If there is anything that requires your constant attention in ecommerce, it’s inventory management. But no matter how much time you spend watching your inventory, from time to time, there will still be slow-moving products and excess inventory that you need to liquidate. It’s just the nature of retail sales. How you choose to handle it though, can make the difference between products gathering dust on shelves and a healthy bottom line.
The key is to not hang onto products that aren’t selling. You have capital tied up in every product, so you need to figure out how to turn excess inventory into cash. Holding onto stale or excess inventory is costing you money, and cash flow is the lifeblood of your business.
There are three killer strategies to get some value out of your excess inventory: sell it, remarket it, or bundle it.
Run Special Sales
Nine times out of ten, your best option is to sell your old and excess inventory. But if it were that easy to sell it, it wouldn’t be excess. So, it’s time to talk strategy. Consider selling your products at deep discounts, 35-70%. Yes, it’ll likely eat into your margin, but you need to move these products off your shelves. There are many sale options you can run to convert your excess inventory. Here are four to consider:
1. Clearance Sale
Do a couple of clearance sales a year. Offer discounts on inventory that hasn’t sold for the previous 3 to 6 months. Send emails and use social media to promote your sale. You can also create a clearance section on your website that offers discounts on stale inventory as a permanent feature.
2. Flash Sale
There’s a psychological factor at play when there is a sense of urgency for customers to buy. Sometimes having a limited time offer on products is an incentive for shoppers to make purchases. A flash sale does just that.
3. Specific-Items Sale
Sometimes you have to narrow the focus of a sale. Creating a sale that is aimed at a specific product, type of shopper, or need may yield the results you are looking for. Personalized emails to specific customers are the way to go for this type of sale.
4. Seasonal Sales
You can utilize changing seasons or holidays to offer sales of your excess inventory. It’s a good time to market to those customers who are always looking for a great deal. Using pop-up promotions to notify your shoppers is one way you can market to bargain hunters.
Change Your Marketing Strategy
The next strategy is remarketing. Your slow-moving products may not be selling because of how they are marketed. A little bit of freshening up may be all you need to get them moving of the shelves. Here are some quick and easy changes you can make:
1. New Images
The photos of products that you post play a huge part in how well they sell. Give your product pages a fresh look with new photos. Try to increase the quality, show the products from various angles, and add a lifestyle or action image if you can. Here are a few product photo tips to get you started.
2. New Category
It could be the case that your products are not selling because of where they are located on your site. Maybe they are in the wrong category or they are hard to find. Try shaking it up a bit by moving products to new categories or adding a new landing page to increase visibility and accessibility.
3. New SEO Strategy
Sometimes items don’t sell because your SEO isn’t effective. When you write product descriptions they have to contain the right keywords as well as evoking the desire to buy. Try rewriting your descriptions using different keywords.
Bundling products can be a win-win for your business. You increase your average order value and you sell excess inventory. There are several effective ways to bundle products. Try the following:
1. Bundle Multiple Units of the Same Product
This strategy works well for small products. Try bundling the same type of products but in different colors, sizes, or designs in packages and see if they sell faster.
2. Bundle Complementary Products
If the products you have in your excess inventory pair well with other products you sell, then you can try this strategy by bundling them together. Here are a few ways to market your kits to drive more purchases.
3. Bundle Slow-Moving Products with Fast-Moving Products
Pair products from your excess inventory with items that you know sell well. Customers who are interested in the faster-moving product will likely view the bundle as a good deal.
When Nothing Else Works
Sometimes even the best strategies fail, yet you still need to clear out excess inventory. Here are a couple of options for when nothing else works:
1. Donate Your Excess Inventory
When you just can’t sell old inventory, then donating it may be the only solution. Find an appropriate organization that will be happy to accept your donation and provide you with a receipt so you can use it as a tax deduction.
Pro Tip: If you store inventory with FBA, Amazon will donate your excess inventory AND returned products to charities for you!
2. Strike Deals with Suppliers
Contact your suppliers and see if they have any provisions for returns or exchanges. This is kind of a shot in the dark, but desperate times call for desperate measures. If you have good relationships with your suppliers, they may be willing to help you out.
Inventory Liquidation Wrap Up
Finding ways to deal with excess inventory and turn it into cash is an unfortunate aspect of running a retail business. But the above strategies should help you free up some shelves and earn some revenue at the same time. Use them and also see if you can come up with other creative ways to liquidate your excess inventory and watch your business flourish.