Small Test Order should be your mantra if you’re looking at new, untested physical products to sell online as your home-based business. Unless you’re absolutely certain about the marketability of your potential product (and it’s difficult to be at first), you should wade in and not dive in head first. There are ways to research a product beforehand such as Using eBay for Product Research and Using PayPerClick for Product Research. These types of product research methods can give you good indications of how a product line might sell, but they won’t give you any guarantees.
After you’ve conducted your research, you might want to buy the product and try selling it. But maybe you don’t want to buy thousands of dollars worth of product. This is where the small test order comes in. When you’re looking at purchasing a product from a wholesale supplier, start out small. Sometimes, their minimum order is a few hundred dollars or less. In these cases, it’s probably not worth your time trying to whittle it down further.
But some wholesale reps and import agents will want large daunting minimum orders. Don’t be afraid to ask them if you can place a small test order. After all, it might surprise you how often these things are negotiable. Explain to them that you’re interested in their product line, but as part of your sound business practice, you aren’t ready to invest heavily in their product line and would rather start with a small test order. Believe it or not, most of them will bend their rules for you if you approach it professionally and confidently. For them it can be seen as an opportunity to get more orders (and more business) from you in the future.
If they won’t budge, then move on to someone else. It’s important to protect your bottom line by minimizing risk. If the product turns out to be a dud, it’s much better to loose a small amount of money than large dollars on a huge order.