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Back to Basics: How To Clear Out Your Excess Holiday Merchandise

Shopping up a storm The season is almost to an end. It's almost time to take down the tree, tuck away the ornaments, and ready yourself for the leftovers: Holiday goods that failed to sell and returned the holiday merchandise that didn’t quite meet expectations. Happy New Year! You spent a third of the year in preparation for the holidays. Now you need to clear it away and get back to business as usual – and ready yourself for the next big shopping day! First and foremost, you should perform an inventory audit to confirm exactly what leftover stock you hold, what holiday returns you received, and what new merchandise you need to move. A general plan to move forward, while useful, can only take you so far until you know more about the factors involved. Once you gather this data, you can start to flesh out your notions: What would be the best way to clear out your specialized goods? And at the lowest loss? And without undue neglect to your current inventory?


Consider the possibility of a daily deal: Once you perform your audit, choose a few of your higher quantity items and post a deal of the day for your customers to see. Place flyers on your doors. Make posts and upload photos to your social media accounts. Take advantage of specialised websites such as All the Deals or Deal Zippy to link these deals to your website (should you offer online shopping). [Tweet "Consider the possibility of a daily deal."] So goods could well serve as bonus gifts to loyal customers. Say you ordered some decorative tree ornaments that, for one reason or another, failed to move. Perhaps they didn’t receive proper placement. Maybe no one else found them quite as charming as you did. Whatever the reason, they could well serve as freebies for purchases over a certain amount. If you offer online shopping, you could tuck on into the package with a small note of appreciation to the customer for his or her patronage and offers best wishes for the new year. Not only could you move your stock; more importantly, you could show your thanks to those who make your business possible. call-to-action-810x75-c But what if you carry over a number of different items, none of which you could move alone? Consider sales bundles. See what items could relate to package together and sell as a set: Soap sets and potpourri; stocking stuffers; holiday cards and ornaments. Why not set these as a three-for-two set or offer a mix-and-match sale to help move products? Some people start their Christmas shopping on Dec. 26 and will peruse sales to keep a supply of quick gifts on hand for acquaintances. When in doubt, shop What of a block sale with other small businesses in your area? Some of your neighbors might mesh perfectly with your niche while others might seem more like an odd couple. Offer hot cider to customers beside a display that advertises specials at nearby shops and discounts offered with proof of purchase from one of the participating stores. Who knows? You might start something that becomes a quarterly habit. You could bring a regular boost to everyone’s sales, not to mention foster a sense of comradery. Whatever your decision, make certain you set a markdown calendar for your holiday leftovers. There comes a point when you need to simply give up the good fight and take the loss. Take this example:
  • Week One: A 25 per cent reduction in price.
  • Week Two: A 50 per cent reduction in price.
  • Week Three: A 75 per cent reduction in price.
Once you reach the third week, that point is nigh: Hold out for a few more days – three, maybe four at most – before you go ahead and liquidate what remains of your surplus. How you choose to liquidate is up to you. One option is to donate your unsold goods to a non-profit organisation. Keep detailed records of these and any other donations you make throughout the year. You might qualify for a trading stock tax credit. The time frame for this particular sort of deduction should fall in line with your markdown schedule. Once you reach three and a half weeks, prepare your goods to donate. Make donation day the start (and end) of Week Four. Another option that requires a bit of forethought and investigation on your part: Could you possibly return to your supplier? This might influence your purchase quantities somewhat, at least from a particular supplier. For the sake of argument, say there is no return policy in play and you don’t believe you could move enough of your over-purchase to truly affect a loss, you can always skip straight to the Week Four stage. Consider a sale to wholesaler businesses that would then find their own buyers for your goods. You would still take something of a loss, but likely a lesser one.