It’s a boom…it’s a growth spurt…it’s a full-scale resale revolution hitting the apparel industry!
According to a recent resale report from ThredUp (the world’s largest online thrift and consignment store), the secondary market for apparel is expected to double in five years, reaching $51 billion by 2023. In fact, the demand for apparel in the secondary market is so large, it accounts for a whopping 49% of it!
If you’re looking to source apparel for your small business, B-Stock can help! We offer merchandise from nine of the top 10 U.S. retailers. And with over 20 million units of apparel sold annually across our marketplaces, it’s one of our largest categories.
We recently sat down with our in-house apparel experts to gather the top tips and best practices for buyers when it comes to sourcing apparel, accessories, & shoes. Let’s dive in!
Why Apparel Gets Returned
With the convenience of shopping online, this opens the door to many new reasons for items to get returned that previously didn’t exist. Let’s take a look at the most common causes consumers return apparel.
Try Before You Buy
Without being able to try on clothes when shopping online, shoppers must do it at home. This contributes to the common practice of buying multiple sizes and sending back the ones that do not fit.
That sweater that was discounted so much it was too much of a bargain to pass up? Oftentimes, buyer remorse kicks in afterward when the consumer decides they don’t really need it. Or maybe it’s just too late in the season to wear it. So, back to the retailer it goes.
Special Occasion Purchases
Whether it’s for a wedding, prom, or a one-time black-tie event, many shoppers won’t hang on to special occasion purchases. Combined with more lenient return policies, this makes it easier for buyers to return these items.
Benefits for Business Buyers
Lots of Choices
There is a huge flux in terms of fashion categories. There’s more than just jeans, dresses, and pants these days. Buyers have choices in terms of jumpsuits, rompers, denim, high fashion, moderate (basic tees, jeans, skirts, and separates), contemporary (fast fashion and juniors) and traditional (suits and casual work attire) styles. Oftentimes retailers miss the mark by buying too much ‘fashion’ and not enough core product, leading to an overstock of inventory. And because the lifecycle of fashion products is shortening, retailers have to move it off the floor quickly. This is great for buyers as there is plenty of current and trendy inventory.
Because of the surplus of inventory, retailers and manufacturers aren’t as price-restrictive as before. Additionally, they’re offering different size lots to buyers from truckloads to pallets all in an effort to move the inventory. This gives buyers more flexibility in terms of their budget and storage capabilities.
Before You Buy
Before jumping feet first into the booming secondary apparel market, it’s important to know a few things beforehand. Take a look at this list of top things to consider before buying up returned and excess apparel.
Read the Manifest!
First and foremost, this is the most important tip we can stress to buyers. Understand what is in the lot you are bidding on. Pay attention to the details (brands, size range, condition of items, etc.). Notice if it says the merchandise is “plus size” or one size only, or if it says customer returns and not new. Read the auction details before you bid.
Much of the merchandise is not brand new. Because of this, you need to understand that there will be a percentage of items in each lot that you won’t be able to sell. It could be something like loose buttons, stains or a broken zipper. Remember, you will not see every item in every lot before you buy! Be prepared for a ‘mixed bag’ of items in terms of their condition. Unlike other categories (i.e. consumer electronics or appliances), you are not in the business of refurbishing, you will take a loss on some items.
Out of Season Inventory
While there is a huge selection of liquidation inventory available, be aware that you may run into out of season snags. For example, if you’re looking to begin sourcing spring styles, you may still only find winter coats and warm weather clothes on certain marketplaces. You have to have some patience and flexibility.
Finally, keep in mind that you may not receive the full range of sizes within styles. You can expect a broken assortment and not the full spectrum of sizes when purchasing liquidation apparel.
Best Practices for Buying Liquidated Apparel
Whether you want to resell liquidation apparel on Poshmark, eBay, ThredUp or others, maintaining a good profit margin is always the bottom line. What are the best ways to do just that? From saving money on sourcing to shipping costs, we’ve broken down the most important ‘need-to-know’s’ to get the most out of your investment. Learn more in our article A Poshmark Seller’s Guide to Buying Returned and Overstock Apparel.
Best Practices for Reselling Liquidated Apparel
When it comes to reselling success we’ve asked our experts to share their top pro tips. Let’s break down these best practices for reselling liquidation apparel.
Let’s be honest, newer condition is usually more favorable. An added bonus? If you can resell an item in its original packaging! More beneficial to end user.
To shoppers, brands matter! Brand names definitely draw more customers to your business as opposed to non-branded merchandise. So, if you’ve got the brand-name goods, advertise it!
Seasonality is Important
The truth is you will fetch a higher price selling items in season rather than out of season. As a reseller, you can expect diminished sales and recovery selling merchandise that is out of season.
The more images, the more sales! And showing clothing or brands on models or mannequins…those do even better! Feel free to mix stock images with actual images, but if any of the items are damaged– show that too. You’ve got to be honest in showing the good with the bad.