If you run a hardware store, you’ll know the importance of sourcing your stock from a reputable, reliable and reasonably-priced supplier. Hardware retail is a specialist trade, with customers who usually know exactly what they want – especially if they’re in the various trades that utilize hardware stores, wholesalers and suppliers.
With customers knowing the market and knowing the prices they expect to pay for goods, how do you stay one step ahead of your competitors, keep your prices low and still maximize your margins in what is a highly competitive retail environment?
To many, the answer is to cast their nets wider than just purchasing from local suppliers and traditional wholesalers by using the services of a liquidation business too.
First of all, let’s quickly establish what liquidation is before explaining how it can benefit your hardware business.
In a nutshell, top-tier liquidators work with some of the biggest retailers and manufacturers in the country, providing a platform where they can dispose of stock they no longer want for a wide variety of reasons. Ranging from customer returns to seasonal closeouts, a liquidator works with big names retailers to supply businesses such as wholesalers, store owners, flea marketers and online retailers with top-quality liquidated stock at prices more traditional wholesalers struggle to match.
At first glance, it might not be immediately apparent what a liquidator can supply to a hardware retailer, but there are in fact several different types of products a liquidator can supply. These are:
Every year, hundreds of thousands of items are returned to stores up and down the land by customers for a whole variety of reasons. These returned items include tools by some of the major tool manufacturers such as Black & Decker, Stanley and Bositich.
No longer able to classify these tools as new – despite the fact in a lot of cases they are new – retailers look to offload these returns as quickly as possible to free up valuable warehouse and store shelf space. Thus, the retailers use a liquidator’s online marketplace to sell these unwanted returns through to businesses such as hardware stores.
Buying customer returns wholesale is a great way to get high-quality, nearly new tools and other hardware accessories at prices often way below what a traditional wholesale supplier can offer.
Liquidators offer a huge range of refurbished goods on their websites. When it comes to hardware, you’ll find a large range of reconditioned power tools, lawn mowers, leaf blowers, etc. on a liquidators site, in untested or tested pallets graded from ‘A’ to ‘C’. The grading system is there to inform the customer what condition the refurbished products will be in. Grade ‘A’ is classed as ‘as-new’ or ‘nearly-new’, and will be restored to manufacturer specs and come in either the original packaging or plain or brown packaging.
Grade ‘B’ is merchandise that shows slight damage such as scuffs and light scratches, and grade ‘C’ merchandise shows noticeable damage. Both of these grades have also been brought back up to manufacturer spec, come with original or alternate packaging, and all grades come with brand new accessories, original instructions and a 90-day warranty.
Buying pallets of refurbished hardware is a great way of obtaining top quality, cheap wholesale merchandise at a budget price that will suit those of your customers looking to cut costs, or who are simply out to bag a bargain.
If you run a hardware store, there’s a good chance you’ll also run a hardware repairs and spares service alongside retailing. If that’s the case, buying merchandise categorized as ‘Tested-Not-Working’ from a liquidator might be a good idea as it’s a great way of obtaining the parts you need to bring not only customers’ items back up to working order, but also items you have purchased yourself that are currently not in working condition.
Oftentimes, hardware is sold in ‘untested’ pallets. This usually means that alongside ‘as new’ merchandise, there will be broken or unusable hardware, such as power tools returned by customers that does not work. These items can be broken down to repair other tools in a pallet, thus increasing the amount of stock you’ll have to sell.
Buying not-working products from online wholesale suppliers such as liquidators is therefore a great way to maximize your profits by bringing broken hardware back into use that can then be sold on to your customers.
As we explained at the start of this article, it’s a competitive world out there. With margins growing ever tighter as more and more people and companies take advantage of the online retail space to compete with established stores and businesses, it’s never been more important to get your purchasing decisions right.
There was a time when a hardware store bought directly from a wholesaler – usually locally – and negotiated as good a supply deal as they could get, usually getting a better deal after showing a sufficient amount of loyalty. This worked well when wholesale prices were much lower than retail prices, but with the two almost on a par with one another nowadays, things aren’t quite so cut and dried.
Indeed, if you’re relying solely on a traditional wholesaler, your business may well be falling behind. If you’re to stay ahead of the game and keep your bottom line nice and healthy, it’s imperative that you consider buying merchandise by the pallet from a supplier who can offer you the top-quality products your customers require at prices that’ll make it easier to compete, and still leave you with a healthy profit at the end of the day.
This is why it’s important for hardware retailers to cast their nets wider. Be that by looking for suppliers further afield who can supply bulky products such as lawn mowers cheaper than local wholesalers, or by using the services of an online liquidator. As we have demonstrated, there are various lines of merchandise a liquidator can supply your hardware business with. So why not check out an online liquidation marketplace such as Direct Liquidation and see what they have to offer?
It may be the best decision you make all year.
Direct Liquidation is a goTRG company.
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Bid on bulk quantities of returned, overstock and refurbished inventory directly from Walmart
stores and Walmart.com.