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In the world of fashion and apparel, retailers need to keep the inventory moving. Trends aren’t necessarily annual anymore—or even seasonal. Changes in fashion can now happen weekly, with fast fashion retailers receiving new shipments of clothes every week.
Luckily for savvy business leaders, there is a way to ease this problem. Read on to learn more about how trends in fashion are affecting businesses and driving sellers and buyers alike into a new age of recommerce.
Dealing with returns weighs heavily on the minds of apparel industry giants. Why? According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers returned over 20% of all merchandise that they purchased online in 2021. That’s $218 billion dollars worth of inventory. For apparel alone, this percentage is even higher—up to 30% say experts as shoppers often return items if the fit or color wasn’t as expected. And there are two main reasons why this phenomenon is already a big problem for retailers.
Because the fashion cycle moves so fast, retailers constantly clear existing inventory to make room for the next big thing. It might sound like an exaggeration, but think about it:
If someone buys a shirt online the first week of April and then returns it a few weeks later, that item is now a month old. For an always-trendy store, this means the item is most likely out of rotation, and the retailer won’t put it back on shelves. Even if the customer returns an online purchase within days, the shipping and handling to get that garment back in the retailer’s system can take weeks—all while the garment is depreciating and falling out of style.
Aside from the quick pace of fashion, there are many resource-consuming steps to processing an item back onto a shelf. These include shipping, handling, inspecting, repackaging or relabeling, recataloguing, restocking, and more. All said and done, these costs can exclude the value of the piece. In this case, returns simply aren’t worth company’s time.
“Garbage,” as most people conceive of it, isn’t the only thing taking up space in landfills and polluting our earth, water and air. Unfortunately, unused apparel is a substantial component of this refuse. In fact, apparel constitutes a higher percentage of municipal waste in the US than bottles, dishes and containers—13 million tons per year. How can this be?
Many well-respected brands have burned inventory or sent it to landfill—or still do. It may sound extreme, but for an industry that produces so much, these practices have been an expedient way of disposing of unsold or unwanted goods. While these companies do write off the value of the inventory, they don’t have to store it or deal with the frustrations of restocking. Destroying inventory has also been a way for high-end brands to maintain an exclusive reputation.
Whether it’s business or the environment that’s your concern, these methods clearly aren’t the way forward. So what can you do?
With online shopping as the new default, high return rates don’t seem to be slowing—surely a problem to tackle. Fortunately, however, consumers have become sensitive to wasteful and environmentally unfriendly practices like trashing and burning perfectly good items. Even better, they are more open than ever to buying goods on the secondary market. This means overstock, returned, aging, slightly defective or otherwise unsold goods are a cash cow for SMB resellers. Theyr’e also a great way for retailers to recover cash value.
Perhaps it’s the financial squeeze that many have experienced recently that’s caused this frugality, or perhaps the average consumer is simply becoming more waste-conscious. Either way, this growing secondary market has proven to be quite profitable—to the tune of $644 billion at recent estimates. Apparel is the ideal good to sell and buy in a recommerce-friendly market.
How to begin? B-Stock is a great choice.
B-Stock provides apparel retailers with private online B2B marketplaces where they can sell items directly to a secondary market buyer base. Buyers need goods to power their presence on premium recommence and upcycling platforms like ThredUp and Poshmark. And now is the right time to get in on the action—according to Chain Store Age, demand is rising among everyone from Gen Z to Boomers. You’ve never had more to gain in terms of your recovery.
Our buyer network is 500,000+ strong and full of entrepreneurs that rely on businesses like yours. You’ll always have an offer on the table and a liquidator will never again represent a single point of failure in your operations. A broad buyer base also allows for quick, regular auctions helping you move your unsold apparel as fast as you can list and ship it. Scale up your liquidation and never get stuck paying to warehouse your unsold inventory again.
Next, our auction format always drives competition up, you reestablish market price with every sale and always extract the highest willingness to pay. In fact, many of our sellers recover 30% or more over traditional liquidation methods. No longer will liquidators lowball you for your returned, overstock, damaged, and salvage goods, skimming value off of your stock.
Finally, B-Stock empowers you to vet and handpick buyers to ensure your goods are sold where and how you want. This helps to both preserve your hard-won reputation and keep the secondary market stock from interfering with your primary sales channels.
B-Stock wins you money, time, space, velocity, and scalability. Here’s what’s all sellers get when they sign up:
With these resources in your corner, you’ll recover more, faster—and at a speed and scale you never thought possible.
If you’re thinking about leveraging the secondary market to offset loss for your excess inventory—shelf pulls, overstock, and customer returns—we’ve put together a digital flipbook: Five Ways To Offset Loss For Excess Inventory + Protect Your Brand.
The flipbook looks at: