5 Profitable Channels to Sell Your Overstock

As an e-commerce store owner, you're thinking of all of the year-end things you need to do, I'm sure. One thing plaguing you is what to do with all of this excess inventory you possess. You may have a few items left over from a time earlier in the year that didn't sell too well to being with. Or perhaps you simply ordered too many of them and the supply was greater than the demand. Maybe you're just making room for everything new coming in. Or maybe your excess items are seasonal, making it difficult to push after a certain point.

Whatever the reason, there are a few ways to deal with your excess stock. Immediately, having a large sale comes to mind, but at this point you've probably exhausted the efforts to sell the inventory in-house and are looking for ways to deal with it completely. Probably wouldn't hurt to have a little cash boost with it too, right? Let's take a look at some profitable channels to sell overstock

1. Donate

There are many social benefits that come with donating. You can notify customers that you donate to charitable causes on your site or via social media and doing so will establish a good rapport with your customers, especially at this time of year. While it may feel good to do something for the community, and look good as well, it's not an immediate cash bonus. Donating to various organizations could potentially get you a tax deduction or write off which could lead to more money and savings around tax time, but you will have to wait for it.

Another thing you could do, while you wait for tax time, is notify customers that a percentage of sales of certain products (in this case it would be the slow moving items) will go to a charitable cause. This will help to highlight the products that are moving a little slower and, if they still don't move enough, you can still donate the remaining products for tax purposes. At the end of the day, donating is always better than simply getting rid of the items.

2. Return Inventory

This idea doesn't require much thought and may not always be the route you want to go, but it's worth considering. If your products aren't handmade, you might want to see about returning the product to the vendor. You may not be able to get your original funds back, but you might be able to obtain a credit or even different merchandise. The credit could go towards buying different inventory or, if you're getting new merchandise, you can be sure to get product that will move relatively quicker than the other product. It's worth looking into, especially if you have a good relationship with your vendor.

3. Inventory Liquidators

Would you believe that there are businesses out there that exist for the sole purpose of liquidating inventory? Well, believe it. What these companies do is buy your excess inventory in bulk, but at a discounted rate. They in turn go and sell the product themselves. While it is true that you may take a hit in regards to what you originally paid for the item, you're still going to profit in the sense that you'll make money off of this inventory you weren't moving. By selling the inventory to the company, you'll still likely profit for the quarter.

Here's the other thing to think about with this option: are you comfortable with your items being sold at a different price? The liquidating company will likely resell your items at a lower price. If your products are your own original brand and you want to focus on building that brand, this option may not be best for you simply because having the items sold at a lower price can undermine the value of your products. There's still the possibility that they won't be sold too much lower, though it is something to think about.

4. Resale Markets

This particular option is different from inventory liquidators. You're not selling your items in bulk to a particular company who will sell it at a lower rate. There are ways to sell your product to another business, similar to yours, in a different market at the same, or a similar, price. The genius behind this is simply that your product may not be selling because it's not in a terribly good market for it. If your business is mostly localized, it may help to get it into a different market. Selling it through a marketplace to another company can help move your product in addition to giving yourself some exposure. Sometimes companies are able to make a decent profit this way.

5. Sales Channel on a Marketplace

For you and your company, this will be the equivalent of Nordstrom Rack or Saks off 5th. It's would be a place where all of your unsold merchandise can be sold at a discount. This channel is purely for sale items. It may take a little bit of time to set up, but the plus side of all of this is that you're in control of the price and the items themselves. And you're still cutting losses this way too. It's helpful in the sense that, if your items are your own personal brand, you can still control their value.


Having to decide what to do with all the extra inventory at this time of year can seem a little stressful, but what isn't stressful at this time of year? Just take it all in stride and find the best option for your business. Something that you should analyze is how you ended up with surplus inventory in the first place and see if it's something that can be rectified. Sometimes, it can't be helped, but if you have extra inventory more often than not, it's worth investigating. There are probably other profitable channels to sell your overstock, but these are probably the most efficient.

Tags: inventory management, ecommerce