With the boom of online sales came a corresponding boom of retail returns.

A new marketplace of returned inventory and the wholesalers distributors and retailers that supported that inventory has emerged.

Traditional outlets for the resale of retail returns include online market places like Amazon, eBay, Facebook marketplace, craigslist, let it go, and a host of competing resale sites.

There’s a new outlet that’s emerging to sell retail returns in bulk: online auctions.

Regional auctioneers provide quick access to hundreds of thousands of buyers predisposed to purchasing items secondhand and at a discount in large qualities, which is the ideal audience for resellers.

Unlike traditional retail return sales where the seller has to post and attempt to sell each separate item to individual buyers, online auctions provide sellers the opportunity to sell multiple items to multiple buyers at one time.

Auction buyers are highly motivated and often driven more by emotion and the thrill of the win than the need for a particular item. As a result, auction buyers purchase multiple items in a single transaction and are likely to participate in multiple auction events in a short period of time.

This model provides the retail return reseller access to a large marketplace and the ability to sell items at scale.

What’s the best way to sell returns online?

Several different ways to resell returns have developed including by the pallet or skid load, bulk lots and individual item transactions.

Individual item transactions have proven to provide the highest gross sales. Items that are able to be vetted and described accurately like “new in box”, “open box” or “missing parts” provide for the best opportunity.

Retail return sellers who take the time to evaluate merchandise for its completeness, damage, and operational condition, have a better position to sell their returns in the retail market place where buyers are competing for items based on the expectation that items will be fully usable at a steep discount.

Educated sellers know how much effort should be put into the investigation of items which appear to have been opened or damaged to strike a balance between representing the item correctly and the labor and effort of unpacking and testing items.

Buyers purchase merchandise understanding that it is from a retail return program with the expectation that if something is not as described, they will be able to get either an adjusted selling price or a refund.

In exchange, retail returns sellers benefit from a significantly higher bid price based on the buyer’s expectation that the item will be new and in good working order.

Keys to success in selling retail retuns at online auction:

  1. Assure your supplier is delivering product in a timely manner.
  2. Provide items that are complete or described properly.
  3. Use a regional liquidator with a large customer base and numerous frequently scheduled auctions.
  4. Sell your items on an auction marketplace which attracts a large percentage of local buyers who expect to pick up items on site and do not require shipping, saving you tons of shipping costs and lost packages.
  5. Find an auction marketplace that supports the unique requirements of retail returns, including tools for inventory identification and management, auction pickup, and schedule management for buyers.
  6. Depend on an auction marketplace with a reputation for integrity, honesty, efficiency, and reliability. The reputation of the auction marketplace will have a significant impact on the quality and quantity of buyers who participate in the auctions and the prices that they are willing to pay.
  7. Do not be afraid to experiment. Change up the size of your options, the product mix, the method of sale, opening bids, level of description, return policies and pickup procedures to find the best model for your business.

Highly successful categories for retail return auctions are new home furnishings, decorative arts, electronics, home goods, fitness equipment, tools, office and business equipment, food service, and hospitality assets.

Auctions are one of the few resale models where experimentation is encouraged as there Is no one best way or set rules for success.

The online auction model allows sellers to achieve acceptable returns at scale selling 200 to 2,000 items per auction event, saving the hassle and time it takes to list each item individually.

It is not uncommon for some retail return sellers to conduct multiple options per week.

Some of the most successful online auction marketplaces for retail returns are sites operated by traditional auctioneers who have a very large community of traditional auction buyers.

Sellers interested in investigating retail return online auction marketplaces should check the reputation and rating of the auctioneer by checking their online reviews. Particular attention should be given to the comments and reviews by buyers as to their opinion of the credibility authenticity trustworthiness of the auctioneer.

Unlike traditional retail sales, the buyer, not the seller sets the price. Savvy auctioneers understand that buyers who are comfortable and confident in their purchase decisions pay the highest prices.

Rasmus Auctions was one of the first old fashioned traditional outcry auction companies to move their auction process to the internet in 1998. Rasmus has been conducting client managed liquidations and super-seller auctions for over 30 years and conducts in excess of 700 auctions annually throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

Are you ready to get started selling your retail returns online? Contact Rasmus Auctions today to learn more and set up your first sale.