Quick wins for moving old inventory in your clothing store

Don’t get caught with last year’s fashions

When the seasons change, you may wonder what to do about the old inventory you have left in your clothing shop or boutique. Not only do you need to make space in your store for the latest fashions, but you probably also want to realise some value from the stock you bought and not managed to sell.

Seven ways to help sell old inventory

Here are creative ways to clear out your old inventory to make room for the new season’s goodness.

  1. Bring on the sales.
  2. Create bundles.
  3. Offer product incentives.
  4. Host a giveaway.
  5. Team up for a partner giveaway.
  6. Reach out to influencers.
  7. Donate to a charity.

Are you ready to get selling? Let’s get started!

1. Bring on the sale

If you’re in retail, you probably know all about how a good old-fashioned sale can clear out the old to make space for the new. The trick is to be creative and stand out from the annual sales in all the other shops. Here are a few of our favourite ideas:

Flash sale

Tap into your customer’s FOMO – fear of missing out – with flash sales. These are time-limited offers where customers have a day or two (or even a few hours) to snap up goods on sale at an attractive price. You’ll get some buyers among people who eyed a product for a while but felt it was too expensive at full price, in addition to bargain-hunters wanting to close in on good deals. Promote flash sales on social media to get momentum going.

If you have a website, you can link your sales to the website so customers can get more detail. If you don’t have a website, you can easily build one using GoDaddy Website Builder.

Holiday sales

Look at celebration days, public holidays or world events that offer a rationale for having a sale. For example, you could celebrate Heritage Day with a sale on South African designers or the first day of spring with a sale on floral prints. You could try 13% off on Friday the 13th or include a mystery T-shirt with every order over R250 on International T-shirt Day (21 June).

Clearance sale

A clearance sale typically informs people that your prices are going to be seriously discounted. If you have a small shop with only a few items, it’ll serve you well to drop prices on all your products. If you have a bigger retail business and don’t want to discount every piece of clothing, you can mark down prices for certain collections or types of clothing.

Words like “clearance”, “blowout” and “last chance” are all indicators for consumers to buy it now or forever hold their peace.

So, reserve and market a clearance sale near the very end of the year to sell old inventory after you’ve tried multiple sales techniques.

2. Create bundles

Instead of putting single items on sale, consider creating bundle packages. Group items that complement each other, for example, running shoes and running shorts, or a dressing gown with slippers, or offer one item in different colours as a “buy one, get one at half price”.

3. Offer product incentives

Throw in an incentive to seal the deal with customers, something like hair accessories, nail polish or keychains. For example, you can offer some eyeliner to each customer that buys an evening dress on sale, or give a pair of socks to everyone who purchases a shirt valued at more than R500.

4. Host a giveaway

If you’re struggling to move certain items, you can use competitions and giveaways to get some marketing mileage. You can post a 24-hour giveaway where you announce the giveaway in the morning and choose a winner at the same time the next day. You can also do a giveaway where social media followers or newsletter subscribers can enter to win for a few days or even a few weeks.

Plan a few giveaways throughout the month if you can afford to, but make sure to change the incentive or the rules every time to keep things fresh. Promote your giveaways on social media, on your website, with in-store signage and through your e-mail newsletter.

5. Team up for a partner giveaway

You can offer a package giveaway with a business or influencer that complements your brand. For example, as an apparel business, you can provide an outfit and then find a shoe retailer to add a pair of shoes to go with the outfit. You and your partner can promote the giveaway through all your marketing channels and pick one winner for each business.

6. Reach out to influencers

Consider shifting old retail inventory by sending products to influencers. Some public figures on Instagram or Twitter will require a fee to wear and post about your product. There are also lifestyle bloggers or social media fashionistas who will be happy to receive and talk about your product.

You can approach a blogger by saying you’d like to send them product. If it suits them, you would love to see them post about the item on their platform. There is no guarantee they will, but at least you floated the idea to them without demanding a post.

You don’t need to approach A-list celebrities. There may be a youth blogger or fashion Instagrammer who has an engaged following and the willingness to work with you.

7. Donate to a charity

If you really cannot sell your old inventory, find a place to donate it. Your excess inventory could brighten the day of a patient at a hospice, a rural child who has no shoes, or a homeless person living in a shelter.

If you sell high-end fashions, the charity might be able to sell it through its own store or hold a raffle to raise funds. Don’t go by on a whim and hand out free clothing. Research which charity you would like to donate to and ask if it can use your proposed donation.

Learn to let go

Selling your items at a heavily discounted rate can be discouraging because you’re not making as much money as you could have or your products weren’t as popular as you thought they would be. Regardless of the reason behind your stagnant product, bear this in mind: selling your old inventory at a discounted rate is better than letting the products sit on a shelf or in your storage room. The next season and new stock await.

Image by: Sale photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com

Shanna Fujii
Shanna Fujii is the editor at Bloguettes, a branding company based in Phoenix that teaches social media, graphic design, photography and blogging to entrepreneurs, bloggers and creatives. When she’s not busy editing and writing, she’s on the hunt for food that’s not good for her, crossing things off her bucket list, and correcting grammar in her friends’ group chats. Connect with Shanna on LinkedIn or Instagram @shannafujii.