Posted by Alex Jackson on July 29, 2016
So you’re thinking about taking the plunge on a customer return lot? You found a lot that looks great but you are not quite sure what to expect so today we are going to go over the basics of customer return lots the good, bad and ugly. So why would anyone want a customer return condition lot in the first place? Well a big reason is price customer return lots can be up to 95% off list price. So what this means to a potential buyer is a significant opportunity for profit. Now the downside customer return lots have a high amount of damages or defects so what are these and what can you expect? People return merchandise for various reasons, many simply because the item does not fit or the color. Some returns are far more questionable, maybe the piece of clothing was worn multiple times or perhaps there is a rip or stain a part missing or a broken part. Before you purchase a customer return condition lot you will have to accept the fact that some items will be damaged beyond repair it can and will happen and there is no avoiding it. The goal when processing a customer return condition lot is to maximize your sellable items and minimize the losses. When you receive your order sort your merchandise into 5 distinct categories of condition:
New with tags- These are items equivalent to shelf pull condition merchandise excellent condition no damages or defects with tags.
New without tags- These are items that with the exception of missing tags are in excellent condition, many retail websites like eBay offer merchandise as new without tags while they do not command the premium of new with tags they are still quite profitable.
New with defects- items with some condition issues for example shoes with signs of wear or a shirt with a stain or perhaps a small hole. Don’t think you can sell an item with a defect? Well guess again, the key with new with defect is to clearly present the damage close up photos of the damage and a detailed description of the condition issue.
Salvage- these are far more serious condition issues examples such as a purse with a broken strap a ripped jacket or a vacuum with a broken canister. These items need to be carefully evaluated to determine if it is cost effective to have the item repaired or replace the part. Let’s look at that vacuum with the broken canister for a moment. Have you ever had to replace a part for your vacuum before? Ever notice how the replacement part costs almost as much as a new vacuum? Why not consider selling that vacuum not as damaged goods but as new replacement parts. What about that ripped purse what is the list price of the item? A few hundred dollar handbag retail? Then maybe it’s worth having it repaired by a tailor or someone that works in leather goods. Good with a needle and thread? Then do it yourself but be sure to list the repair when you sell it to avoid disappointing that potential customer.
Trash- Goods beyond salvage or repair the worst of the worst: ripped, dented and broken beyond repair. What to do with these? Well beyond bagging them up and trashing, there are a few options for the very dedicated entrepreneur. Have some good branded shirts with nice buttons? Cut them off bag them and sell as replacement buttons. Believe it or not there is a market for fabric scraps you may have to do some digging to find a buyer in your area but there is a demand for cotton, wool, leather and other various textile scraps and remnants these companies are usually buying by weight so this should be your absolute last resort. Have some jewelry beyond repair? There is a strong demand for these items for arts and crafts enthusiasts making their own jewelry create a bulk lot and sell them on eBay.
The most important thing to take away from this article is no matter how good, bad or ugly the condition of an item is, you can make money on virtually anything just be prepared to put in that work to maximize your returns.