The relatives have (finally) gone home and the last Santa cookie has been consumed.

The last of the presents have been unwrapped and the decorations have been put away.

Now that the holidays are over, it’s time to look at inventory and decide what needs to go. But where do you even start?

Many merchants this time of year have additional products in stock that may not sell again for almost an entire year. What can you do?

Moving Holiday Overstock

The busy fourth quarter has come and gone, but there is still plenty you can do to focus on moving out underperforming and seasonal products. Here are some ideas to take into consideration for clearing out overstock that will appeal to online consumers:

1. Encourage buying in bulk

Who doesn’t love a good deal? Offer discounts of 5-15% to customers who buy overstocked items. These transactions can have multiple overstocked products per sale.

2. Sell at a discount

How quickly does the merchandise need to be sold? The higher the discount, the quicker the item will sell. Flash sales not only create a sense of urgency, but they can also be tailored to very specific merchandise. You can also generate flash sales based on customers’ browsing history.

3. Bundling

This is a chance to think outside the shopping cart. Are there underperforming items in stock? Bundle them with bestsellers to increase average cart size and reduce overstock. Get creative with the packages that you offer.

4. Promotional gifts

Using excess stock as promotional gifts rather than discounts emphasizes quality over quantity. Do you have a high-value, low-costquality item that you have in bulk? Consider this as an option.

5. Offer free shipping

A Wharton School of Business survey showed that a free shipping offer of $6.99 appeals more to customers than a discount that cuts the purchase price by ten dollars. (http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/how-the-offer-of-free-shipping-affects-on-line-shopping/) Never underestimate the power of free shipping! Why do you think Amazon Prime as taken the world by storm?

6. Return to the vendor

Whether asking for a refund, direct exchange, buy-back, or credit, this is not a guarantee, but it is certainly worth investigating! Even if the vendor will not negotiate, you can always find a jobber (a small-scale wholeseller) to take the inventory off your hands.

7. Donate

Check with your tax professional about the new 2018 tax laws that went into effect in the United States, which makes the standard deduction larger than in previous years. Take into consideration the donation value and what time of year it was given, but this can turn into marvelous marketing and PR for your company.

Summary

Even if you are left with excess inventory in the first quarter, there are still many ways to reduce that inventory to produce cash for use elsewhere in your business.

Ann
February 18, 2019