How to Make Money with Returned and Overstock Goods

Returned, overstock and refurbished goods provide flea market vendors an opportunity to buy products at low cost and compete with mass merchandisers. Many products are first quality, and allow merchants to sell them below regular retail and still gain generous profits. asked Rob Caskey, VP of Marketing and Direct Sales for Liquidity Services’ Retail Supply Chain Group, to share some tips to help vendors form a strategy when purchasing these types of products online.

Editor: How can vendors benefit by sourcing returned, overstock and refurbished product online?

Caskey: There are numerous benefits for vendors. These include greater product range, access to detailed product information, flexible quantities and shipping options, and a faster purchase cycle, which shortens the traditional buy-to-ship timeframe.  That said, it is important to have a purchasing strategy.

Editor: What are some tips you can give vendors on sourcing returned or overstock online?

Caskey: Different types of sellers have different needs, and flea market vendors may want to buy bulk, good-quality inventory across a variety of product categories. Next, it helps to know your competition. I also suggest vendors examine detailed product descriptions, digital images, shipping dimensions and condition codes to understand what they are purchasing. Products can range from new, light use, heavy use to refurbished, shelf pulls and salvage. Next, they should select a supplier that has ongoing relationships with top vendors and manufacturers. It is also important to calculate shipping costs, and to determine the right quantity. Typically, larger lots provide lower costs per item, but vendors should not purchase more than they can sell.

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