A reader recently asked where to purchase irregular or returned merchandise from vendors.
This is a tough one as vendors have many avenues they use to get rid of such merchandise.
The first is that they own their own outlet stores and send all of their irregular or returned merchandise that’s sellable there.
Secondly, they send it to no frills discount chains like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and the like.
Third, vendors often have skus that they overproduced or are slow sellers. They typically offer retailers deals on this type of merchandise to move it. While they aren’t seconds or irregular, they are offered at a steep discount.
There are a couple ways to get your hands on the merchandise though.
- Check out eBay. Vendors do use the site to dump quantities of merchandise.
- Find a merchandise clearing house (some call it a merchandise diverter). They typically buy returned or damaged merchandise and resell it at a steep discount. They are tough to find but they’re out there.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Retailer be warned! Steer clear unless you’re specifically set up to operate as a store that sells seconds and irregular merchandise.
Many retailers see buying such merchandise as an opportunity to boost their margin and profitability. But this type of merchandise doesn’t mix with a well-respected retailing concept. And dipping your toe into the murky waters of the grey or black market isn’t worth the potential gain unless you’re specifically set up as retailer that focuses on this type of product. It’s like a drug, and before you know it, you’ll be buying more and more of this type of merchandise at the expense of your regular merchandise.
Don’t get caught in the middle. Manufacturers that find that their products have been diverted (or dumped) onto the grey market will come down hard on retailers who sell it. Often, they will blacklist the retailer and no longer sell them their regular catalog of merchandise.
It’s a slippery slope. So don’t start heading down the hill unless you’re prepared to bounce off the obstacles along the way.