If you know Griff of eBay Radio fame, you’re probably familiar with his stance on slow-moving merchandise.
“Get rid of it! It’s a capital liability.”
What does he mean by this? He’s basically saying that when you have new items in inventory that haven’t sold in more than three months and used items that have been around for more than six months, they can actually be detrimental to the health of your business—kind of like a blocked artery. Your money (or capital) is physically stuck and could be obstructing your success.
That’s why we always suggest starting the new year fresh by liquidating the items that are holding you back from your sales goals. Plus, this is the time of year when buyers are actively in search of clearance sales. So take advantage of the increased demand for deals and make room for fresh inventory. Here’s how:
1. Make a list of your stale merchandise. If you don’t have hundreds of listings, you probably already know which items to put on your liquidation list. If you have hundreds or thousands of items, you can visit Seller Hub and run a list of items that haven’t sold in 16 months. Or, you can look at your ratio of views to offers. If you have an item that has a ton of views but no offers or questions, it’s probably time to clear it out.
2. Set up a Clearance Sale Event using Promotions Manager. This will be much easier than reducing the price of your merchandise at the item level. Plus, it’ll expose shoppers to more of your stock. You might also consider running an Order Discount Offer in Seller Hub, if it makes sense. This will help you move more inventory. If you don’t have an eBay Stores subscription, try sending slow-selling items to auction. Just start an item at $.99 and see what happens.
3. Create an ad and celebrate your sales event via social media. Letting all of your followers know about your big blowout sale event or Order Discount Offer via your social media accounts is much more efficient than listing individual items. Think like a department store and create a simple Facebook, Twitter or Instagram ad that links directly to your offer. If you don’t have access to a graphic designer to help you with ad creation, you can use one of these easy apps (Typorama is my favorite). If you don’t have an eBay Store, you can create a collection of your $.99 auction items and promote it via your social accounts.
4. Use eBay promoted listings to get more eyeballs on your items. If you’re looking to liquidate multi-quantity merchandise, use promoted listings to get more exposure for your items. You can set up ads in minutes and boost your item visibility by 30%*. Since you only pay when an item sells, you can’t really lose. Plus, depending on your Store level, you might already have access to a quarterly promoted listings credit. And, here’s a fun little tip: you can use promotions and promoted listings together, for even more impact.
5. Donate your items to charity. If you’ve done all of the above and your items still aren’t moving, give them to charity. They’re holding you back from next-level success. Slow-moving items can be like emotional baggage. It feels good to let them go and open up the space for something that makes you feel energized. Plus, depending on your situation, you might benefit from the tax deduction.
If you end up feeling specifically attached to anything during your new year liquidation routine, remember it’s just business. There’s a reason why big department stores run clearance sales in the new year—they’re making room for bigger and better things.
Have tips of your own for moving stale merchandise? Share your expertise in the comments below.
*Based on data from May through June, 2016. Measured on 40,000 listings that had sales before they were promoted and had promoted listing sales after they were promoted. Results for individual sellers may vary depending on their category.
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