As someone new to the liquidation business, the decisions that you make early on can either put you on the path to success or make launching your startup more difficult. One of the most important questions to ask yourself is "what are the best liquidation pallets to buy?" The truth is that the answer depends on a number of factors unique to you, so you can't simply Google to get an answer. But don't worry, by the end of this guide, you'll have the information you need to confidently answer the question and know where you can turn for personalized advice on the subject.
Here's a look at what we'll be covering:
- What is a liquidation pallet?
- What are the best liquidation pallets to buy?
- Buying liquidation pallets: Tips for your business
- Benefits of buying liquidation pallets
What Is a Liquidation Pallet?
A liquidation pallet is a large quantity of goods that a retailer or vendor intends to sell all at once to a buyer. By selling an entire pallet of merchandise, retailers and vendors can clear out excess or hard to sell inventory much faster. For prospective buyers, pallets provide an opportunity to buy goods at a reduced price to either sell in bulk to a third-party or individually to multiple customers.
Many things can motivate retailers to sell liquidation pallets. In some cases, they bundle up items that customers previously returned online or in stores, but they may also decide to liquidate items that are slow sellers or out of season. Major changes in packaging can also cause retailers to sell pallets of older items. Liquidation pallets may also be merchandise that never made it to the retailer or that the retailer was unable to use.
Because retailers may sell for so many reasons, what's inside liquidation pallets varies greatly. Pallets may contain just one specific item, a mix of items in a certain category like electronics or housewares or a diverse assortment of items across many categories. Items may be brand new with mint packaging, still sealed but showing signs of shelf wear or opened but incomplete. You also find liquidation pallets with opened and incomplete products as well as products that require tested assessments, meaning they have failed testing and may be faulty or damaged.
Since liquidation pallets can have so many differences, the idea of choosing one to buy may seem overwhelming. However, the large amount of variation is also an opportunity. It means that you have a wealth of options to choose from and can select the type of pallet that is a good fit for you. Read on to learn just how to identify those ideal pallets based on your needs.
What Are the Best Liquidation Pallets to Buy?
Type "what are the best liquidation pallets to buy" into a search engine and you won't get a definitive answer. Just as there's no single best haircut or occupation for everyone on Earth, there isn't a one-size-fits-all perfect pallet for all resellers. To determine which are the best pallets to buy based on the details of your business, consider the following.
When it comes to buying liquidation pallets, size matters. After all, you need to have enough space available to store the merchandise that you purchase and safely maneuver through your warehouse or storage area. If you intend to break the pallets down to sell individual pieces, you'll also need enough room left over to break down, process and store the merchandise in an organized fashion. The size of pallets can also affect the cost to ship the items to you.
The sizes of individual items should also influence your decision regarding which are the best pallets to buy. Knowing the relative size of the items will give you a feel for just how much you'll be receiving. For example, a pallet of electronics that is mostly large screen televisions would have fewer units than an identically sized pallet full of small kitchen appliances like toasters and air fryers because the TVs are bigger and come in larger packaging. If you plan to break down pallets and sell by the piece, you'll also need a rough idea of item size to organize your storage area and purchase the right type of racks or shelving to store it all.
Your Sales Channels
A narrow focus can help ensure your success with a liquidation startup. Trying to do too many things at once can quickly become overwhelming and could leave you overextended. To avoid this, you should typically choose just one main method of selling to begin. You could choose to sell in person through a storefront, at flea markets and other local events or online through a platform like Amazon, eBay or Mercari.
Whatever sales method you choose, let it help determine which are the best pallets to buy. Let's look at two examples of what we mean.
Say you intend to launch an entirely online reselling business, and you're going to list items individually on a specific platform that requires you to accept all customer returns, no questions asked. To limit the number of returns, you'll need to precisely describe their condition to set realistic expectations. As a result, opened items and goods with damaged packaging will mean more work for you, so you may prefer to buy brand new, unopened merchandise.
Now, imagine you're going to sell via flea markets in your area. Having brand new items may not be as important because the customers will be right there and able to see and touch what they're buying. Instead, the size and type of item may be more important. If you decide to sell big, heavy items like fitness equipment, you'll need a larger spot at the flea market to display everything and a bigger vehicle to transport it all. You may also want to steer clear of fragile items like ceramic dinnerware or decorative objects because you'll be hauling your merchandise regularly, increasing the risk of breakage.
Take the time to consider the challenges posed by your selling method and then look for merchandise that will help you overcome them.
To succeed in the liquidation business, you need to be able to buy merchandise at a low price and mark it up enough that you make a profit and the customer still pays a fair amount. In addition, there needs to be real demand for whatever you're selling. The only way to know what items will allow for favorable margins and sell quickly to your ideal customer is to conduct market research.
If you plan to sell in-person, think about what the need is in your local community. For example, home improvement items, home decor and furniture may sell well in an area where homes are being built at a fast pace, but not as quickly in an area with an aging population that has lived in the same homes for many years.
Plan to sell online? Then, look at the marketplace you're targeting. Find out the demographics of the customer base and see what's already selling there. For example, if a site's biggest demographic is women aged 20 to 30, cosmetics and trendy apparel may be good sellers. By browsing the site, you may find that certain brands sell for higher prices than others, and you could use this information to help you select pallets.
Your Knowledge and Interests
You're going to be spending a lot of time thinking about and working for your business. If you choose a product niche that interests you, you're more likely to enjoy all the hours you put in. Love the outdoors? Sporting goods like hunting, fishing and hiking gear may be a great niche for you. Always checking out the latest tech news? You could have a future as an electronics reseller. Got a green thumb? Lawn and garden products may be right up your alley.
Having some previous knowledge about the niche is also beneficial. While you can learn as you go, you'll be able to hit the ground running if you already know something about the merchandise.
Are Pallets Right for You?
Buying single pallets isn't your only option when it comes to reselling. You can also purchase liquidation truckloads that contain multiple pallets of merchandise. The cost of merchandise will generally be less per pallet when you buy in large quantities, and you'll be able to build your inventory more quickly.
However, there are some downsides to consider. Although you'll often pay less per pallet, you'll need to make a large investment upfront, which may be difficult if you have limited cash flow. You'll also need more storage space and may be unable to use some storage facilities. This is mainly because the dry vans that transport truckloads of merchandise need paved roads and more clearance to maneuver, while a single pallet may be delivered in a smaller vehicle that can maneuver in tighter quarters.
Another risk of buying truckloads is that you end up with a truck full of merchandise that doesn't sell well. If you're brand new to the business, you may want to begin buying by the pallet, so you can test items and develop systems for processing, selling and order fulfillment. Once you feel confident and have profits from sales to put back into your business, you can then shift to buying by the truckload.
Buying Liquidation Pallets: Tips for Your Business
Now that you know what to consider as you compare liquidation pallets for sale, you're ready to begin your search. Check out our current inventory and keep the following tips in mind as you browse what's available.
Time Your Sales Right
Retailers purchase seasonal goods before the start of the season, so they're ready to sell when buyers are looking to purchase. While this makes good sense for your local big box store, it's not the best approach if you're buying and selling pallets of goods.
Items will be more expensive at the start of the season, reducing your margins. By waiting until the end of the season, you can take advantage of end-of-season liquidations. Then, store the items to sell next year when the rush to buy begins. This may not be a good solution if you have limited capital and are not able to tie up your money in product for that long.
Prioritize Harder-to-Find Items
Items that are heavily discounted may seem like a big win, but they're actually a reason for skepticism. If a retailer is selling off merchandise at unbelievably low prices, the items might be very poor sellers that won't do much better for you. Also, dramatically reduced prices may mean that the retailer has many pallets to sell, so the resell market may soon become flooded with the items, leading to increased competition that could negatively impact your bottom line.
The same is true of pallets that are widely available. If you're seeing these pallets promoted everywhere, you're likely to soon notice resellers offering them through the same channels as you. Choose something more difficult to find, so you don't end up in a discount war with other sellers that eats away at your margins.
Find a Trusted Partner
Knowing where to buy pallets is as important as having a good understanding of which ones to buy. Look for a trustworthy, experienced liquidation broker that emphasizes building relationships over transactional sales. The right broker can become more than just a supplier. They can be a source for advice and someone to assist you when you have problems. Whether you have questions about unfamiliar terminology or need help choosing between pallets, you'll have someone to turn to as you grow your business.
Working with a professional broker also allows you to buy with confidence. There are a lot of scammers out there looking to take advantage of newbies who are buying liquidation pallets. Sticking with a liquidation broker with a good reputation and years of experience can keep you from becoming a victim.
Focus on Top Retailers
The biggest retailers got where they are because they offer products that the public wants to buy. Although some items they carry may be better sellers than others, the premier retailers in various niches are often the best sources for quality merchandise. Looking for pallets of overstock merchandise, shelf pulls and customer returns from stores with names you recognize can be a great strategy. This is especially true for beginners starting a pallet liquidation business.
Research Your Lot
Make sure you understand exactly what kind of merchandise is on the pallet you're purchasing. Is everything brand new? If it's opened merchandise, what condition is it in? Were the items ever on store shelves? Were the goods part of an overstock liquidation? Are they seasonal merchandise? Doing your research upfront can reduce your risk of ending up with unpleasant surprises.
Tackle the Red Tape Ahead of Time
Even if you're planning to sell one or two pallets occasionally as a side hustle, you're still launching a business, and that means going through the proper channels. You'll need to decide what type of business structure to operate under and may need to register with your state and obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You may also need to obtain a Reseller's License, depending on where you live and what you intend to sell.
Get all of these matters out of the way before you begin buying liquidation pallets to avoid potential tax problems and legal issues. Check out our article on the legal steps to starting a business to learn what to do and when.
Develop a Marketing Strategy
How will you get the word out about your business? Consider who your target customer is and how you can reach them. Social media marketing through posts and ads can work wonders, but only if you choose the platforms that your customers use. If your ideal customer is in their 20s, TikTok and YouTube may be better options, while Facebook can allow you to connect with locals and older adults.
Not sure where to begin with marketing? Enlisting the help of a freelance marketing specialist may be helpful. These professionals can plan a marketing campaign, and some will even produce content and make social media posts on your behalf.
Build Relationships With Your Customers
No matter what you sell, the type of customer service that you deliver can make or break your business. A satisfied customer can become a source for repeat business, and they may tell their friends and family about you. On the other hand, an unhappy customer can blast you on the Internet and harm your reputation.
If you're selling face to face, start conversations and get to know the people who buy. You may find opportunities to recommend other items for them to purchase or discover other in-demand products for you to purchase in the future.
Staying in touch with your customers is important. Give customers a way to contact you like a business card with your website and invite them to follow you on social media. Start an email newsletter to distribute on a weekly or monthly basis. Let every customer know that their satisfaction is important to you and tell them to contact you if they have any issues and concerns. Be prepared to deal with complaints and negative feedback professionally.
If you're selling online, read your customer reviews. Reply to negative reviews if possible with a sincere apology and an offer to make things right. Both in-person and online, customers will generally be understanding about problems and be willing to forgive if you take ownership of the issue and express a true desire to make things better.
Benefits of Buying Liquidation Pallets
Understanding why you may want to look for bulk pallets for sale is as important as knowing the answer to the question "what are the best liquidation pallets to buy?" Knowing the benefits of buying pallets online through a trusted liquidation broker can help you determine if this is the right business for you. Read on for some key benefits of buying liquidation pallets.
###Opportunity for a Successful Long-Term Business
The liquidation business is growing at a lightning-fast pace. In 2020, liquidation businesses sold more than $644 billion worth of goods, more than double the industry sales from less than a decade ago.
Part of what's driving growth is a large increase in retailer returns. In 2021, retailer return rates rose to 16.6% compared to just 10.6% the year before, and experts predict that the upward trend will only continue as more retailers offer flexible return policies to be competitive and come up with innovative new ways to make returns easier.
While increased returns are posing challenges for retailers, their struggles mean real opportunity for entrepreneurs. Brick-and-mortar and online stores will need to get rid of that returned merchandise somewhere, meaning you'll likely have a sustainable supply of liquidation pallets to choose from.
Less Expensive Than Manufacturing
If you're passionate about a particular niche, reselling already produced items may be much simpler than trying to manufacture a new product yourself. Buying and selling liquidation pallets removes the need to work with factories, many of which are overseas. It also means less worry about supply chain issues and long lead-times for production.
While all businesses are impacted by the state of the economy, manufacturers feel the crunch more during times of economic turmoil. Inflation can lead to dramatic increases in the cost of raw materials. For example, the inflation that occurred during 2022 caused aluminum prices to soar more than 25% within three months, reaching an unprecedented new level.
Although the costs of goods may increase for you as a reseller during periods of inflation, the retailers' need to liquidate merchandise means you'll be paying less than wholesale and likely much less than you would to produce similar items yourself.
Great Side Hustle for Extra Money
While it's possible to scale a liquidation business over time, no one says you have to. If you're already employed and just want some extra money to pay down debt or save for the future, buying and selling liquidation pallets may be for you.
When buying pallets online, you can choose to purchase just one at a time to keep your investment low. Once you sell through your inventory, you can begin to search for new bulk pallets for sale and invest a fraction of your profits in buying new merchandise. The rest is yours to keep.
Wide Variety of Merchandise
With so many kinds of pallets to choose from, you have the flexibility to choose a niche that appeals to you and buy the right types of products for your specific needs.
For example, you might want to focus on deeply discounted damaged merchandise that you recondition and restore yourself and sell for much more than you paid. Or, you may want to purchase brand new items in mint condition that you can easily list on an online marketplace. Whatever your approach is, you can find bulk pallets for sale that will work for you.
In 2018 alone, Americans threw away more than 292 million tons of solid waste. That's almost 5 pounds of trash per person per day! While some of that is food waste, single-use plastic and paper, perfectly good items that are usable also end up in landfills.
Businesses contribute to the country's waste problem just like consumers. Unsold inventory that can't be moved may be hauled off to the landfill or even burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Liquidation pallets make it possible for retailers to get rid of items that they can't sell or no longer wish to carry. By buying pallets, you become part of the solution, allowing merchandise that would otherwise go to waste to find use.
Ultimately, the best liquidation pallets for you depend on your business. Considering pallet size, your sales channel, market research and your own knowledge and interests when buying pallets for resale can help you select the right merchandise for your needs. Then, a strong marketing campaign and a commitment to customer service can drive your sales.
The right partner can be a valuable asset when you’re ready to choose liquidation pallets. At BuyLow Warehouse, we're fully committed to helping new liquidation buyers succeed.
With our expertise, we can help you assess your needs and match you with pallets that are a good fit. We also offer many free resources to help you launch and grow your business and are always ready to answer specific questions about all aspects of reselling.