This has been a question I’ve asked many times over the last few years as our inventory has been accumulating. I’ve attended many conference sessions and roundtable discussions and have heard some good suggestions. I’ve summarized the best strategies I’ve heard in this post.
Of course, there’s no magic solution and the method depends on how quick you need to get rid of the product and how valuable each unit is. Obviously if putting the merchandise back into inventory and reselling is an option this is not even an issue you need to think about. For dropshippers and seasonal business this is not an option most of the time though. Below, I’ve listed my top strategies from most time consuming to least, the more time you put in, the more you’ll make on the liquidation.
- Return it to the manufacturer. This is typically your best option even if they stick you with a fee. Still you’ll usually get more from the supplier than anywhere else. Many suppliers simply don’t accept returns though so this is not always an option. When it is, it still takes a lot of negotiating and if it’s a common request you make you may wear out your welcome.
- Create a scratch & dent/open box section of your website. This is the method we use. It’s time consuming but you typically get the most money per item. Over time you can lower the price in increments until it sells. This method also requires you to sit on these items indefinitely though, so if you need cash fast it may not be the best route.
- Sell it on Ebay/Amazon/Craigslist. This won’t require curating a whole new section of your website, but you’ll be competing with the world out there so your prices will need to be as low as anyone else. You are exposed to more traffic this way though so the sale should occur sooner.
- Sell it as a wholesale lot on Ebay/Amazon/Craigslist/Liquidation.com. Let someone else take the time to sell it one by one. You’ll have to sell it at a rate that enables someone else to make a profit, but you won’t have to spend nearly as much time dealing with it.
- Sell it to a liquidator. You can always find a liquidator that will buy whatever it is you’re selling in bulk. These guys are pros though so they will only buy it if it’s a complete steal for them. This should truly be one of your last resorts.
- Donate it to charity. If you can’t seem to get anything for it you can always donate the items and write off the tax value. You’ll be helping out a charity and it won’t be a total loss.
There’s rarely a valid reason to throw product away entirely. You can usually get something for it. The only reason that comes to mind is if the sale of an item that is no longer legal. For instance, we have received drop-side cribs that are now outlawed. So if all else fails, you can always have a bonfire!