It was Sun Tzu who once said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” And it was Sensei Wu who once said, “The best way to defeat your enemy is to make them your friend.” While one of those philosophers wrote the Art of War and the other was a cartoon character in Ninjago, they both make the same valid point: when working with customers, if you know them and befriend them, you can develop business relationships that can result in increased sales, fewer returns, fewer disputes, and will ultimately lead to repeat purchases. For major retailers experiencing higher return rates and overstock inventory, it might feel like you’re in the midst of a clandestine war in which you must covertly increase recovery from additional processing, shipping, and storing costs. But it doesn’t have to be that way, especially if you understand your customer: the certified SMB secondary market retail owner who resells discount merchandise.

Selling overstock and return merchandise through B-Stock’s secondary retail marketplace—a viable and established sales channel that nine out of the top 10 U.S. retailers are currently using—is an effective and proven strategy to increase recovery rates. To capitalize on this channel, it’s important to learn who the customer is, and what they want. At B-Stock, we listen to both our buyers and sellers to help both sides of the equation get the best deal possible. Here now are the top 3 things buyers want from sellers:

  1. Product—What all retail business owners want is inventory to stock their shelves. If they know your marketplace consistently has the consumer electronics, or home furnishings, or whatever product they need, buyers will learn to count on you for that inventory.
  2. Quality—The condition and quality of your merchandise is extremely important to buyers. Many store owners only want product in a certain condition. For example, many appliance dealers are only looking for scratch & dent quality, or a buyer might want only scrap cell phones to harvest parts, or another buyer might only want undamaged apparel. To make your lots appealing, it’s important to consistently post auctions with the same level of quality and to clearly describe the condition of the lot in the manifest.
  3. Scheduling—When and how often you post your listings makes a difference to a buyer. If they know to visit your site on the first Monday of each month to find a lot of the same inventory, with the same starting bid price, in the same condition, then you are taking the first step in establishing trust and confidence with buyers who require a consistent product flow.

The running theme throughout this list is consistency. If you’re looking to build relationships with your customers, then creating auction listings with consistent product, quality, and frequency will go a long ways in turning buyers into friends. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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