With record online sales and generous free returns policies, returned goods have become a big cost center for retailers. One way the industry has been trying to minimize that hit is by selling returned items—and other liquidation goods—in eBay-like private online auction marketplaces to eligible business buyers.

Traditionally, retailers may have had a list of three to five liquidators they would reach out to and see who would give them the best bid. But with these marketplaces, they can take bids from a much more expanded buyer pool, and get 30% to 80% more on their liquidation merchandise compared with what they might have gotten before, according to Howard Rosenberg, CEO and co-founder of B-Stock Solutions, which operates liquidation marketplaces for major retailers including Amazon, Walmart, The Home Depot and Costco.

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