How to Liquidate Your Surplus Inventory
It happens to every retail business owner: You buy too much stock of a certain type of merchandise, and then a newer, better model comes out. Or, maybe it’s just not selling as fast as you’d like, and you’re running out of shelf space for new products. Whatever the case may be, you need to liquidate your surplus inventory — fast. Here are some ways to do just that.
Slash prices. The obvious answer, sure. Have some extra Christmas decorations lingering around after New Year’s? Unless you want to sit on the product until next year, cut the prices to entice bargain-hunters. Depending on your profit margins, you may want to discount your products by anywhere from 25 to 75 percent, or offer a “buy one, get one free” deal to make the promotion look attractive. Group marked-down items together for better in-store promotion. And don’t wait for customers to come in to take advantage of the special offer: Market your end-of-season sale heavily on your business’ website, Facebook page, email newsletters, and other marketing vehicles.
Change your display. Smart shoppers have become trained to flock to the clearance racks at the back of the store, so be sure to build a large display to showcase all of your discounted merchandise. You may also want to place a number of “bargain bins” throughout the store, so you’ll be able to pick up some impulse buyers as well.
Turn your unwanted inventory into a “gift with purchase.” If your unwanted inventory could be useful to the majority of your customers, consider offering the surplus product as a free gift for customers who spend more than a certain amount in your store.
Use an online marketplace. Online marketplaces, including Ebay and Amazon, provide an ideal way to sell excess merchandise fast. You can either use an auction model, in which you can set the lowest price that you’re willing to accept for the item, or use a set pricing structure. If you’re using a set price, be sure to research what other sellers are charging for the same product: Online marketplaces offer access to a broad network of customers, but have much heavier competition than selling locally. It can take some time to market your products online, so consider asking an assistant or intern to photograph the items and list them on your sites of choice. If you don’t want to do the work in-house, consider using an online auction service company to handle your sales; however, you’re likely to lose a substantial amount in commission fees.
Sell your excess merchandise to a liquidation company. If you have a lot of extra stock that you want to move as quickly as possible with minimal effort, a liquidation company might be your best bet. You may lose out on some potential profits, but you’ll be able to clear the space quickly and receive cash immediately. Particularly if your brand is high-end, you may want to use this method to avoid damaging your brand name by offering deep discounts.
Do you have any other tips for liquidating your excess inventory? Share them in the comments.
Kathryn Hawkins is a business writer for Intuit and is passionate about solving small business problems.