turned out, my samples looked awesome! Aside from a few small things, I am very close to ordering my first 1,000 units. Once I place that order, game on! 

I am very excited to start selling on Amazon and testing out different marketing strategies. I feel like that is my strong suit and something that I will have a lot of fun doing and talking about with you all.

I want to thank each and every one of you who read my updates and visit my site, without you guys this whole thing would be pointless. 

If this is the first time reading my site and updates, then make sure to sign up below to get all of the new updates to my case study emailed to your inbox. Also, if you are interested in selling on Amazon you can join our Facebook group where you can talk with a ton of like minded people that will help you succeed on Amazon.




Thanks Josh. Another great post!


Thank you James!


Josh, I’m assuming you also had the private labeling applied to your samples. Is this included in the $300 cost of the samples and what service did you use for the branding?


Hey Joel,

Yes, my brand was on the product and on the packaging for my samples. I had my logo designed from Elance for $20 and sent it to my supplier. From there, my supplier applied my logo and branding to the product and packaging for no extra cost.



Hi Josh

Great post along with the other ones so far. Look forward to seeing how things progress.



Hi Leigh,

Thank you for the comment and I am happy to see that you are finding my posts useful!



Hi Josh, thanks for the great post.

I am a newbie, may I know when getting supplier to print logo and brand name onto your product, what are detail items we need to provide to the supplier, such as what format of the Logo drawing need to provide etc.

Many thanks


Hello there,

You should provide the logo in a .pdf format to your supplier and they will do the rest!



thanks Josh.

I thought they need vector based format?



Some may, however my supplier asked for .pdf


In the “Double Check Product Specifications”, did you measure and weigh the actual product or did you measure and weigh the packaging? For example, a cell phone case will be slightly bigger than an iPhone but in it’s blister/plastic packaging, it can be 2x the size.


$450 to get $15 worth of product 🙂


So Josh, does your supplier get printed adhesive labels, or print onto the packaging and the product?


Hi Josh,

thank you again for the info!

Just wonder why the shipping was so high for the sample? because they used aircraft?



Yup, it was shipped via air and I had to pay for a custom template for my product which was a large expense as well


Ola Mustafa

I have to say that I am really enjoying those posts, sharing your experience is highly adorable and appreciated.. THANKS 🙂

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