Which Retail Store Returns Should I Buy To Resell And Why?

If you’re considering starting up a retail business or you have an existing business and are looking to increase your product ranges with a reliable source of cheap wholesale merchandise, you should consider buying retail store returns from a top-tier liquidator. Here we take a look at what retail store returns you should buy and why.

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The Advantages Of Buying Retail Store Returns

  • Retail store returns are much cheaper to buy from liquidators.
  • The peace of mind of knowing you’re buying goods coming from some of the biggest retailers in the United States.
  • Merchandise across a broad range of categories that allows you to tap into a large customer base.
  • Hundreds of brands and products to choose from.
  • The opportunity to upgrade retail store returns, thus increasing their value and your potential profits.

What Are Retail Store Returns?

Every month, customers across the United States return products to major US retailers for a variety of reasons. Products are returned because they’re either slightly or very visibly damaged, because they’re faulty, because they don’t live up to the customers’ expectations, because they don’t fit, or because the customer changes his or her mind about a purchase and takes a brand new product back to the retailer. Believe it or not, some products are even returned because the packaging the product comes in is damaged.

Whatever the reasons products are returned, the result is always the same – the retailers regularly find themselves in possession of products they can no longer sell full price, even when those items are still technically brand new. If a solution for this problem were not found quickly and regularly, these returns would quickly clog up valuable warehouse space, and that’s space that the retailers want to use to house products they can sell full price. To prevent this happening, the retailers sell off their returns in bulk lots to liquidators.

Buying Retail Store Returns

The best place to source the cheapest supplies of retail store returns is from a top-tier liquidation specialist like Direct Liquidation.

Top-tier liquidators have both the financial muscle and storage and distribution capacity and capability to handle large quantities of merchandise. This means many of the larger US retailers prefer them to handle the sale and distribution of their returns, or to sell to them as a first preference because liquidators both buy in bulk and frequently. They also buy at a considerable discount because the retailers wish to resell their returns quickly. Liquidators then pass those savings on to their business customers, making purchasing boxloads, pallets and truckloads of retail store returns from liquidators one of the most cost-effective ways for resellers to get hold of wholesale merchandise.

Buying from a liquidator couldn’t be simpler. If you wish to purchase customer returns from Direct Liquidation, for example, all you’ll need to do is sign up for a free account here. Once You’re always free to explore the site to see what Direct Liquidation has to offer. Boxloads, pallets and truckloads can be bought via live auctions which take place on our online marketplace daily, or they can in many cases be bought for a fixed price.

Once you’ve bought a boxload, pallet or truckload of retail store returns form Direct Liquidation, all that’s left to do is pay and arrange shipping. On that note, if you can pick up your purchase yourself, that’s great news as it will dramatically cut down your shipping costs. However, if you do need to arrange shipping, before engaging the services of a third party you should check out what Direct Liquidation charges. Often, Direct Liquidation can ship your goods to an address of your choice cheaper than a third party courier can, thus saving you even more money.

Of course, before you purchase returns from Direct Liquidation, you’ll first need to work out what it is you should be buying and why.

Choosing The Right Returns And Why

If you’re looking to start selling returns or are thinking of adding a line of returns to your existing retail business, you’ll want to know what are the best returns to buy to attract the largest number of customers and maximize profits.

As you know, there are a bewildering amount of consumer products on sale out there, from the latest fashions to household goods, from consumer electronics to outdoor products. Name it, and you’ll probably find a product related to it, so what exactly should you be looking out for and why? Here we take a look at the main items you should look out for when sourcing returns for your reselling business:

Consumer Electronics

By far the biggest category of retail store returns are consumer electronics. Year on year, more and more Americans prefer to buy electronics online, which means this is a great market to get into, especially if you have a good range of products attractively priced to tempt a wide range of customers on a variety of budgets. By buying pallets of untested, tested and refurbished electronics from Direct Liquidation, you’ll ensure you have a good range of products you can sell at a variety of price points depending on the grade, make and age of the products. On Direct Liquidation’s online marketplace, you’ll find Walmart, Lowe’s, Target and Amazon returns from manufacturers such as Apple, Microsoft, Sony, Samsung, LG, HP, Google and many more, as well as popular own brand products such as Walmart’s Blackweb and Amazon’s Basics ranges.

Not every customer in the country has money to burn on the latest gadgets and gizmos, which is why buying and selling retail store electronics returns is a great business model. By offering big name electronics for a good price, you’ll attract customers who are looking for brand name electronics, but don’t want to break the bank while doing so.

Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

Another big seller is clothing, shoes and accessories. We all need to wear stuff, and we’ll never stop needing to do so for our entire lives, so clothes, shoes and accessories is very much a retail market that’s here to stay. Customers return huge amounts of clothing, shoes and accessories to the big name retailers every month, and unlike electricals where quite a lot of items are returned because they’re faulty or damaged in some way, a lot of clothing, shoes and accessories are returned simply because they don’t fit or the customer decides they don’t like the products when they try them on. This means that a lot of the clothing returned to retailers is brand new. 

Resellers can pick up good quality clothing, shoes and accessories from liquidators for a considerable discount and sell them to customers who want clothing, shoes and accessories, but don’t want to pay the earth for the privilege. Clothing, shoes and accessories returns are also great product lines for those looking not only to sell online, but also through local classifieds, via social media outlets such as Facebook Marketplace and through physical stores and flea markets stalls.

Home & Home Improvement

People spend a lot of money on their homes, both improving them and making them look as good as possible. In 2019, Americans spent an eye-watering $400 billion on home improvement alone, and this figure is expected to rise to $450 billion by 2023. That’s an enormous market, and it’s why it’s one you should definitely consider getting into. Thanks to the fact Direct Liquidation sells boxloads, pallets and truckloads of products from Lowe’s Hardware, you’ll find a huge range of home improvement products on sale on our site, as well as a great range of homeware products coming from companies such as Walmart and Target.

Toys & Games

Toy sales in the United States in 2019 generated a whopping $20.9 billion in 2019. That’s a huge market, and while the yearly figures may fluctuate, it’s a market and a customer base that’s never going to go away because people are always going to have kids and those kids are always going to want toys to play with. On Direct Liquidation’s online liquidation marketplace you’ll find toys and games available to buy for a fraction of their MSRP value from some of the leading players in the toys and games industry such as Disney, Fisher Price and Mattel.

Movies, Computer Games & Music

We may live in an age of streaming, but that doesn’t mean Americans have completely turned their backs on physical copies of movies, computer games and music. While we may be long past physical sales’ heyday where 900 million CDs were sold in 2000, for example, there’s still plenty of life in the old dog yet, with 2019 seeing 45.6 million sales. DVDs, Blu-Rays, games and CDs are cheap, easy to store, easy to ship and still popular enough and listed at a decent enough price to make a profit, so it’s definitely a market that’s still worth considering, despite the dominance of streaming services.

Outdoors, Sports and Fitness

Sports and fitness sales exceeded $5.2 billion in 2017, and the figures have been growing steadily ever since. More and more Americans are discovering the benefits of exercise, with fast food sales plummeting at the same time sports and fitness sales rise and gym memberships explode. There’s never been a better time to get into sports and fitness retail, and a liquidator can provide you with all the clothing and equipment you’ll need to start a successful sports, fitness and outdoors retail business for a fraction of the price.

Drones and Quadcopters

It may at first seem like a bit of a niche market, but in reality drone and quadcopter sales are expected to top $100 billion this year. Granted, the vast majority of those sales are military, but there’s still a $13 billion and growing commercial market to tap into. This means now is the time to consider selling quadcopters and drones to an increasing number of customers who want to get into this fun new hobby, but don’t want to break the bank doing so.

Add Value To Your Retail Store Returns

Once you’ve set your mind on what it is you want to sell and you’ve bought a pallet, boxload or truckload of retail returns, the next thing you’ll want to do is add as much value as you possibly can to maximize your profits. Here are a few handy tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of wholesale products you buy from a liquidator:

Sort & Bundle

If your boxload, pallet or truckload does not come with a manifest, you’ll first need to sort through your purchase to see what you’ve got. Once that’s done, the next thing to do is to see what products naturally go together and can be bundled into multibuy offers. Customers find multibuy bundles very attractive, and bundled products sold at the right price can add value to the boxloads, pallets and truckloads you purchase from Direct Liquidation.

Refurbish & Repair

If the returns you’ve bought haven’t already been refurbished or repaired by Direct Liquidation, you’ll want to look into the feasibility and price of having them done so by a third party, or, if you’re tech savvy, of taking on the job yourself. On average, a pallet of returned electronics will give a 70-75% out of the box ‘hit rate’, meaning that they’ll be ready for sale immediately. Other products will need to be either refurbished or repaired, set aside to be used for spares at a later date, or scrapped. Refurbishing and repairing faulty returns is a great way of adding value to your wholesale returns purchases, so try to repair as much as you can, but don’t forget to make sure that the costs of repairing and refurbishing don’t cost much that you won’t be able to make a profit from their sale.


One of the simplest ways to add value to your returns is re-accessorizing. If anything’s missing that should have originally come with the products such as chargers and headphones, like-for-like replacements can be picked up online relatively cheaply. Customers prefer complete products and will pay more for them, so be sure to re-accessorize to add that little bit more value before reselling.


One easy way of adding value to your products is by replacing any spoiled packaging with pristine new replacements. Either try and get hold of original packaging or replace with good quality plain white or brown packaging. Customers prefer good quality packaging, and the better the presentation, the more value is added to products.

Inspect & Grade

You’ll also want to test and grade your pallet of retail store returns – in particular electronic returns. When grading products, it’s easiest to apply an A-C system of grading as follows:

Grade A

Grade A merchandise should be in perfect condition. It should be brought back to original manufacturer’s specifications and come with all original or like-for-like replacement accessories. It should come in either pristine original packaging or good-quality replacement white or brown replacement packaging, and it should come with all original documentation minus the original manufacturer’s warranty. Instead, you should consider offering your own warranty to give your customers extra peace of mind – a 90-day warranty is standard.

Grade B

Grade B merchandise is as above, but will bear slight, superficial damage such as light foxing, scratches and dents.

Grade C

Grade C merchandise is as above, only the product will display very visible signs of damage, such as highly noticeable scratches and dents. While the cheapest of all the grades, grade C merchandise appeals to customers on tighter budgets and those who don’t care about the cosmetic condition of products as long as they work.

Buying and selling retail store returns can be a great way of making money. As long as you buy from the right supplier at the lowest possible price, know which returns to buy and why and make sure you add as much value to your wholesale purchases, you should hopefully be able to make a very healthy profit on these types of goods. If you’re looking to start buying and selling retail store returns, why not check out what Direct Liquidation can do for you? We’re looking forward to doing business with you.

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