The spooky ghouls and goblins of Halloween may spend their evenings haunting the living, but several retailers will be up late facing a different kind of spooky nightmare - unsold inventory. Even if the prospect of zombie stock doesn’t scare you now, once the spree of holiday shoppers dies down, your unsold inventory will surely haunt you.
Physical space for stocking inventory is valuable real. Every extra inch matters. Whether your stock is kept in the back office, remote warehouse or even your living room, you want to do everything you can to keep it all moving. Stagnant inventory can not only cause a backup in your operations, it can also cause your cash flow to slow to a trickle.
If you feel like you’re drowning in inventory, you’re not alone. Anticipating the perfect purchasing plan is tough and selling old or extra inventory can seem like a big headache. But, with the tips below and some hustle, you can effectively resurrect revenues from dead inventory.
Here are our top five ways to eliminate any zombie stock:
1. Streamline your marketing and operational processes
To prevent excess inventory in the first place, make sure your operations are optimized, allowing for a constant flow of inventory. The longer products sit on a back shelf, the more likely they are to be forgotten. Constantly keep things moving on your store floor and off the shelves of your warehouse. The best way to do this? Keep track of how long an item has been in inventory and set a sell-by date. Then actively work to get your past due items sold or put them to other good uses.
2. Offer a discounts or bundle.
If you’ve got a lot of inventory past its sell-by date, start thinking about creative ways to discount to clear out those items. Buy-one, Get-one offers are one example of a discounting strategy that moves a higher volume of items. Another option if you’re having an issue selling products individually, try bundling your slow sellers with faster sellers at a reduced price to get them sold. This approach moves product, delivers value for your customers and minimizes the hit to your profit margins.
3. Leverage products as incentives.
Encourage customers to “tell a friend” about your company in exchange for a free shirt, bag, etc. This is a great way to spur word-of-mouth marketing by leveraging old items that would have otherwise been collecting dust. It may not bring in cash for the item, but it will build awareness and loyalty while clearing out stock.
4. Sell your inventory to a liquidator.
Need that shelf space back pronto? Unable to clear your remaining unsold items? Try connecting with an inventory liquidator. Liquidators will buy your items in bulk and sell them on your behalf at a discount and for a piece of the proceeds. Liquidation.com is a one B2B marketplace that helps you sell your products to other businesses online. Before you approach a liquidator, however, make sure you clearly understand the value of your inventory and what you’re willing to sell it for.
5. Donate for a tax deduction.
After you’ve exhausted all other channels, or even if you haven’t, another option is to donate your inventory. Your incorporated business can earn above-cost, federal income tax deductions on items you donate. And, if you find a charity that falls in line with your brand, you may be able to work out a partnership that can also drive some public relations for your business and the charity. Before employing this strategy, be sure to research what small businesses can and cannot write-off.
If you are a business who has come up with a creative way to get rid of excess inventory, let us know! We’d love to share your story.