Whether you are choosing to move on from the business-owner role or closing your store due to financial problems, it can be an emotional time. While you don’t necessarily want to visualize what your display fixtures look like without merchandise, clearing inventory is in your best interest when liquidating a company.
The most popular way to sell the rest of your products before the open sign is turned around one final time is by holding a closeout or going-out-of-business sale. Although getting rid of merchandise by a certain date with a sale is a relatively straightforward idea, there are several factors you need to consider that can make the process easier and more successful.
Planning the process
Brainstorming the steps for a closeout sale may be easier than organizing a general sale because you already know the bottom line and end goal – clear as much merchandise as possible by the closing date. According to Entrepreneur, the lack of a reasonable objective is where many retailers go wrong in establishing discounts. With that goal in mind, consider how you will achieve it. Will you entice new customers with low prices or try to bring former clients in for a reprise shopping trip?
Because some stores will run disingenuous going-out-of-business sales or mislead consumers about the urgency of inventory dumping, customers may be weary of your insistence that this is the end rather than an attempt to boost revenue. To avoid that potential issue, NOLO recommended keeping a transparent estimated timeline for clearance and the official last day of operation. RetailStoreClosing.com advised store owners to sell fixtures for one-third of the original cost. If you don’t find any buyer interest in the shelving, you can try to sell them on Craigslist or community forums.
The tapering sale
Pushing your merchandise out too quickly can also become problematic, according to The Network Journal. If you sell out of the items people are most likely to buy within the first week of your sale, it will be more difficult to keep customers coming through the store’s end. A progressive closeout sale can help you avoid initially prosperous clearance deals that dwindle in effectiveness. TNJ suggested increasing the percentage of discount month-by-month, starting with 10 percent. These exact numbers depend on your timeline, but the principle applies regardless.
For companies that plan on selling the remaining store fixtures, consider waiting to remove them until the sale is over. TNJ determined that it’s better to spread the merchandise out around the store so customers can see all of the great items for sale. When someone expresses interest in buying one, let him or her know which day it will be available for pickup.
Reaching out to consumers
One way to spread the word about your going-out-of-business sale is with physical signs around the store. For example, you can outline the sale terms on a message board or promotional posters that are clearly displayed.
For more personal engagement regarding the sale, you can use new and old technology to communicate the sale details. Alerting customers through online channels guarantees you will reach a lot of people. TNJ recommended announcing the store closing and the future sale on your company’s social media pages as soon as possible. From there, you can email loyal customers about the upcoming discounts and deals. In the same vein, it might be helpful to use snail mail if you have a mailing list for frequent customers. You can also advertise in local papers and even on the radio to reach even more consumers.