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The importance of samples in Print on Demand

Small expense but big stakes for your business.

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There is no magic bullet for building your brand with Print on Demand: if there was, we would have happily shared it with you by now.

The perfect cocktail will have to be discovered through elbow grease, perseverance and, sadly, unsuccessful attempts. Fortunately, some of these can be avoided by taking precautions, such as ordering samples. Have you already considered this option?

Most of the time, the latter is used by designers who want to proudly display the designs they have created or gift them to their family and friends.

We can only agree with them: sampling is simply indispensable to develop your business.

I / Why should you order samples?

Please note that samples are not free, contrary to what many people think (or at least hope): they require the same materials and production time as other printed products, so we can't afford to give them away. However, the investment is minimal compared to what it can do for you and your business. Let's sit down and look at the benefits of ordering samples.

Design your own promotional content

All the statistical data is clear: your sales will increase by at least 50% if you present your samples in your promotional content.

Mock-ups are fun and practical, but not always ideal. We're thinking in particular of "alternative" models, silhouettes that are out of the ordinary, such as T-shirts with rolled sleeves, oversized garments, T-shirt dresses... In these cases, finding mock-ups that accurately represent your product can be a real challenge. The same is sometimes true for more classic, close-fitting silhouettes: the material quality of the products visible on the mock-ups can vary so much from the premium items that you can find in our service that this noticeable difference can be a disservice to your brand.

Sometimes, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself: as a designer, you can be assured that YOU are the most qualified to present your products. So it's a good idea to order samples for a photo shoot or an in-house video shoot. Even if you are not a great photographer or filmmaker, even if your content is not perfect, the authenticity of your visuals can be considered a real advantage. It underlines the fact that you are in possession of your product and immediately makes you more trustworthy in the eyes of your audience.

Leave no room for mystery and take photographs of your product from every angle: worn and unworn for clothing, from the back, its details (labels, seams, close-up of the textile or material, etc.).

You can also afford to innovate, as this is the best way to stand out. Consider, for example:

  • Organising a Giveaway of your product on social networks, usually very effective to increase your visibility;
  • Designing an unboxing video to create immersion for your customers;
  • Inserting your product in a how-to setting to emphasise your role as a legitimate specialist (e.g. if it's a mug, the mug next to the ingredients needed to make the best hot chocolate, or in the case of a t-shirt, your product with the other elements needed to compile THE perfect outfit).

Do you remember the ancestor of social networking, word of mouth? After using your samples to create your promotional content, revive this ancient method by offering your products to your friends and family. They'll be touched by the attention, and you'll give your brand another chance to increase its reach.

Another way to use sampling to promote your product is as a communication tool: as a gift sent to a content creator (such as an influencer, journalist or photographer) in exchange for a publication that is distributed to their audience, or even highlighted by being worn by a model, your product can be in the spotlight without much investment on your part.

Testing the unboxing experience

Ah, unboxing... Just thinking about it gives you butterflies in your stomach. It's usually a moment of euphoria, a crucial step for your customer. Although the packaging usually end up in the bin in just a few minutes and this phase may therefore seem transitory and rather anecdotal, you should not make the mistake of underestimating its power over your consumers.

Receiving a parcel is a key stage in the ordering process for your customers. According to a study conducted in the United States between 2018 and 2019, 98% of respondents said that their experience of delivering and unboxing a package directly affects the loyalty they will be able to devote to a brand.

74% even consider delivery as the first criterion for the quality of a service.

These figures leave no room for doubt: the delivery and the receipt of a parcel are no small matters. As a seller of POD products, you cannot be sure of how your products will reach your customer without sampling, since you do not take care of the packaging of your products.

Ordering samples also means putting yourself in the shoes of your typical customer, testing the entire service and seeing whether the packaging, shipping and delivery services offered by your Print on Demand provider are in line with your brand image and values.

For our part, we offer you the best on the market:

  • Premium packaging, green and guaranteed 100% plastic-free (from adhesive to cushioning)
  • Ultra-fast shipping
  • Your brand logo on the package
  • 100% branded slip

That's it, we're telling you, but it's always better to check for yourself.

Just a reminder: before throwing yourself on your parcel and savagely tearing off its packaging, if you can, get out a camera or your smartphone to make a video of the unboxing of your product. This will cost you nothing and can really strengthen the relationship of trust between you and your audience.

Unboxing videos are attractive, almost addictive: according to a study by Google, 1 in 5 consumers have already watched at least one. It's free AND effective: no excuse to miss out.

Checking the quality of your product

Rest assured: the visuals we make available to you on our platform are as accurate as possible. However, it cannot be denied that a photograph will never have the same substance as a physical product.

A premium product

In order to define which products you wish to associate with your visuals and more generally with your brand, you will probably have to go through the sampling process. Once you have received the product, conduct a thorough quality control, checking in particular

  • The condition of the labels and seams if it's a textile product;
  • How the zip works, especially if it is our cushion cover ;
  • The correct combination of detachable parts of the product if it contains them (like our water bottle, for example);
  • Uniformity of finish (paint, varnish or fabric).

Once again, it's time to put yourself in your consumer's shoes: would they be happy to receive this item as you received it? If so, bingo: you've put your finger on your brand's new ambassador product.

High quality designs

The same goes for the look of your artwork, which may differ from the result you were hoping for. Perhaps some of the details of your designs will not match certain colours, so it is often a good idea to order a sample of one product in a light shade and another in a darker shade, to ensure that there is enough contrast for your design to be visible.

Similarly, ordering samples will help you to determine whether some of your lines are too fine, whether the textures are up to your expectations, whether theemplacement you have chosen for your visual really suits you or whether it needs to be moved, whether the size of the print you have chosen is sufficient or not. Remember to repeat this sample check for each new visual you put online and protect your customers from any unpleasant surprises.

Conducting this quality control is an essential step in your business process, firstly because it will have a positive effect on your reputation, but also because it avoids wasting resources by preventing unnecessary printing of items that will eventually be returned by your customers. POD is initially an eco-responsible business model because of its on-demand production aspect, reducing the need for storage space. It would be a shame to produce items unnecessarily because of an error that could have been simply noticed and then corrected beforehand through a sample order.

The sampling order is not a compulsory step, but it is nevertheless essential in our eyes.

This may seem incongruous to you, given that you are being offered a system where it is not necessary to store your products (or at least to have physical access to them), but the fact is that it is essential for any e-tailer to know his products well in order to sell them effectively; and although sampling requires an investment on your part, we can assure you that this is minimal when compared to the benefits you will feel, both in terms of your reputation and in terms of saving time.

II / How to order samples?

Because we want to do everything we can to help you see your great creations come to life, good news: we're offering you 10% off one sample order per month.

To place your order, nothing could be easier: just follow the procedure below.

First step: Here you are on the homepage of our platform, welcome to you. If you have already created the item you wish to sample, go to the "Create an order" page.

Step 2: Click on the "Choose" button to define which products you wish to receive.

Step 3: Select the product of your choice from the list of your creations and then choose the size of the samples. When it's finished, validate by clicking on "Add product" at the bottom right of the window.

Step 4: Hooray! You can get a 10% discount on your total if your order includes at least two samples. To do this, simply tick the box below your product selection (unless you don't like saving money, of course, or have already used your monthly discount...).

Step 5: Now fill in the fields at the bottom of the page so that your order can find you without any problems: the essential information needed is your first and last name, your address, your e-mail address and your telephone number. Finally, click on "Place order", confirm, and you're done! Easy, isn't it?

Your order should leave our warehouse within 48 hours. And yes, we know: it's exceptionally fast. That's because all the products in our catalogue are already in stock, ready to be printed and shipped with love and efficiency, so you can test and create your promotional content in record time. Life is too short to wait weeks for your package.

Now that you have all the cards in your hand, it's time to get to work. On your marks, get set... Try it out!