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Profits in Unlikely Places

Turning profits on bad auctions

When dealing with consumer returns, many often face a variety of emotions when they receive their merchandise. From being pleasantly surprised to discouraged because the merchandise isn’t name-brand as thought, or perhaps the resale value is low. This happens – we know.

In the event of receiving an auction that doesn’t meet your expectations, you still have options to get back your investment and even make a profit.

"One man’s trash is another man’s treasure"

It’s the oldest saying in the book, but it’s so true. Someone, somewhere, wants something, and chances are the ‘low-quality’ items you have in your lot is that something, it just might take a bit longer to find an interested Buyer.

This is expected within the industry – and everyone has been faced with this very situation. Rather than trashing the merchandise for a total loss, give it a chance to sell. More bluntly: just because you can’t sell it for the price you wanted or through your preferred channel doesn’t mean it can’t be sold. Roll up your sleeves and explore other opportunities – perhaps you will find a more profitable channel!

Since the product will most likely sell for a lower cost, avoid selling on eBay, Amazon, and other marketplaces where fees take away from your profits. Sell locally instead with channels like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace or eBay Classifieds. Additionally, since the buyers won’t pay for shipping as it may cost more than the product is worth, selling locally will prevent all parties involved from paying shipping.

Listing online is quick and easy, but don’t forget about local stores in your area – especially the consignment stores. Build a relationship with the store owners by compromising on price, so when you come back with newer/better quality items you can push for a higher return. This may become the outlet to maximize your return with very little effort.

With online and local outlets covered, explore opportunities closer to home – and by that we mean Yard/Garage Sale. Go through your garage, attic, closets and clear out items you no longer want or need and combine it with your auction merchandise. Once you know when you’ll hold your Yard/Garage Sale, post the details on apps like Yard Sale Treasure Map, Garage Sale Map, Garage Sale Rover and others to attract a wider audience. Combine those efforts with local flyers/posters and you’ll have many traffic sources coming to your sale. (Bonus if you can get some of your neighbors in on it for a larger event!).

Just because the merchandise may not meet your usual standard, it doesn’t mean you can skip your usual presentation of the merchandise once it’s sold. Include your business card, nice wrapping, thank you note, or anything else you typically provide to the Buyer. Chances are you’ll have another encounter with a bad auction and you’re going to need these Buyers to sell.

Companies of all sizes struggle at times to sell merchandise, but those with a diverse platform have the best chance of pushing through to brighter days. Popular television shows like “The Profit” and “Billion Dollar Buyer” often comment on having low, moderate and high costs merchandise in their stores for this very reason!

Tossing merchandise into the trash should never be a solution, and urges all buyers to pursue profitable routes first. If you’re unable to sell at any price range, please donate the goods as there are many people in this world in need of all sorts of items – and welcome those products in any condition.

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