Even with the best supply chain management or inventory tracking software, most businesses, at some point or another, have excess, old or undesirable inventory they want or need to get rid of. While companies can use a liquidator to dispose of unwanted inventory, that method typically only nets pennies on the dollar.
So how can merchants dispose of unwanted goods and still make a small profit, or at least break even? Here are the top six strategies for disposing of last season's or excess inventory that can provide a return on the original investment, or at least a tax write-off.
1. Discount the merchandise — and advertise the sale. Whether you are an ecommerce or brick-and-mortar business, your first step to disposing of, or trying to move, old or excess merchandise should be to offer it at a discount — i.e., put it on sale. This is the simplest and typically the most cost effective method of disposing of old or unwanted inventory as chances are you will still make a profit on the item (the original price having been marked up from your cost), break even or just take a small loss.
To alert customers you are having a sale or are running a "special promotion," advertise it on social media (Facebook, Twitter, your company blog) and via your company newsletter, offering loyal customers special discounts or coupons.
2. Try Craigslist. "Businesses often neglect to utilize, at their loss, the free Classifieds website, Craigslist.org," says JR Rodrigues, CEO of online network cable and IT supplies supplier NetCablesPlus.com. Among the many advantages of selling via Craigslist (according to Rodrigues):
1. All listings for the sales of equipment, new or used, are free to post, whereas eBay and Amazon charge per posting.
2. Craigslist also does not charge a commission on sales you make, whereas eBay and Amazon take a commission on every sale.
3. A Craigslist classified ad can be set up and published in 5 minutes.
4. Craigslist is great for attracting local buyers — and not having to worry about shipping.
5. You can insist on a cash-and-carry transaction. So you don't have to worry about credit card or check fraud.
3. Partner with a daily deal site. "If you have consumer goods to liquidate, you might consider a daily deal site, such as Tanga.com, to move excess inventory," says Jeremy Young, CEO, Tanga.com. "Sites like Tanga have access to large mailing lists of budget-minded consumers that shop with them. As such they can move volume of products in virtually any consumer category in larger batches," he explains. "Also, by selling through closeout channels, you can protect the price point on your most current offerings."
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