How can eCommerce stores convert slow-moving or excess inventory into cash post-Holiday Rush?

By Mahek Tandon
29 December, 2022

The holiday season is inarguably the busiest time of the year for e-commerce businesses. But once the holiday season rush is over, a new challenge often awaits retailers – leftover inventory, and the storm of returns. If not tackled in advance, slow-moving inventory can mess up your cash flow or revenue big time while taking up valuable space in your warehouse. The post-holiday season can be frustrating and difficult to deal with. But, don’t stress since the problem of slow-moving and excess inventory happens to every retailer sometimes even after accurately forecasting sales – that’s how unpredictable e-commerce is.

However, merchants can use this time to their benefit. Clearing out the leftover stock as quickly as possible rather than clinging on to it is critically important for your business to have a good head start to the new year. Use these strategies to get rid of your inventory and make the best out of end-year sales:

Create Product Bundles

From McDonald’s happy meal to Mac’s Lipstick Trio to Microsoft office suite, some things just go well when bundled together. That explains why product bundling has been one of the most effective marketing practices used across various industries like lifestyle, food & beverage, cosmetics, etc. Research by Procedia Computer Science shows that bundling products result in higher profits for the retailer as well as greater savings for the consumer. 

When it comes to reducing excess inventory, bundling is the best method to go about it. Offering a curated collection of products grouped for a cheaper price than if they were sold individually – not only makes the customer feel good about getting a great bargain & but also leads them to try new products.

On the flip side, for merchants – it’s a cross-selling tactic that’s proven to drive more revenue, save more money on distribution and marketing and increase average order value(AOV). Ultimately, a win-win for both the brand and the consumers. Here’s how you can go about bundling: 

Mixed bundling

Mixed bundling involves a package of products that can be bought separately as well. Often, the customer will be able to build their own mix-and-match bundle, helping them feel like they’re in control of the transaction.

For instance, a bundle of soap and shampoo won’t make much sense to a customer but the idea of living a chemical-free lifestyle would. Skinny & Co’s 100% organic cosmetic travel kit does just that. 

Bundle Slow Moving Items With Popular Ones

Bundle popular or trending products with slow-moving products. This can help dispose of the slow-moving inventory more quickly. Additionally, it can also create a sense of value for the customer, as they feel they are getting a good deal by purchasing multiple products at a discounted price. 

For instance, to move its slow-moving product (Pizza Sauce), Shangrila bundled it together with its bestselling sauces (tomato ketchup and Chilli Garlic sauce) and successfully increased sales without spending marketing bucks on it separately.

Pure Bundling 

The products in a pure bundle can’t be bought separately; they only exist within the bundle. Often, products that are typically offered in bundles and are rarely available separately are one-time-purchase items and multipart sets, like a curling iron with several detachable wands.

Cross-sell bundling 

This is about bundling in a complementary product, often with a higher-priced item, such as when you buy a new smartphone and the retailer chucks in a case or a pair of headphones.

Have A Sale & Offer Discounts 

The most effective way to clear out inventory is to give mega discounts on old and excess stock. Why mega, you may ask? Well, that’s because you need to create demand for low selling products. Consider offering discounts between 35-70%. Even though your margins may get smaller, it’s still way better to have deadstock sitting around & holding back your crucial inventory space.

Clearance Sale

Post-holiday season is the best opportunity to put out any items that haven’t sold in the past 3-6 months and get them out the door. Launch a clearance sale and build urgency or FOMO by adding a limited time angle, which makes flash sales a slam dunk way to convert some sales. Create excitement through powerful emails and social media messaging a few days before the sale along with reminders. Here’s how Nordstrom Rack is strategically using a flash sale to make more space at the warehouse:

Seasonal Sale

A change in the season may mean that your product line is changing as well. This is a great time to market towards the bargain hunters who are actively looking for deals and to make room for seasonal stock on your site. 

For instance, Bloom & Wild’s V-Day is the perfect example of leveraging key dates and seasonal events to clear out stock fast. It encourages customers to add a box of fancy chocolates to their flower purchase at a low cost compared to buying them separately and help the customers with creating a more “thoughtful” V-Day gift. 

End-of-season sale

This helps get rid of certain things before they become harder to move. Put seasonal items on sale at a huge discounts to encourage bargain shoppers to buy the inventory. This also makes room for the next seasonal inventory you want to bring in.

Bulk Discounts

A BOGO (buy one, get one) sale is great, but consider going further or getting more creative. For instance, offer progressive discounts where buyers get 30% off if they buy three units, 40% if they buy four, or 50% if they buy five or more.

Bulk discounts may encourage customers to buy more than they planned to, trimming down your excess inventory.

Offer free shipping 

To move items faster, offer free shipping. Your customers are more likely to make a purchase if they don’t have to pay for shipping. In fact, 47% of customers say free shipping could impact their buying decision (NPD). In another study by Forrester, 61% of customers say they would only buy from a store that offers free shipping. 

It’s evident that customers appreciate free shipping so much that it impacts their buying decisions. So, offering it can make them more likely to purchase as it reduces the perceived cost of purchasing an item. 

Use Products as an Incentive 

Incentivize shoppers to increase order size by offering products that are low selling or low cost as a freebie. If you find that an item is very difficult to sell, then try using it as an incentive for your shoppers to take action. Small incentives can be very powerful when it comes to driving the desired results Example: “Spend $100 or more and receive a free Journal!” 

Incentive shoppers to subscribe to emails since email is the top channel for sales converting at a 4X higher rate than others. Present an offer for a gift with purchase to shoppers on your site. “Subscribe to our newsletter and receive a free pair of socks with your purchase!” This is not only an incentive to subscribe to emails but also an incentive to purchase. Build your email list and flush your excess inventory with this simple promotion. Need an email capture solution? Look no further than Justuno’s email pop-ups, exit pop-ups, and sign-up bars.

Remarket

One way to sell out leftover inventory is to remarket it because there are always some customers who are late to the party. You can start by setting up a remarketing campaign and make sure to follow these steps:

If Nothing Works….

Liquidate

Liquidation can be another way to clear the leftover stock as it allows your brand to sell off excess or slow moving inventory in order to generate cash and maintain profitability. However, liquidation should be considered as a last resort for clearing leftover inventory and addressing financial stability. For liquidating, check out some B2B bulk marketplaces you can sell to. Oftentimes, many companies survive solely on liquidation, and this could be a great business opportunity in terms of building connections too. 

Conclusion 

Excess and old inventory is inevitable. However, if you’re a savvy retailer, you must identify the strategies to turn your inventory into cash. The tactics we shared above should help you clear your shelf space and score some profits in the process.


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