The bane of a fashion entrepreneurs business…owning inventory that didn’t sell at regular price. No matter how good your sales were for a season, too much unsold inventory can ruin your profitability. We have a saying in the fashion industry: “Inventory is not like fine wine, it doesn’t increase in value over time”. In fact the nature of fashion is that it has a built-in dwindling of value because the fashion business is based on newness and change. That is why you shouldn’t get too attached to your inventory and unless it is an ongoing style you should look to get rid of it as soon as you can in order to get top dollar.
Here are five proven ways to get rid of unsold inventory:
- Run a private sale to your customer list – Send an email blast to your customer list offering a discount just for them if they use a special code on your website. Make it so that the sale expires after a few days in order to create urgency.
- Offer off price to your current account list – Reach out to the stores you sell and offer them a discount on reorders. Make sure you do it way after you ship them otherwise they might ask for the discount to be retroactive. Also make sure the discount is enough to encourage them to reorder. 5-10% is not going to cut it.
- Flash Sale Sites- This is an e-commerce business model in which a website offers products for sale for an average period of 24 to 36 hours. Examples of this are: Haute Look, Rue LaLa, and Zulily.
- Off price stores – These stores offer deep discounts on product to customers who are always looking for a bargain. I always think of this customer as someone who likes the hunt as much as they enjoy the purchase. Examples of these are: Ross Stores and Marshalls.
- Sample Sales – Sample sales used to be sales where a showroom would open up to the public and sell their samples at a discount. Nowadays it is used as a vehicle to sell leftover inventory. In fact they are so popular there are companies that run multi line sample sales and will run the entire sale for you.