5 Creative Ways to Get Rid of Excess or Damaged Inventory

What do you do if you order 100 widgets, but you’re only able to sell 50? Maybe they are a seasonal item, they have been damaged, or they are now obsolete. Whatever the case is, you’re stuck with a bunch of items that are just taking up space on your shelves.

What can you do to get them out the door and make room for better-performing inventory? Here are five surprisingly simple ways:

1. Offer Discounts

Lemon juicer, Fishbowl BlogThis is the most obvious way to move products. Let the Invisible Hand do its magic. If products aren’t selling at a certain price, try offering a temporary discount to see what price customers will accept. You can see an example of this strategy at work with candy after a holiday passes. At first, it’s discounted a small amount, but then it gets cheaper and cheaper until every piece is sold.

2. Donate It to Charity

If you prefer a more philanthropic approach, you can donate products that aren’t selling well to a charitable organization. Bakeries often give expired (but still edible) pastries and other foods to homeless shelters or other worthy causes to help the poor. Perishable items will do a lot more good in those places than they would in a landfill. And you can get a nice tax benefit for these donations.

3. Tweet About It

Twitter is a remarkable tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, e.g., chatting with friends, reporting news, and communicating with customers. Many companies don’t realize they could use Twitter to sell products. From time to time, you can send a tweet with a special deal on certain products. Be sure to give a sense of urgency by noting that inventory is limited, and it’s only available for a short time.

4. Reward Your Customers

Get your customers’ email addresses or other contact information and periodically send them information on extra or slightly damaged products that they can get for cheap. This allows you to stay in contact with them and it could make them want to return to your store more frequently in search of deals.

5. Reuse Parts

Manufacturers may be able to disassemble a product and use its parts in other products that are in high demand. This wouldn’t work as well for food producers, but it could be helpful for makers of electronics and other items that are relatively easy to take apart.

I hope you find these tips helpful in your business. Damaged or slow-moving inventory doesn’t have to be a total loss. There are plenty of ways to still put it to good use. It just takes a little creativity.

FYI, if you’d like to see how to reduce the number of overstocks you experience, you may want to check out inventory control software. It can help you balance your inventory levels, plan ahead for seasonal adjustments in demand, and organize your warehouse to reduce lost or damaged products.

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About Robert Lockard

Robert Lockard is a copywriter with Fishbowl. He writes for several blogs about inventory management, manufacturing, QuickBooks and small business. Fishbowl Inventory is the #1-requested inventory management software for QuickBooks users. Robert enjoys running, reading, writing, spending time with his wife and children, and watching movies. His favorite movies include Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Fiddler on the Roof, Back to the Future and Lawrence of Arabia.
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