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Top 5 Ways for Running Down Old and Excess Inventory

kokou adzo



excess inventory

One of the primary hurdles faced by retailers is dealing with surplus inventory, commonly known as overstocking. The immediate and evident consequence of having excess inventory is the associated costs of storage and space. This leads to a financial setback, as the incurred expenses make it challenging to recover lost revenue. The urgency to sell surplus inventory often necessitates additional time, effort, higher markdowns, and increased expenditures.

Moreover, having capital tied up in overstocked items poses a financial constraint, as the return on investment is delayed until the products are successfully sold. This situation becomes particularly problematic when there are insufficient funds to replace overstocked items with new, potentially profitable products.

Effectively managing surplus inventory is crucial for optimizing profits, surpassing other resource investments that may result in losses. While overstock challenges can arise from uncontrollable factors such as abrupt shifts in consumer preferences or unmet demand forecasts, there are strategies available to address and alleviate excess inventory. This blog will outline five reliable methods to efficiently dispose of surplus inventory.

5 Best Ways to Dispose of Surplus Inventory

1) Product Remarketing

An effective approach to address products or items occupying unnecessary space is through remarketing. When a product experiences lackluster sales, it may not necessarily be a reflection of its quality but rather how it is marketed or positioned within your retail space. Remarketing can be seamlessly implemented to enhance product visibility and appeal.

Simple adjustments, such as relocating overstocked products to more prominent areas, can make a significant impact. Consider strategically placing surplus inventory in brighter sections of the store, including high-traffic zones near the entrance or by rearranging shelf layouts for better pedestrian accessibility. Altering the position not only revitalizes the presentation of merchandise but also has the potential to stimulate increased demand and sales.

Another effective strategy is to showcase these surplus products alongside trendy items and complementary materials, creating a visually appealing display. By associating the overstocked items with more sought-after products, you can generate heightened customer interest and demand. This strategic approach encourages consumers to perceive the product differently, potentially leading to increased acceptance and sales.

2) Use Clearance Sales as an Option

Implementing clearance sales is among the most effective strategies for liquidating overstocked inventory. This method involves showcasing surplus products to consumers with enticing discounts, creating a gradual markdown approach.

Initiating with a 40% discount, you can incrementally increase the offer to 60% or even 80%, captivating potential buyers. By effectively signaling a clearance sale through prominent signage, customers are prepared for discounted pricing, making them more inclined to make purchases.

Clearance sales serve as a beneficial means to swiftly clear excess inventory from shelves without adversely affecting the business. The resulting profits contribute positively to the balance sheets. Moreover, clearance sales need not be limited to physical stores; they can be extended to online platforms such as your website and social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. This multi-channel approach ensures a broader reach for potential buyers.

3) Sell Your Excess Inventory to Liquidation Companies

Liquidation companies are businesses that buy back products that other companies could not sell at meager prices and then resell them under their brand. This means that you will sell your unwanted products at lower prices than you bought them from your original supplier. You will lose some margin, but that’s the price you pay to free up space in your store.

There are many websites where you can quickly sell off your surplus inventory and there are some websites like OverStockTrader who can help you to sell your excess to buyers around the globe.

Alternatively, you may consider returning the products to your vendor or supplier while accepting to lose margin, or if the vendor agrees or is legally obligated to do so.

4) Utilize Online Marketplaces to Liquidate Surplus Inventory

An effective method to deplete excess inventory is by selling items on prominent eCommerce platforms such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. Although this approach may take some time due to the necessity of creating product pages, capturing photographs, and adhering to the unique rules and expenses of each platform, it presents a valuable opportunity.

These online marketplaces represent significant channels for selling surplus inventory, given their substantial share of global online purchases. Here’s a brief overview of each platform to consider before venturing into selling your excess inventory:


Before commencing sales on Amazon, choose the most suitable sales plan. Options include the individual plan, costing $0.99 per unit (up to 40 units monthly), and the professional plan, which requires a fixed monthly fee of $39.99. Additional expenses include referral fees, typically ranging from 8% to 15% of the sale, and potential fulfillment expenses if utilizing Amazon’s FBA services. Optional programs to enhance sales may incur extra costs.



As one of the world’s largest online marketplaces with over 180 million active buyers annually, eBay offers two selling options. The first involves purchasing a monthly subscription with four plans (starter, basic, premium, and anchor), each allowing a specified number of listings. The second option, suitable for occasional sellers, entails paying an insertion/listing fee of $0.35 per product after surpassing 200 products. Regardless of the option chosen, a standard commission of approximately 10% is applied to each sale.



Etsy, like Amazon and eBay, is a prominent global marketplace, particularly popular among college women in their 20s and 30s. To sell on Etsy, a 20-cent listing fee is charged, in addition to a 3.5% expense on each sale. Consider these fees when evaluating Etsy as a platform for selling your overstock products.

5) Implement BOGO or Multiple Purchase Discounts Strategically

For retail business owners, the phrase “Buy One Get One Free” (BOGO) is akin to having the persuasive prowess of numerous salespeople combined. BOGO offers stand out as an exceptionally effective method for profitably clearing out surplus or subpar inventory.

The concept of a multi-buy offer involves enticing customers to purchase products at a reduced price when they buy a specified quantity or reach a certain spending threshold. BOGO promotions prove particularly effective for retailers looking to liquidate seasonal items as their respective seasons draw to a close. For instance, selling snow shovels in the spring or offering discounts on lawn furniture and bathing suits in the fall are examples of utilizing BOGO offers strategically.

This promotional strategy also holds great efficacy for grocery store owners, especially when dealing with perishable goods. When a significant portion of such items remains unsold, implementing a BOGO offer becomes a powerful incentive for consumers to make additional purchases, facilitating the depletion of excess inventory.


The challenge of overstocking or dealing with surplus inventory is a common occurrence in the retail sector. Fortunately, there are various strategies to eliminate excess inventory without compromising the stability of your business. A crucial aspect of successful inventory management, aimed at preventing overstocking, involves leveraging inventory management software. By utilizing such tools, you can streamline your inventory processes and make informed decisions when it comes to supplier purchases, contributing to a more efficient and sustainable business operation.

Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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