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How to do clearance sales right this January

8 tips for selling your unsold Christmas stock

If you own a shop, you’re now faced with the dreary task of selling unsold stock in a slow January market.

But while January’s traditionally pegged as one of the slowest months of the year, the numbers tell a different story. Rather than dial back on their spending after a Christmas binge, many consumers try the opposite: buying their way out of early-year anxiety by purchasing clearance items at a bargain.

Last year, figures from eBay showed increased interest in items like diamond rings, champagne flutes and washing machines, as well as holiday items like towels and bikinis, suggesting that consumers were looking to make big purchases at a discount.

So even if the Christmas spree is over, these 9 clever clearance sales tricks can help you bring back your regulars, as well as bargain hunters on the prowl.

  1. Timing is everything

Make sure you get your seasonal stock out of the way first. Now’s the time to sell expiring mince pies, parkas and fireworks. If your products aren’t seasonal, you don’t necessarily need to put them on clearance right away, but as a rule of thumb, it’s best not to let unsold stock build up too long.

  1. Know what to sell

Got a product that is unprofitable, or moving slowly? These are products you might consider putting on clearance, even if they’re relatively new. That said, you don’t want to overload your clearance section with dud items, which brings us to

  1. Make your clearance display attractive

That means: don’t hide it at the back of the store, and don’t stuff it with items that are obviously junk. For every item that you’re just trying to get rid of, you should also put in an item that’s a genuine bargain – something you’d be willing to buy if you saw it in another store.

And don’t overdo it. Too many disparate clearance items will make you look like a thrift store or car boot sale, and too much clearance space will make you look like you’re going out of business.

  1. Get your prices right

Creating new prices, rather than just “40% off” signs, has been shown to attract more bargain hunters, who will often have an idea of a good’s usual going price. Check out this extensive list on pricing tactics to make sure you get your pricing and labels right.

  1. Be generous

A 10% off clearance sale isn’t going to impress anyone. If you can offer some items at 50% off or more, it’s worth using that as your headline discount – it’ll get people through the door.

  1. Advertise your clearance.

If you use email or online marketing, it’s a good chance to send a new year’s message advertising your “up to 50% off!” clearance prices. Tell customers coming into your store about your clearance sale, and point out where in the store your discounted items are.

  1. Be willing to offer bigger discounts

Your goal here is to clear out your inventory, so if a customer is dithering, even with a 50% discount, be willing to lower it further.

  1. Convert bargain hunters into regulars

One of the best things about a clearance sale is that it can bring in customers who wouldn’t normally frequent your store. It’s a great chance to get them onto your mailing list (so you can let them know about your next sale), or let them know your opening hours.

  1. Know when to let go.

If steps 1 through 8 haven’t been enough to sell an item, it’s probably time to let it go. You can try selling them on to “We Buy Anything” type stores or donate them to charity for a tax write-off.

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