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Clearance stock can be anything. From apparel and home & garden to consumer electronics and furniture. This includes toys, sporting goods, jewellery & watches, and appliances, too! Clearance stock is any type of inventory that didn’t sell in stores or online, has been returned or damaged in some way, or is close to its expiry date. For a retailer, this can turn into a loss if it’s taking up warehouse space. So in order to recoup some of their losses, this inventory is declared clearance stock and must make a quick exit. And for UK resellers, sole traders, job lot enthusiasts, and pound store owners, clearance stock can be extremely valuable.
Knowing where to look is the most important part. Before we get into where to buy clearance stock, we’ll go into more detail on what clearance stock is, how you can make money selling it, and who else clearance stock is good for. We will even share some top buying tips so you can start reselling this inventory ASAP!
Clearance stock is essentially surplus goods that are being transferred in ownership. When a company wants to undergo a stock clearance, it’s generally in order to make way for new inventory. Space is more valuable than inventory they’ve already invested in that didn’t sell or was returned. So, in order to recoup some of their losses, this inventory becomes clearance stock.
Surplus inventory, returned merchandise, damaged inventory, and more can all end up as clearance stock. This leads us to our next section…
It’s important to note clearance stock is typically being sold far below cost. Since some of these items didn’t sell the first time, or have been returned and can’t return to shelves, the initial investment in the inventory is already lost. The good news is, you can source clearance stock and resell it for higher. After all, clearance stock can still be perfectly good inventory, so you can reap the financial benefits!
So the answer is yes. You can buy bulk quantities of clearance stock and then individually resell items closer to RPP (recommended retail price) to your customers.
If you own a business, big or small, you’re most likely looking to save time and money whenever possible. Well, you can increase efficiency by sourcing large lots of clearance stock! Here’s a quick list of buyers who can benefit from purchasing clearance stock:
Discounted inventory is usually sold by the pallet and can make up job lots. Job lots are a grouping of items sold as a single lot. So, they are essentially an assortment of goods for sale as one quantity. That means you can get a lot of inventory for your business at once! These bundles are mixed, meaning there will be a range of products in varying conditions and categories.
Companies may also want to protect their brand image by not performing the stock clearance themselves/in stores, but by selling it off to qualified buyers or third parties.
Wholesalers are suppliers who have huge selections of bankrupt and clearance stock, as well as bulk and surplus merchandise in their own warehouses. Frequently, they buy directly from retailers. However, they will add markups since they house hundreds of thousands of products and need to remain profitable. They then distribute their inventory to select buyers.
This auction-based site has a vast audience of active buyers and sellers across the globe. You can find clearance stock job lots up for auction in just about any category. The downside is you don’t have a lot of control over the product condition or quantity as many job lots will be unmanifested. A manifest is a document that comes along with each lot detailing the inventory included. Because you can’t physically touch or view the seller’s inventory before you buy, the detailed manifest essentially brings the store to you. So without one, things can be a little chaotic – see the example below.
It’s impossible to get pictures of everything, there may be some surprises. For instance, one picture of shoes may actually make up half the pallet. Imagine getting stuck with an uncommon shoe size like 2.5 (35 EU) — you could be sitting on this inventory for a while!
Private marketplaces are a way for big retailers and manufacturers to offload their clearance stock quickly while earning some money back. Registered buyers can easily bid on bulk quantities of clearance stock from any category, with conditions ranging from new to light use to salvage. And with an online auction site, you never pay more than you want for lots.
Here are a few marketplaces to check out:
To buy clearance stock, you must be registered as a business and provide a VAT identification number. VAT stands for value-added tax and lets you buy job lots tax-free, with the expectation that you charge this tax to your customers when an item sells. For VAT exemptions and more information, visit this site.
Considering clearance stock can be sold off to other distributors and liquidators, you always want to research before buying. Try and avoid markups that these middlemen often add on to the price of goods (while cherry-picking the most valuable inventory for themselves). Look for reviews and check what the current going retail rate is.
What type of inventory will do well and when? If you purchase a couple of pallets of swimwear clearance stock, you may have a harder time selling it in the middle of winter. Consider where your customers are geographically before purchasing clearance stock that you may not be able to sell. Not only should seasonality be a consideration, but also other trends in the UK market like bank holiday sales that could lead to an influx in retail returns and clearance stock.
It’s important to understand the items you’re trying to sell. If you don’t know a lot about consumer electronics, then it might make purchasing clearance stock harder. For example, if you frequently purchase or read about electronics, you’re probably looking for relevant information like product specs and part numbers. If it’s important to you as a buyer, your customers will want to know the same information in your listing.
Use spreadsheets to organize your clearance stock hunt. You want to note product condition or grade, what the current going rate is, the currency it’s being sold in (if applicable), where it’s shipping from, and the number of units, to name a few things. And don’t let that shipping creep up on you! Budget in shipping costs when calculating potential profits.
Be familiar with online auction terms like a proxy bid and popcorn bidding. All bids placed on a B-Stock marketplace act as “proxy” bids. Your proxy bid is essentially your maximum amount. Our system uses your proxy bid amount to automatically bid incrementally on your behalf. So you don’t have to keep coming back to increase your bid!
If a bid is placed in the last five minutes of an auction, the auction end time will automatically extend for an additional three minutes. This is called “Popcorn Bidding” and it gives all bidders an equal chance of winning an auction if a last-minute bid is placed.
Shopify and QuickBooks are two powerful tools for tracking any clearance stock that you purchase. On Shopify, it’s simple to add products, adjust inventory levels, and see when something is about to sell out. You can even get an add-on to notify you when inventory levels fall below a certain threshold.
With QuickBooks, you can manage cash flow, track payments, import bills from different vendors/suppliers, and connect your bank so you can see and categorise transactions all in one place. Plus, there’s support for multiple currencies, self-assessment management, and VAT submission features.
Buying clearance stock in the UK/EU? Here are a few ways to save on shipping. You can look for nearby warehouses, consider consolidated shipping, or find free shipping on B-Stock Supply Europe. Remember, clearance stock is being sold off by the pallet or truckload, so take a look at the auction size and shipping quote.
If you’re deciding what size auction lot you should purchase, read more about the New Shipping Size Available on Amazon EU!
If you’re trying to bulk buy inventory, or grow your inventory in a specific category, B-Stock can help. Small businesses and startups can buy clearance stock and returned items directly from retailers like Amazon and Wayfair. In doing so, they acquire quality pieces that people want – directly from the retailer or brand – and sell them for amazingly low prices–which is incredibly appealing to buyers.