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Whether or not you’ve dabbled into the reselling world or not, one opportunity you don’t want to miss is furniture liquidation. That’s right – furniture – and not just outdated or old furniture either. New, customer-returned, or overstock furniture from major retailers like Ashley Homestore, Herman Miller, Wayfair, Target, and Walmart are all up for grabs. These companies frequently liquidate returned furniture or overstock from warehouses to free up space and make way for new items. This inventory then goes to auction on online marketplaces like B-Stock. Resellers can then purchase this inventory at deep discounts and introduce them into the secondary market.
We recently sat down with our in-house furniture experts to gather the top tips and best practices for buyers when it comes to buying and reselling furniture for the dining room, patio, bedroom, and more. Let’s dive in!
In this guide, we will cover:
What makes up the furniture category? Well, it has quite a bit of breadth to it. Some of the most popular furniture items we see across our B-Stock marketplaces like Ashley Homestore Liquidation Auctions, Herman Miller Liquidation Auctions, Wayfair Liquidation Auctions, The Home Depot Liquidation Auctions, Target Auctions Liquidation, Walmart Liquidation Auctions, and ALMO Liquidation Auctions include:
When it comes to furniture, there are a few main reasons it gets returned, and in turn, liquidated and introduced into the secondary market. Keep in mind, furniture is not the typical inventory that can be shipped in the mail with some bubble wrap, there are minor dents that can occur. This, along with buyer’s remorse can both lead to returns. We go deeper into these reasons below!
It’s a common mistake, but for online shoppers especially, having the wrong measurements is one of the top reasons furniture gets returned. Measuring can be difficult when you have a whole space to furnish! Not knowing if it will fit and taking a gamble can end in a return, and oftentimes, full refunds. Which is hassle-free for customers but a pain for retailers.
Although we all wish we were interior decorators, sometimes we just don’t get it right. Having furniture come in that is a different color, look, or feel than we expected are other contributing factors to furniture returns. No matter how good it looks online or in stores, sometimes it doesn’t live up to expectations when it makes it to our home.
Due to the size and weight of furniture, it’s easy to have something damaged during the shipping process. And although furniture is often palletized inventory (offering extra security), bumps and bruises may occur in the truck or handling process.
Although furniture liquidation can seem like a daunting category at first, it’s really nothing to worry over! There are plenty of benefits for business buyers looking to take the leap.
What makes furniture so worthwhile you might ask? The high returns, for starters. These are bigger ticket items, think about that $800 couch you saw on Wayfair’s website. It can easily be purchased at full price and then returned due to a little bump during the delivery process. That couch then goes on to get liquidated where buyers like you can purchase it for a deeply discounted price. Your return could be in the hundreds versus maybe the $5-$10 you make off of one piece of apparel. Of course, that depends on the brand, condition, and quality.
People are really into refurbishing things now. You’ve probably seen those Goodwill hauls containing vintage finds or mid-century furniture pieces. Many resellers are earning quite a profit by throwing a quick coat of paint or polish on these items – making them good as new. And even if you don’t want to go this manual route of spending hours searching for furniture to flip and performing the repairs and upgrades yourself, there are plenty of people who will. So you can supply liquidated furniture for others to go on and flip themselves.
Certain retailers are far more lenient than others when it comes to accepting returns. In some cases, it can be a tiny scratch! So for business buyers looking to purchase liquidated furniture, you can bank on quite a bit of inventory being in near-perfect condition. Damage on items is often very minimal and makes customer returns worth pursuing.
Most furniture sales center around holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor day – all warmer-season holidays. It turns into a nice end-of-summer leap for liquidation furniture when retailers are dealing with customer returns and overstock. This makes it easy to predict furniture liquidation fluctuating higher in the spring and lowering in the winter. And when you consider new houses are often purchased in the spring and summer, you have a pretty good idea for when shoppers will be looking to furnish their homes.
Individuals and families will always be renting and buying houses. That means between moving, designing a new space, or redoing a patio, furniture will have to come from somewhere. Shoppers will always have an endless list of projects and redesign projects to tackle. And think of all the furniture you have in your home right now!
So you’ve learned that the furniture category is never out of season and, similar to the home & garden category, buyers can get more value for furniture inventory. Let’s get into best practices for buying furniture liquidation inventory.
This tends to be a no-brainer but certain types of inventory have more value. For example, real wood versus manufactured wood will always be more valuable. People search specifically for this and it makes sense that it will fetch higher returns. You can also look for inventory that is stain-resistant and kid-proof, which are two other big selling points.
Blues and greys are becoming increasingly popular, taking the place of beiges and other neutrals. Staying on top of trends like this ensures your furniture inventory is the hottest commodity in the eyes of customers.
If you see on the manifest that there is just one of say dining room chairs, nightstands, or coffee tables – it’s better to get them. There is still a good chance people will buy one and get creative. Mixing and matching furniture is becoming way more mainstream. Even if it was last year’s style, shoppers are likely to combine it with other staples anyway. You see it everywhere now!
Image via Target.com
As our B-Stock furniture expert, Joanie Stolos said, “Don’t be worried if a piece of furniture doesn’t come with a set or pair. Furniture is in demand and all those styles can go together even if they don’t match.”
Furniture is one category you don’t want to make too many purchasing mistakes in. When you mess up with apparel and buy too many shirts, that’s not the end of the world. But if you end up winning an auction for a full truckload of couches, that’s a whole different story.
Make sure you have enough storage capacity, helping hands to unload shipments, and that you’ve thoroughly checked the auction lot manifest for quantity & conditions. You wouldn’t want to win an auction for B/C inventory thinking it will be in pristine condition. That is, you could find that you don’t have all the parts required for assembly or may even be missing a piece of that sectional. And remember, there could be small scratches or chips.
So now you want to resell liquidation furniture – this is the fun part where your business gets to make money. To maximize your profits, follow these best practices for reselling:
Think of this as a premium delivery service for your customers. Retailers are able to charge $100-$500 for a white glove service to deliver and set up items with close attention to detail and care. You could offer your own version of this for your liquidation furniture and consider charging $50-$100, or whatever you think is fair, for delivering and installing items for customers.
This type of inventory does best in a physical storefront. So get creative and set up a showroom of sorts for your customers to come in and look at items in person. From there, they can visualize how it will look in their own space, get measurements, and see how they like the size and color. You can advertise the location and get a lot of foot traffic this way. But most importantly, you avoid dealing with shipping big, bulky inventory.
Note: Furniture is hard to try out online. Although some seasoned home & garden resellers had to get savvy and go online, furniture presents shipping logistics that come with a hefty price tag.
It’s not uncommon for liquidation furniture to also be included in some of our home & garden auctions on B-Stock. So, you can use this to your advantage and add in fun extras for shoppers to take home. For example, you just put out a $750 couch (original MSRP $1,000), consider adding in some decorative pillows or rug to go along with it! Not only do you get to cross-sell extra inventory, but you increase your chances of making that sale by helping shoppers have a “complete” picture-perfect feeling.
Find the best liquidation furniture inventory on B-Stock. This category has much to offer for your reselling business. Check out all of the current B-Stock furniture marketplaces and begin your buying journey today!