Happy New Year! If you’re a brick and mortar store owner, January tends to be the month where we want and need to refresh our stores. It’s also the time store owners tackle inventory, reconcile inventory, and clean up the data in our inventory management systems. This is also a great time to figure out how to get rid of inventory. You know, that merchandise that just isn’t moving. You hope that it will, but it just-doesn’t-go. I’m here to help you get that dead inventory out so you can bring some fresh inventory in!
Merchandising space in a store is EXTREMELY VALUABLE REAL ESTATE so if you’re sitting on items because you’re HOPEFUL they will sell – it’s time to get rid of it. And if it’s been in your store over one year, tell yourself you’ll never do this again!
How to get rid of inventory:
#1: First, re-merchandise
If the merchandise has been in your store long enough you may have already tried this – multiple times. But if you’re new to shopkeeping, try re-merchandising first. You’ll be surprised at how a fresh location or perspective can help sell the inventory that wasn’t selling.
#2: Discount and then discount some more
Start to push the dead merchandise to the back of your store. You want to be sure to keep the new merchandise front and center. If you tried remerchandising, move the dead merchandise to the back, discount it, and discount it again.
#3: Host Facebook Live sales
People love a good deal and a “last chance” opportunity to buy. I know going Live on Facebook can be intimidating, but this is an effective way to get rid of dead inventory. Usually, the simplest way to do this is to ask your customers to comment SOLD and provide an email address. Then you can send them an invoice and they can pick up when it’s convenient for them or you can ship the item.
#4: List on an online marketplace
Such as Craigslist, Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace. Some shopkeepers may not prefer to do this, but if it works for your business model, selling your items in an online marketplace might be a good solution for you. At this point, you may have to sell merchandise at a loss, but the important thing is to get SOMETHING out of it before you go to #7.
#5: Take items to a Consignment shop or list with an auction site
This is similar to #4 but a slightly different approach. Again, it depends on what you’re selling and your business model but I thought I’d mention these two as alternative places to sell your dead inventory.
#6: Host an in-store blowout sale
I don’t recommend you do this often but this can be a really effective way to push that stale inventory out of your door! My sister and I tend to host one blowout event per year. Not only does it get the dead inventory OUT but we’re always pleasantly surprised at the turnout and how many of our customers buy new merchandise too! It’s a win-win!
#7: Donate it
If you just can’t seem to get rid of it, think about WHY first because you don’t want to make the same mistake again, then donate it, and write it off. Make sure you keep documentation for your tax records!
As retail business owners, of course, we want to see a profit on everything we buy. But the reality is sometimes we overbuy, sometimes we miss the mark on what our customers will like, and sometimes we have no idea what went wrong. Don’t beat yourself up about it and by all means, don’t be stubborn. Dead inventory that consumes a retail store can lead to a dead store! Instead, try one or all of the ways listed in this article to help you get that merchandise out of your store.
Do you have another suggestion for getting rid of dead inventory? We’d love to hear about it, comment below or send me a DM on Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper.
I want to see you succeed and this means keeping your store filled with fresh merchandise!
Here’s to an amazing 2020!
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Since founding The Salvaged Boutique with her sister in 2013, Kathy watched her passion grow from a fun blog and hobby with her sister on the side of her full-time job, to a thriving brick and mortar home decor store. After running the store for years, she saw the need for an online community where small business owners could find resources. So she took it upon herself to create Savvy Shopkeeper, a blog and online business dedicated to educating, motivating and building a community of shop owners. From a full-time job to full-time entrepreneur, Kathy helps hundreds of store owners and makers navigate store ownership while running a store herself.