With Amazon tightening up it’s policies, restricting brands and requiring manufacturer approval or brand ownership, many new as well as seasoned sellers have become worried about where to offload product they were once approved to sell. In addition, no matter your level of expertise with selling through the Amazon marketplace, everyone makes bad buys from time to time resulting in stale inventory that doesn’t seem to move anymore. Very experienced sellers know that there are many options for moving that inventory, breaking even or even churning out a profit.
Let’s start with Amazon itself. While for restricted brands you’ll need to remove the inventory, the most obvious way to push out stale product is by lowering the price. However, we’ve all noticed sellers that are willing to price so low that the Amazon fees surpass the payout. Note that there are much better options to consider.
First, consider upgrading your seller account to a Unified Account enabling you to sell on the Canadian & Mexican Amazon sites. There is no fee for the upgrade however, it appears at this time to only be compatible with merchant fulfilled stock. Either way, by expanding your potential buyer audience you can potentially unload more product. On the other hand if you really don’t care about that product or it’s close to expiration etc. then create a disposal order. However, for most items creating a removal order instead will allow you to funnel that product into a few others marketplaces thus recouping your money or even turning a profit. Along with having those removed items sent to your home consider other options like changing the removal address to a local charity or an online liquidator or auction site that agrees to take unwanted FBA items and consign them for you.
So let’s say you’ve created a removal order. Perhaps the items were slow moving and gathering LTS fees, the brands became restricted or the items have damaged packaging, etc. Don’t immediately dispose of the items. As there are many options for making money off those items still. Some of the options are a bit more labor intensive while others are simple and quick. The channel you choose depends on your budget, business model and availability of time.
The go-to channel for unloading Amazon inventory is of course eBay. With many Amazon seller’s prior experience originating from selling on eBay, it’s the most widely utilized channel for selling your Amazon inventory as well. Whether the item is severely damaged, mint condition or even missing parts, this is an excellent marketplace for ridding your inventory of those items. If you want to step up your game even more, you can also cross-market your current Amazon inventory on eBay using a program like Joelister. This program syncs inventory between the two and even automatically fulfills your eBay orders with your inventory at the Amazon warehouses. It should be noted that there are fees involved in both selling on eBay and cross-marketing and listing with Joelister, as well as pick & pack fees involved in the use of Amazon’s multi-channel fulfillment to fulfill non-Amazon orders.
Bonanza is very similar to eBay but with less traffic. You can open an account for free and the beauty of this channel is that with a simple click of a button it will import all of your eBay listings and sync the inventory levels. The drawbacks includes slower sales and slow syncing (so if you sell something on Bonanza make sure to double check that it’s accounted for within eBay).
TrueGether is yet another option that is similar to Bonanza but is a bit more advanced. It too offers single button syncing with your eBay store and/or your Amazon store. It’s free to open an account and for a monthly fee you can also offer your items on Google Shopping. I’ve yet to form a firm opinion on the benefits or consequences of the site as I only recently signed up but it’s definitely worth some further exploration.
While Etsy will primarily be for pre-owned or new old stock vintage items, there are however Amazon-type items that can be sold here as well. Vintage books & electronics (that are sold on Amazon) would be eligible for listing on Etsy as well as any of your products that can be used for making crafts or creating projects of any type (woodworking tools, fabric, yarn, beads, etc).
Other Large Marketplaces
According to their site: “Rakuten.com is a marketplace with a mission to deliver an outstanding shopping experience and offer a broad selection of products to discover and purchase. We empower retailers to build individual relationships and go the extra mile for their customers. We are located in California, USA and are a division of Rakuten Inc. (4755: TOKYO), one of the world’s leading Internet service companies.”
It’s fairly easy to apply and gain acceptance for selling on Rakuten using your EIN number.
To the amazement of many shoppers, Walmart does indeed approve 3rd party sellers. I’m currently going through the process myself and much more detail is required to gain acceptance. The most significant agreement you must make with them is to NOT use Amazon multi-channel fulfillment as they do not want customers receiving merchandise in Amazon branded boxes (as they are a competitor). So I had to ensure that they would be fulfilled here from my warehouse or by a processing center using unbranded boxing.
“Newegg Inc. is a leading online retailer committed to becoming the most loved and trusted marketplace on the web. We tirelessly pursue these goals by offering a superior shopping experience, rapid delivery and stellar customer service.
With more than 10.5 million products and an award-winning website, Newegg proudly earns the loyalty of tech-enthusiasts and mainstream e-shoppers alike. We equip our customers with state-of-the-art decision-making resources such as detailed product information, “how-to’s,” over 3 million customer reviews and high-resolution photo galleries. We offer our customers peace of mind with lightning-fast delivery and cutting-edge logistics.”
I’ve applied as a re-seller for Newegg but as of the time of this post I haven’t yet heard from them, leading me to believe it may be more difficult to gain approval to sell on their site.
Just as buyers often think that purchasing on the Walmart website means they’re buying from Walmart, so to do they also think that of the Sears & Kmart Platforms. I’ve noticed many other 3rd party sellers on the site but unfortunately at this time they’ve suspended the acceptance of new applications while they refine the approval process. It’s worth looking into down the road as another way to unload inventory, expand your business or even as a back-up marketplace in case a leg of your business such as your Amazon account goes under.
Other Online Options
There are several other less labor intensive options for getting rid of inventory as well. One option would be to use online consignment stores such as Linda’s Stuff or The Real Real. Both are great for high end clothing, shoes and handbags. Linda’s stuff has a HUGE online consignment store run through eBay. Of all of your consignment options they pay the most but unfortunately you might have to wait several months for a payout and the brands they will accept are very limited, expensive brands. They do allow you to send in 5 boxes at a time – no more than 20 lbs per box (prepaid postage). After they are processed and listed on eBay you can send in additional boxes. The Real Real has it’s own long-standing, well known website also offering consignment of high end items.
Two other relatively painless online consignment companies include ThredUp and Swap. With ThredUp you order a “Clean Out Kit” consisting of a large poly bag. They used to offer free prepaid shipping but too many sellers were abusing the offer by sending in total junk. Now the shipping fee will be deducted from your sales (minimal, flat rate fee). You can usually stuff 30-35 items in it, if you’re proficient at packing. They only accept women’s and children’s clothing and the website does mention that on average they accept or pay you for around 40% of what you send in. You can also choose donation or return (for a fee) of unaccepted items. They’ll send you a receipt for your tax records if you do choose to donate.
Swap is yet another online option. “Swap.com is the fastest growing online consignment and thrift store in the United States. With over 1,000,000 unique items available from our inventory, we offer the largest selection of used baby, kid’s, maternity, women’s and men’s clothes and accessories at great prices up to 95% off retail prices.” They will send you a shipping label and they accept a wide variety of items (not just shoes and clothing but also toys, baby gear, sporting goods, movies and books). They photograph the items for you and allow you to review and price them yourself.
While I live in a fairly rural area there are still a multitude of local options for unloading excess inventory. Look online, in the newspaper and even on local store bulletin boards for some of the options listed below.
Every town, city or village will have consignments shops of some sort relatively nearby. While some will only pay you after the items sell, many will pay out immediate cash. Look for chain stores such as Once Upon a Child (children’s clothing, shoes, gear and toys), Plato’s Closet (teen, young adults) & the Clothes Mentor (adults) who accept mid-range brands (they post accepted brands on their websites) and pay you on the spot. If you really want to get the most bang for your buck you could take the items they don’t accept and drag them over to a different store as many times they have locations in close vicinity to one another. In addition, look for other niche consignment shops. Our local area has one that specializes in home goods.
Have a yard or garage sale to unload some of your stock. My least favorite option because of the amount of work that can be involved, however, if you schedule it during a period when your area is holding a city-wide or town-wide yard sale you can really get rid of a lot of product. Be strategic with advertisement too. Do not expect people to show up. Ads are quite affordable and should be used to inform customers that you have new, quality products for sale at incredible prices. List some of the brands as well.
Many re-sellers may have gotten their start selling at the Flea Market. However, if you’re like me you might enjoy shopping them but want nothing to do with selling at them. Look for other options like indoor flea markets where booths are manned by in-house staff and you simply need to set up your booth, pay them a rental fee and then collect checks.
Many re-sellers use Craig’s List as a side hustle already. Utilize the site to get rid of expensive pieces, bulk units, even expired items. People go there looking for everything from new items to damaged items they can repair and resell themselves.
Every location has auction houses nearby. Some specialize in only certain items while others will take just about anything. For example an auction house local to me will sift through items, individually auctioning off the more expensive, quality pieces while auctioning off groups of less valuable items by the box.
If you’ve ever searched your town, surrounding cities or local county names on Facebook you are likely to find a local buy/sell yard sale type of group. It’s just another way to get rid of inventory as well as help hook people up with items they’ve been looking for themselves. It’s often most advantageous to nail down niche FB yard sale groups (for instance focused on baby items) so you have a better chance of getting rid of the items quickly.
Approach Local Businesses
Finally, don’t be afraid to approach local businesses that may offer to buy the items from you. You’re bound to have local scratch & dent stores, mom & pop stores and niche businesses you can form relationships with in an effort to offload inventory that they may take an interest in.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of options available to us as re-sellers looking to get rid of inventory that is restricted, slow moving or damaged. If you’re a high volume seller who is short on time and would rather donate the items and take the tax write-off, by all means do what works for you. However, if you’re a new seller or one working with a limited budget do not panic over returns, bad buys and restricted brands. Instead, proactively seek out one of the channels I’ve outlined. You might just find that it also becomes another profitable division of your business.
Brianna Moller Greene
Co-owner of Elite Product Sourcing: www.eliteproductsourcing.com
At Elite Product Sourcing we offer an array of services to aid Amazon FBA sellers in locating products to purchase and reseller in various online marketplaces. Our staff is comprised of part-time and full-time Amazon and eBay sellers with extensive experience in selling products in online marketplaces. With over 30 years of active experience and millions of dollars in sales, our product finding specialists are extremely well versed in analyzing marketplace trends and locating profitable products.
Co-owner of VA Rentals: www.va.rentals
Whether you have a small or large job you need to accomplish you can “rent” one of our VA’s services for a wide variety of tasks. We currently have VAs available for Merch by Amazon t-shirt designs and for OA product sourcing. And soon we will have options available for creating new listings, Amazon account maintenance, filing for reimbursements, SEO/keyword optimization and website design. Our VA team is ready and waiting to help you grow & automate your business. Time equals money so do yourself a favor and outsource.