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In a heated market where change is always constant, it is important to remember that you cater to your customers, not to your suppliers.  Subsequently, when it comes to choosing the products you sell, you need to be as informed as possible before committing to larger purchases.

Obtaining product samples from your suppliers should be a priority.  As a retailer, there is too much risk in ordering a product sight unseen.  You as the decision-maker must be certain that a product fits your customers’ needs and that the market will support it.  Thankfully, getting samples to test and analyse can help you make informed decisions.
Conduct Your own Market Research

Most major manufacturers perform their own market research before they release a new product.  However, you cannot always take their word at face value.  After all, your target customer base may be very different than the market segment the manufacturer tasted.

Before ordering a container of the latest widget, you could take the initiative to provide your customer base with free samples of new products. This could act as a litmus test to help you determine if your customer base will be receptive to buying the product. Ask your supplier for a case or two of a new product to give as customer samples. Those few cases could turn into a regular order and is in the best interest of the supplier.

Check Before Buying in Bulk

You may already have a trusted relationship with a supplier, as well as a dependence on a certain product.  What if the manufacturer comes out with a new and improved product line? Will it still serve your customers?

Obtaining a sample of the new products will give you an opportunity to see the potential benefits offered to your customers. If you can determine that a new product line will serve your customers, you can more easily commit to larger orders and make recommendations to your customers.
Compare Brands

Often, a certain type of product is manufactured by many producers. You, as a business owner, must choose which product manufacturer that will supply your needs. Get samples from all the different manufacturers and determine which is best for your business needs. Sometimes business owners find that stocking multiple brands of the same item is healthy for business, but only after evaluating the products in person.

Suppliers and distributors will often give product samples to end buyers, but you will often need to take the initiative.  Taking the time to view and analyze the samples will certainly pay off in dividends to your bottom line in the long run.

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