How to Send Export Samples to Foreign Buyers?

In international trade, as the buying and selling parties are often located in different countries, it is common practice to confirm samples before finalizing an order. This confirmation includes aspects such as product color, quality, specifications, dimensions, usage conditions, packaging design, etc. Only after confirming that the samples meet expectations is the order considered confirmed, and a deposit is arranged. Therefore, sending samples is an indispensable step in international trade. In the following discussion, we will explore this topic from several perspectives.

  1. Sample Information Confirmation
  2. Customer Address Confirmation
  3. Sample Information Confirmation
  4. Sample Shipping Company confirmation
  5. Sample cost and shipping cost payment confirmation
  6. Tracking Sample
  7. Sample Delivery

1. Sample Information Confirmation

Before sending the samples, the seller needs to confirm with the buyer the required sample model, specifications, color, size, instructions, packaging requirements, sample fees, and the payment method for international shipping fees. If necessary, communication and confirmation can be facilitated through product photos and videos, and it is advisable to document these discussions via email for record-keeping.

Sampling principles:
– The samples should be representative, from the mass production of the products.
– Ensure that the quality of the samples to be sent strictly complies with customer requirements.
– Make sample labels.
– Include printed email correspondence records with the buyer in the packaging, making it easy for the customer to identify the supplier.
– Sellers should also retain samples and related production batch information for future verification.
– Whether specific marks need to be affixed to the outer box, such as “ATTN: Buyer’s Name,” should be confirmed with the customer in advance.

2. Customer Address Confirmation

It is necessary to confirm the sample delivery address with the customer first, including the postal code / ZIP code. Upon receiving the address, it is advisable to verify the customer’s location on Google Maps first to avoid any discrepancies or omissions in words or addresses. If the company address and the sample delivery address do not match, a misdelivery could significantly impact business opportunities for the seller.

3. Sample Information Confirmation

In international trade, when sending samples across borders, it is usually necessary to use international express services. In this case, the buyer is importing the samples, which involves the sample customs clearance process.
Sample customs clearance requires a packing list and an invoice, as shown in the following figure:

Be sure to add a sentence in the sample invoice:
“Free Sample, no commercial value”

4. Sample Shipping Company Confirmation

In international trade, samples are typically shipped using international express services such as UPS, DHL, FedEx, and EMS. These courier companies offer three shipping methods: sea freight, air freight, and land transport (railway, or truck).

China Post Air Mail:
China Post Air Mail is cost-effective, and the transit time is approximately two weeks (excluding customs inspection in the destination country and domestic postal delivery time). It is suitable for bulk shipments of low-value products and can be processed at local post offices. General goods (non-dangerous goods) can be sent normally. If they are common chemical products, only a general quality certificate (proving that it is non-toxic, harmless, non-explosive, etc.) is required for customs inspection, so that it is easy for the customs to check and verify.
For dangerous chemical products or those suspected to be dangerous (such as titanium dioxide), special certificates and handling are needed. Note: Note: The minimum shipping weight is 2 kilograms, and 20 kilograms is a weight limit unit. If the weight exceeds this limit, additional packaging and charges are required.

Air Shipping:

International EMS: For general chemical products, only the general quality certificate (proving that it is non-toxic, harmless, non-explosive, etc.) needs to be issued so that it is easy for customs to check and verify. If it is dangerous chemicals or suspected dangerous chemicals (e.g. titanium dioxide), special certificates need to be issued, as well as special consignments. Note: There are requirements for weight limit units.

UPS (United Parcel Service) is a leading global courier and logistics service company headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. UPS provides a wide range of services, including express delivery, transportation, logistics, and supply chain management. The company is renowned for its reliable global network and efficient logistics solutions.


FEDEX is a global express transportation and logistics services company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Renowned for its reliable and swift international express services, FedEx is one of the world’s largest courier companies.


DHL is an international logistics and express company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. As one of the world’s leading providers of express and logistics services, DHL operates globally, offering international freight, parcel delivery, supply chain solutions, and comprehensive logistics support to individuals and businesses worldwide.


TNT Express is a global courier and logistics service provider. A subsidiary of TNT, the company is headquartered in the Netherlands. Focused on providing international and domestic express services, TNT Express covers the transport of parcels, documents, and goods.

Before sending samples, it’s advisable to compare shipping prices from various carriers. Consider the timeliness of delivery when selecting an appropriate shipping method. For larger-sized samples like pallets, home appliances, or furniture with a considerable quantity, sea freight is typically used. Smaller-sized samples such as small toys, like ride-on toys, are usually shipped by air freight. In cases where the buyer and seller countries are geographically close, land or rail transportation may be a convenient option.

In China, some cities have international freight agents that have signed cooperation agreements with international courier companies such as UPS, DHL, FedEx, and EMS. These agents often handle larger shipment volumes, securing the best discounts. However, one drawback is that the shipping company’s name needs to be filled in on the documents.
Therefore, if the seller is shipping patented or authorized products under their own company name, it’s advisable to collaborate directly with international courier companies for shipping.

5. The Sample Fee and Shipping Fee Payment Confirmation

Sample fee and Shipping fee are the buyer and seller can not get around the topic.

Shipping payment method for sending samples:
(Freight Prepaid): The sender pays the required postage fees.
(Freight Collect): The recipient pays the required postage fees upon delivery.

The buyer and seller can negotiate this expense according to their own company’s policy and needs. ZHXTOYS samples are usually available free of charge, but shipping costs need to be borne by the buyer. If you need free samples, you can leave your contact information at the bottom of this article, or you can mail us at [email protected].

6. Sample Tracking

After sending out the samples, you can send photos of the samples and their packaging, along with the tracking number, to the customer, reminding them to be attentive to receipt. Additionally, it’s recommended to regularly track this courier tracking number over the next few days. One day before the samples are expected to arrive, promptly inform the customer, and once the samples have arrived, notify the customer accordingly.

7. Sample Delivery

The customer should be promptly notified upon the arrival of the samples, and they should be given a few days to review the samples. It is important to follow up promptly thereafter.

If the samples are confirmed without any issues, small-scale trial orders can proceed. Best wishes for a pleasant collaboration to all parties involved.

With 34 years of dedicated experience in the toy industry, Yiwu Zhihuixing Toys Co., Ltd., (ZHXTOYS) has expanded its business to encompass over 43 countries globally. Our sample sending process adheres to our own Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), ensuring strict compliance.
We also offer complimentary samples. If you require samples from our company or wish for us to procure other samples on your behalf, please contact us by filling out the dialog box below or directly emailing us at [email protected].

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