How to Sell Liquidation Items

Reselling liquidation merchandise is different from selling on brand-new items from a traditional wholesaler. But how do you sell on these items? What are the top tips for selling liquidation items? We explore the best ways for you to manage these items, and give you the best chance to make a profit.

Top Tips For Selling Liquidation Items

  • Research the market: there is no point in buying products to then try to sell them in a saturated market unless you can undercut the competition.
  • Know your products: this will enable you to present the products in the best way and highlight their selling points.
  • Work with items you have interest in – this will help you to become more knowledgeable about the products, their selling points, and their flaws, It will also help if you have experience of the current market.
  • Understand product conditions, especially the grading of refurbished items, and how the condition affects the product value.
  • Refurbish, repair or combine products as a lot of value can be added to items that are often considered scrap.
  • Inspect the products you purchase and evaluate the condition of every item. What can you get for these items, with the condition they are in? Search for similar items for sale elsewhere.
  • Evaluate shipping costs and establish contacts with couriers that may offer you lower shipping rates if you commit to a partnership. Always work with a reputable company.
  • Be responsive to your customers, and make sure you provide the best service that will have your customers return for new orders.
  • Use multiple platforms. Selling only on one platform such as your own website means you are not getting the most exposure for your items. Use Amazon, eBay and similar platforms to their full extent.

Buying products for your business through an online liquidation marketplace, such as Direct Liquidation, is a great way of sourcing quality merchandise at affordable prices.

How to buy, what to buy, and where to buy has been discussed in detail in other articles. Here we are going to focus on what you should do you do with this merchandise once you buy it, especially if you are just starting your business.

No matter what you want to sell, advertising it online, at the right price and in the right market is the way to go, whether you own a brick-and-mortar store or not. E-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon are the perfect platform to sell liquidation items, but there is some preparation that needs to be done beforehand.

Market Research Will Set You on the Right Path

People are often impulsive and it is no different when it comes to buying products. Some things we like and some things we don’t. Getting attached to a specific kind of product can cause issues for the growth of your business, especially if you blindly decide that that is the only type of product you want to deal with. That’s why you need to research the market and let that research inform your decisions regarding what you are going to sell.

There are saturated markets and markets where demand outweighs supply. It is the latter markets you should be looking into, as they will give you the best chance of success. To start, you should make a list of products or items that you would like to work with and would be comfortable buying and selling: items that you have some interest in. This will help you narrow down your options. Working on items you like will keep you motivated; it is also more likely that you will know them better and be keen to learn more about them.

Once you have the list, you should cross check the market dynamics with the products you would like to work with. The best outcome is to find that a product you feel comfortable with is in a market that is not saturated and where competition is not as fierce.This means that you can utilize your reliable source of liquidation items to establish your presence in the market, gather valuable experience in running the business and build a name for yourself, as well as a strong base of loyal customers.

But, what if you are striking out with your list, and the products you have chosen are all within oversupplied or saturated markets? The research should move on with the objective of finding one where the demand outweighs the supply. These are often niche markets, specialist markets that are looking for a certain type of product. It can often be a small part of a larger market, where for example, customers are looking for spare automotive parts, refurbished batteries for laptops, or baby clothing. Once you find your market, check with the liquidator to make sure you will be able to secure an ample supply.

This may bring you out of your comfort zone as you probably would have to deal with a product that you don’t know much about. And that is where the next step comes in.

Know Your Products

You can’t adequately advertise or market a product you know nothing about. If you decide to work in a niche market with products that you are not familiar with, make sure you give yourself time to learn, prepare, and research the potential flaws and pitfalls of these items. Research whether there are known faults, compare prices, research repair costs.

With the downsides covered, make sure you pinpoint the advantages of the products you are going to sell. These may be quality, design, price, or any other factor. Whatever it may be, make sure you highlight it in your listings.

When it comes to listing your products, don’t use just any pictures, but rather pictures that are flattering to your item. If you know nothing about photography, there are plenty of resources out there on how to take good product photos to make the liquidation items you sell more appealing to the eye. If there are any flaws, don’t hide them, as you wouldn’t want the item to be returned to you and buyers asking their money back because you concealed the true condition of a product.

Inspect the Liquidation Items You Buy

Now that you have a product, a market and assuming you have found a reliable supplier of your liquidation items, it is time to start preparing for the sale. While reputable liquidation companies like Direct Liquidation provide you with all the information to know what you are buying and to check the quality and condition of all tested products before the purchase, it would be irresponsible not to check the condition of each item before listing or sale. Some damage might occur during transport and some details may slip through.

Put yourself in the position of a buyer: you wouldn’t like to have any unpleasant surprises upon delivery of an item you have purchased. This is why you should make sure that what you promise in your listing is exactly what you sell.

One way to avoid this is to deal only with reputable liquidators. Liquidation companies like Direct Liquidation provide you with the tools necessary to ensure you are getting quality merchandise. They have also established business relationships with top retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Target and others. And if you don’t trust the manifest that is provided with each batch you buy, be it a pallet or a truckload of merchandise, you can always contact the staff, who should help you find the liquidation items you are looking for.

When it comes to quality, liquidation items are all graded, and you are the one who decides whether you are going to deal with new products, untested, or refurbished customer returns, or even non-functioning products. New products (mostly closeouts and overstock) will certainly come at a higher price point, but tend to have more market appeal and will fetch you more money. However, there are also ways you could earn cash by dealing with liquidation items at the lower end of the quality spectrum, if you are willing to put in some more work to fix faults.

Direct Liquidation sells already refurbished products as well – these are items that have been checked over once they have been returned. Items that are in an as-new condition already make up 70% of our refurbished stock. Any items that need any repair work, will have been fixed, to the manufacturers’ specified standards, before being labeled as refurbished. All of these items may need replacement packaging but will be fully working products.

Refurbish, Repair and Combine Liquidation Items

If you have the technical knowledge and don’t mind putting in some extra work, you could consider buying non-functioning liquidation items to refurbish and repair. This sort of products are at the lower end of the price scale, but you can still make them appealing for your prospective buyers. Often you will be able to find products, especially electronics and tools, that are defunct or have certain faults. The manifest may read ‘Tested – Not Working’, but that does not mean you can’t repair the product.

Again, knowing your products and having the knowledge that enables you to fix something can help you extract value from a pallet of this sort of items. For example, you may buy a pallet of smartphones that have all been tested and are not working. The flaws are unknown, but you already know the weak points of this model and know where to look first once you buy the item.

Once you receive the products, you should inspect them thoroughly and see if all have the same fault, or if maybe the issues are different for each unit. This will allow you to see what you are working with and enable you to use certain items as part donors to repair a number of other units. It is not unusual that, by repairing only a few units, you can get a return on your investment; whatever you then sell on top of it is pure profit. Additionally, you can sell on any remaining parts or keep them to use on another batch of units you buy in the future. It is a risk, but it can come with a high reward. 

Evaluate Shipping Costs

You will also need to do research on shipping costs. There are plenty of shipping companies out there willing to give you a quote for shipping your products. Make sure you compare the prices as well as the service provided by each company. See how that impacts on your pricing. It is essential that you are competitive in the market, but advertising a product at an attractive price only for your profit to be ruined by high shipping costs will not do you any good.

So make sure you work with a reputable company, but also that the shipping costs don’t destroy your market competitiveness.

Be Responsive to Your Customers

The service you provide will be your best advertisement. Not only will you be able to retain customers, but these returning customers will recommend you to others and bring in new customers, therefore spreading your customer base.

If you are asked questions about products, make sure you respond to them in as much detail as you can. If there are issues with an item you sold, do your best to resolve them.

Besides simple answers and problem-solving, add a bit of a personal touch to your interactions with customers to make them more comfortable. A little personal connection can motivate customers to come back.

Use Multiple Platforms to Sell Liquidation Items

This is definitely a very important aspect of the sales process. You may have a physical store and the idea to only sell your merchandise that way. Maybe you have established a website but your presence online is still limited and you are missing out on a lot of exposure if that is the way you plan on doing business. Your chances of success are lower if you don’t explore other markets, and your reach may be local, at best.

To maximise your chances of selling merchandise quickly and starting to generate revenue, you should be present on all platforms and all reputable Ecommerce marketplaces. Look into the terms and requirements and set up profiles. Make sure you cater to the specifics of each platform but do not skip on quality nor shift away from your identity from one platform to another. Your listings should be consistent and the quality is the priority.

You should apply all the pointers given above about presenting your merchandise on every platform. Make sure you provide detailed information, photos and that you are pricing your products adequately. Research your competition. If you want to stand out, and if you’ve done all the steps in the purchasing process correctly, price your products just below the competition. 

These tips will help sell liquidation items online. Make sure you have the right products, that you are operating in a market that is not too competitive and saturated, at least until you build a strong customer base and a name for yourself. Learn as much as possible about your products, advertise them accordingly, inspect them prior to listing and make sure you are responsive to your customers across all the available platforms. This will increase your chances of success. 

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