It happens to every retailer from time to time. No matter how well you try to forecast sales trends and manage your inventory purchasing, you end up with slow selling products that just don’t sell, or an overstock of certain items that you just bought too much of.
This can happen for a variety of reasons. Perhaps an unseasonably cold summer means no one’s in the market for a new bathing suit even though it’s July. A regional economic slowdown or major employer closing its doors can put a damper on sales of nonessential items.
When you’re stuck with slow selling products, merchandise or overstock, don’t give up. Here are six ideas to get those goods moving.
Promote slow selling products and excess merchandise more heavily in your store and your marketing materials. Move it to the front of the store or even to a sidewalk display to attract shoppers in. Use prominent signage to get customers’ attention.
Make sure the merchandise is displayed neatly and is organized – shelves or racks that look like a jumble of castoffs will not attract many shoppers.
This is the obvious tactic to move slow selling products, and one you’ve probably already tried.
However, to get slow selling products and overstock out of your store, you’ll need to do something really special. Try holding a one-day “flash sale” and making it a major event. Send out invitations to your email list and post them on social media, then offer rock-bottom prices that make the merchandise stand out.
Whatever you do, don’t make a habit of letting slow selling products and merchandise sit out at a huge discount for weeks on end every season. If so, shoppers will come to expect this and will “wait you out” to get the deals.
Use It as an Enticement
You can bundle slow selling products with hot sellers — “Get a tank top for $1 when you buy a pair of jeans” — to boost sales of both products. You can even give away overstocked items for free – as free gifts with $X amount of purchase, as part of your customer rewards program or in return for signing up to get your emails.
There are a couple of ways to do this. You could sell products online on eBay or Craigslist, but this can be time consuming as you’ll need to create listings for each item or type of item, take photos and monitor your accounts.
Another option is to set up your own ecommerce site just for overstocked products. This can be a smart way to not only benefit from overstock, but also test the waters of ecommerce in general and help build your brand. If you are concerned that launching an ecommerce site of your own is too complex, setting up an Amazon store for this purpose is an easy way to get started.
Sell It to a Liquidation Company
Liquidation companies buy overstock at a huge discount and resell it. This is basically a last resort effort because you won’t make much (if any) profit.
However, it does enable you to clear out your store and stockroom so you aren’t spending money storing and displaying products that aren’t moving. When choosing a liquidation company, do your due diligence.
Ask other business owners for recommendations. Look at online reviews and ratings; and check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the organization is on the up-and-up.
Give It Away
Consider using your overstock or slow sellers as part of your business’s charitable outreach. For example, a sporting goods store that sponsors children’s sports teams could donate unsold goods to the teams or to a related charity such as an organization promoting children’s fitness.
You can help your chosen charity, boost your image as a socially responsible business and get a tax write-off to boot.
Vintage Radios on Shelves Photo via Shutterstock