Christmas might be over but National Returns Day (coined by UPS) is upon us. When all is done, around $65 billion in merchandise will come back to retailers post holiday; a significant blow to the bottom line without a proper strategy in place. Consider this:

  • Return rates double around the holidays
  • It costs double the amount for an item to be returned
  • Retailers spend about 8% of total sales processing returns
  • 95% of returned and excess inventory is sold on the secondary market

Though most of the items (be it an ugly sweater, unwanted consumer electronic or an ill-fitting pair of shoes) will be in functionally and cosmetically perfect condition, putting it back on store shelves is costly; in most cases it’s better to liquidate the inventory and recover as much as possible for it. Here is where having a proper liquidation solution in place can make a major difference.

Rather than treating liquidation as a reactive event, think about approaching it as a long-term strategic asset, in the form of a solution that is automated, sustainable and scalable depending on your liquidation needs. For example, the solution should be able to handle the uptick in returned inventory following the holidays without sacrificing the recovery or velocity with which it is sold.

For a better understanding, please read our case study on how we built a sustainable and scalable B2B marketplace solution for one of the world’s largest online destinations for home furnishings and décor.


In today’s retail landscape returns are inevitable, especially after December 25 when a holiday hangover sets in and people regret their purchases or dislike their gifts. Facing these returns head on with a technology-based program that automates liquidation is imperative and should not be left to old, reactive approaches. What’s more it can mean the difference between winning and losing in 2017.