How to Move Excess Inventory After the Holidays

So, you have excess inventory after the holidays. You are not alone. This is a common scenario faced by all retailers, as they spend months preparing for the holiday season, only to be left with the back of the store full of post-holiday inventory.  

This isn’t good for many reasons. For starters, many products have finite life cycles, so you run the risk of losing profits as inventory sits. You also have tight margins and financial forecasts—and excess inventory is not part of your new year’s financial success. Bottom line: You need to manage inventory during this time of year to free up your business for strong sales to come. 

How can this goal be achieved? Here is how you can move excess inventory after the holidays. 

Adjust Your Prices 

Step 1 is to take a good look at your prices. The holidays are already a time of year when deep discounts and aggressive prices are the norm, but that post-holiday malaise among shoppers is another opportunity for you to increase sales by adjusting your prices. 

Additional discounts are the most straightforward way to do this. Looking at your holiday sales data, there could be signs that your prices weren’t optimized. Perhaps you were protecting a margin that was too big for the product. Or, you competitors’ prices were much lower—eating into your sales. In all likelihood, you’ll want to reprice down to drive sales up after the holidays. 

Female shopper looking at coat while wearing it.

Offer More Promotions 

On a related note, promotions are another excellent strategy to move excess inventory after the holidays.  

Two that could work well in this scenario are: 

  1. Flash Sales – Flash sales are time-sensitive promotions, often paired with steep discounts given the exclusive nature of the deal. Flash sales are more common in eCommerce, as they are easier to market and generate interest online. For example, many flash sales end in hours and provide a promo code for shoppers to enter at checkout.  
  2. Buy One, Get One – A promotion that works well in-store and online is Buy One Get One, or BOGO. BOGO sales are exactly as they sound and excel at moving excess inventory. The “get one free” part of BOGO can be the holiday products you need to sell. Pair them with better-performing items to attract shoppers and drive sales. 

Check out our in-depth dive into BOGO promotions to see how you can run an effective sale after the holidays.  

Change Your Shipping Policies 

If you provide delivery services to customers, then your shipping policies are ripe for revision this time of year. A survey conducted by AlixPartners found that 73 percent of U.S. online shoppers said their buying decisions were greatly influenced by the presence of free shipping. The popularity of Amazon Prime and its free two-day shipping for members also has shaped how consumers view shipping, with many expecting delivery within three days or less. 

What does this mean for you? You can offer free shipping as a limited-time option, if it’s not part of your year-round repertoire. You can provide free shipping with a minimum order, or with the inclusion of one of those post-holiday items you need to sell now. The same can be said for two-day, one-day, or even same-day delivery: Shoppers who buy your excess inventory get these improved shipping perks. 

Christmas gifts arranged on wood table.

Bundle Your Products 

Still having a hard time moving that excess inventory? Then consider bundles. A good bundle pairs a slow-moving item with a best-seller, getting that post-holiday inventory out of your store alongside something you know has selling power.  

Best of all, bundles encourage more money spent by consumers. So, not only can you bundle to move excess inventory, but you can bundle to increase the average order size and help get the new year started on the right foot. When you’re thinking about bundles, make sure there is a relation between the slow-mover and the best-seller. Shoppers must see the logic behind the bundle. 

Liquidate as a Last Resort 

Say none of the above strategies are providing the desired results. You can always turn to a liquidator. This isn’t uncommon, as a number of businesses sell excess inventory to liquidators as a way to make room for new products.  

However, you’re likely to take a steep discount on the value of the items in order to get a liquidator interested. Search for liquidators in your area and find the one that offers you the best deal. Then, you can move all that product quickly and move ahead toward the new year. If that isn’t possible, you can always donate your inventory to a worthy cause and then use that donation as a tax deduction. Again, this is a last resort compared to the other strategies on the table. 

Christmas gift bags

Take Control of Your Excess Inventory 

Whether you’re rolling out new promotions, repricing your SKUs, bundling products, or taking advantage of any of these strategies, you’ll need valuable allies in your corner. Wiser Solutions provides market intelligence, optimization, and compliance offerings for in-store and online retailers. With Wiser, you can automate your repricing or gain in-depth competitive analysis to craft better promotions. You can track your industry’s pricing trends and make educated decisions with confidence. 

We’d love to chat if you’re interested in learning how Wiser can help you move excess inventory after the holidays. Contact us today to learn more, or check out our infographic for more great tips to move that excess merchandise

Matt Ellsworth

Matt is the Content Marketing Manager at Wiser, the leading provider of actionable data for better decisions. He holds a BA from Salem State University.

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