How to Sell Excess Inventory Quickly without Marking it Down

How to sell excess inventory without marking it down
Every business finds a need to get rid of excess inventory quickly at some point. You may end up with excess inventory for number of reasons. Clothing retailers need to sell remaining winter jackets at the end of winter. You may misjudge consumer preference and buy too much of pink trousers that are no longer trendy. You might even find a need to free up some cash and one way to do it is to sell excess inventory.

The standard practice to sell this excess inventory quickly is to arrange a sale by marking down items anywhere from 20 to 80 percent on a progressive basis. Sale can be effective at moving the merchandise quickly in most cases. It helps them get rid of excess inventory that is tying up cash and giving them back some money for it. The sale gets the attention of customers who are looking for bargains.

The problem is every retailer employs this technique these days. Anywhere you go in the mall you are bound to come across some type of sale that has marked down the price. Some retailers bring the prices down significantly even if it means selling the items at a loss. As a result, the effectiveness of sale has diminished over years. You are no longer able to sell the merchandise as quickly as you would like.

There is a better way to catch the attention of customers without having to mark down the merchandise significantly. The idea is to hold an event that has something unusual element not expected by customers and in process generate emotional response from them that would result in on-the-spot sell. Buying is as much an emotional response as a logical one. If you can do something that brings out the emotions in the customers it will attract attention of customers and convert them to buyers enabling you to sell excess inventory.

An event is something that you don’t do every day and that generates an excitement in the neighborhood and gets people talking. It can include music, visual displays, balloons or anything that attracts attention from passersby. One type of event that has been used successfully by number of retailers is Tent Sale with balloons, hotdogs, music and so on. Large event tents can be rented in many places relatively cheaply. The tents also provide the added benefit of protection from sun and rain.

If you do not have enough room to set up a tent you can achieve similar effect by decorating the place you already have with something unusual. The point is to do something that you don’t do every day and attract customers’ attention. The relatively small amount spent on the event can be recoup by not having to mark down the merchandise and selling the excess inventory quickly.

If you do not have sufficient budget to hold the event yourself you should work with other businesses in the neighborhood to hold the event as a group. This has the added benefit of having variety of items that will attract more and diverse group of customers. Whatever you do make sure it is something unusual and attracts the attention of casual onlookers.


  1. Hi Harry,
    Thanks as always for these wonderful tips shared with the BizSugar community. The greatest sin in marketing is to be boring and I guess this applies just as much to sales as to anything else.


  1. says:

    How to Sell Excess Inventory Quickly without Marking it Down…

    Most small businesses lose money in trying to sell excess inventory by marking it down. This article shows other inventory liquidation techniques without having to sell at discount….