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People around the world love their tech. Whether it’s televisions, gaming consoles, laptops, speakers, or anything of the sort, manufacturers and retailers try their best to bring consumers the electronics they want. But what happens when the goods and gadgets you’ve stocked aren’t moving off of your shelves quite as fast as you’d like?
In this article, we’ll discuss what can cause this surplus, how businesses traditionally deal with it, and offer up a better way to handle your excess electronics.
There are a few reasons why your business might find it has excess electronics on hand.
Overall, electronics are a competitive category. Since these items carry high price tags, people put a lot of research into what they buy. And they tend to seek out the latest and greatest models for their needs. And unlike apparel or home decor, consumers might only buy one television set, computer, sound system, or pair of headphones every several years. All of this means even deep discounts can’t always secure sales. If you’re selling last year’s $2,000 top-of-the-line TV for just $1,000, a shopper with a comparable one will likely pass.
It’s also possible that a new-found frugality in consumers is to blame for excess stock. The pandemic has meant hard times for many, and some may simply choose to forgo big ticket items that would usually interest them. This is unfortunate, but hardly surprising due to the current levels of inflation the nation is experiencing on goods and services of all kinds.
Finally, the supply chain issues that currently plague global markets may also contribute. If you’re a retailer, you tend to build lead time into your business plans when you order stock from manufacturers. What many retailers couldn’t foresee were the months-long delays for certain products and electronic components. And unfortunately, these issues will likely persist for some time yet. If you ordered stock for the holiday rush months ago and it’s not yet arrived, you’ve missed out on the highest demand period of the year. Now you’re left holding the bag.
Whatever’s happened, you have valuable and perfectly functional electronics on hand that just won’t sell. What now?
Each business has a different philosophy, resource pool, and financial situation. As such, they’ll all handle the issue of excess inventory differently. Here are some common ways businesses handle their unsold goods and why it might not be your ideal strategy for your surplus electronics.
Lots of retailers and manufacturers will choose to warehouse their goods for sale at a later time. This works well for certain items such as outdoor supplies, sporting goods, and other seasonal items including apparel. After all, you might have a shot at selling patio furniture, baseball mitts, beach towels, or heavy wool socks when the right time of year comes around again. Unfortunately this isn’t so for electronics.
With manufacturers always developing new models to meet consumer’s expectations, tech often becomes obsolete as fast many fashion trends do. Unlike with clothes however, there’s little hope that vintage tech will find appeal in the future. Dealing with electronics means you need to stay on the cutting edge inventory-wise. Every day you hold such inventory, the less valuable your product becomes.
Decision makers that manage stock also have the less desirable option to throw away or destroy their returns and unsold inventory. In many cases, storage and the returns can be a drain on your bottom line. Instead of shelling out for the overhead and management resources, a company may see destroying its inventory as the easiest option for cutting losses and moving on. Sometimes businesses even see product destruction as a way to protect their brand’s image. While this “solution” is fast and simple, there are definitely concerns with such methods.
First off, putting products into landfills or burning them is harmful to the environment. The plastics that make up electronic’s housings and circuit boards are harmful to the earth and its oceans. Further, electronic devices can contain harmful metals and chemicals that can leach into the ground and water when trashed, or be inhaled by humans when burned.
If you’re still not sold on a more environmentally friendly approach, know that consumers that keep the environment in mind when they buy. In fact, studies show that over two thirds of buyers prefer brands that are environmentally friendly and will adjust their spending accordingly. If buyers discover environmentally questionable practices, you could be facing a boycott that damages your reputation as well as your profits.
Electronic tech can be expensive and non-profit organizations are always in need. Any electronic products you have to offer may find welcoming homes in schools, shelters, churches, libraries, hospitals, and other charitable institutions.
Many businesses, however, operate with thin margins, and such a program might not be the best fit. Or perhaps you just haven’t yet been able to find the right organization. Whatever your business’ situation, there are plenty of other ways to give back to your community if cash is tight. Meanwhile, your books may be better served by liquidation, a process that can help recover cash.
There are many services that will take surplus electronics off of your hands—and pay you for it too. This is the appeal of liquidation over all other methods. The prices you get for your unsold goods can range based on a number of factors. But, as many see it, any amount of money back is preferable to cutting their losses. Businesses need to be careful however, as not all liquidation solutions are created equal.
Traditional liquidators are plentiful and eager to receive your goods. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much where the benefits end. Otherwise, these services have a number of drawbacks.
Liquidators will offer low, often take-it-or-leave-it prices and may laugh off attempts to negotiate. They’ll then sell to small businesses at a profit. Smaller operations also may not offer any sort of specialized inventory handling platform. This means you may find yourself conducting thousands (or millions) of dollars worth of transactions with a back-and-forth of emails and spreadsheets. Even if you do find a partner that you like working with, suppose they close their doors. Then the onus is on your business to find and develop a new relationship.
Instead of letting a chain of liquidators each take their cut of your goods’ value, retailers should consider a robust online auction platform as an alternative.
B-Stock offers a number of benefits over the methods listed above.
First, B-Stock’s auction format creates competition that benefits you, the seller. Instead of your liquidators lowballing you, multiple small business buyers bid for your lots in real time. This drives up price up, ensuring that you get fair market price every time. In fact, B-Stock’s partner’s regularly achieve an additional 30% beyond traditional liquidation solution.
B-Stock will also expand your buyer pool significantly. Never again will a small handful of liquidators be a possible point of failure in your business operations. With a worldwide network of over 500,000 buyers in 130 countries, there will always be demand for your products. What’s more, the B-Stock marketing team is constantly working to attract new buyers to our partner’s marketplaces.
In terms of administrative burden, a purpose-built, data-driven auction platform means that you’ll no longer pour over spreadsheets or field a call about your liquidation lots again. A record of each and every sale will live in one place and remain available for future analysis and optimization. With better data on hand, you can draw insights from past trends to tweak your auction schedule, lot sizes, starting bids, and more to maximize your returns. Automation features like pre-set auction launch times are designed to take the burden of liquidation off of you and your team.
Finally, every unit that you’re able to successfully move into the secondary market is one that doesn’t wind up burned or in a landfill. And if its reputation control you’re after, know that B-Stock lets you stipulate to your buyers where and how your products are sold. To some brands, protecting a hard-won image and primary sales channel is worth the transition to auctions.
So whether you’re a large enterprise or smaller retailer, B-Stock is here to help. We’ll assist you in making the most of your returned and excess electronics to kick off the new year right. Contact us today.