Have you ever wondered what happens to your returned goods? While some of it does go back on the shelf to be bought again by a different customer, a large portion of the unused merchandise sits with retailers taking up precious storage space.
A lot of times, however, retailers can get stuck with inventory they don’t need if it ends up being returned by customers for any number of reasons ranging from the wrong size to buyer's remorse or not meeting customer expectations - which means this lost retail space could be pocketed as profit instead (think about how much money was spent on advertising). Around $428 billion worth of inventory was returned in 2020, which makes up over 10% of total U.S. Retail!
These items, along with excess as well as sales stock recovered from liquidated businesses are often collectively referred to as liquidation stock. Entrepreneurs and small business owners have taken advantage of this reduced-priced inventory to start their resale businesses!
What Are Liquidation Pallets?
The liquidation process for retailers can be a difficult one as they have to turn overstock and outdated goods into cash. For example, the cost of this merchandise is usually higher because it depreciates with age, occupies space in warehouses, and ties up capital. So most companies end up selling these items on marketplaces like eBay or Amazon which will, as a result, generate more revenue than if those same clothes could just sit around taking up virtual room!
Traditional liquidation measures were cumbersome and required extra logistical effort. This is why several new online B2B auction marketplaces have popped up in recent years. These, along with brick and mortar liquidation stores where you can buy returned inventory, make it easier to buy the merchandise online or near you. When buying online, the shipping costs can be quite steep given the weight of the pallets of goods but are often well worth it for the heavy discount at which you can get most goods.
This extra merchandise is often sold as whole pallets referred to as liquidation pallets. A liquidation pallet is a wholesale unit that you can buy from any liquidator or big retailer. A typical one consists of mixture and assortment, usually within the same category; for example, shoes, clothing, and electronics are all examples of one specific kind of liquidation pallet.
For those who want more variety in their collections there's also an option to special order individual items which might not be available at all times - just like with most normal retail stores nowadays; they offer online shopping too! The shipping cost can vary depending on the weight of the liquidation pallets. If you're certain of what you want, you could want a liquidation pallet in larger quantities, in which case, you would order a truckload of that liquidation merchandise. Smaller liquidation boxes are also available when pallets are too much, but the most common lot size is a pallet grouped by type.
Generally, liquidation pallets come with a manifest of exactly what is contained within the pallets and boxes. A manifest is an exact outline of exactly what goods are contained inside that pallet. This is why standard pallets are sometimes also called manifested pallets. It may also happen that the contents of pallets and boxes be sold without a manifest - their contents being a complete (or partial) mystery.
What are Mystery Pallets?
Mystery Pallets - sounds exciting, doesn't it? Often when you're searching for inventory and pallets to buy, you might run into something called a Mystery Box or a Mystery Pallet. As the name suggests, the contents of such a box or pallet, are exactly that - a mystery. These pallets are sometimes also referred to as Unmanifested Pallets. While that might sound like we're wandering into a realm of spirituality, unmanifested pallets, or mystery pallets are simply termed so because they come without a manifest.
With Mystery pallets, the seller might provide some information about what is contained within the pallet. This could range from the category of items (electronics, makeup, or apparel), to a general idea of the number of items or the brand they belong to.
10 Best Places To Buy Liquidation Pallets Online & Near You
If you're looking to buy pallets of merchandise, be it from Amazon or other major retailers, there are plenty of places from where you can source these.
Shopping for liquidation pallets has never been easier. Begin by looking at the retailer’s online B2B marketplace (there are plenty!), where you can purchase overstock and other products directly from them – cutting out a middleman! Alternatively, you can have a look around the physical and digital stores of some of the liquidation pallet suppliers listed below.
BStock is an online marketplace that doubles up as an auction site. They provide a network of online liquidation auction markets for major retailers and manufacturers, including Wayfair, Walmart, Target, Amazon, Best Buy, and others. Retailers auction off large numbers of items across all categories and conditions (both new and opened) via online marketplaces.
While BStock acts as a facilitator, it never handles or poaches the goods; instead, buyers purchase straight from the seller through the retailer's liquidation marketplace. This allows for more direct contact, which benefits both buyers and sellers.
Quick Lotz specializes in selling liquidation products in both large and small quantities. Their range of products is vasts and includes everything from appliances, kitchens, and housewares to electronics, furniture, home décor, sporting goods, and toys. They even offer mixed lots.
They also specialize in name-brand merchandise as well as returns from companies like Amazon, Costco, Home Depot, and Lowe's. The auctions begin at extremely cheap costs, and delivery is within your budget. For a high-quality consignment, it's a tiny price to pay.
You can save costs by picking up the goods yourself as this would eliminate your shipping charges. f you want to start small or personally inspect the items before buying, Quick Lotz also acts as a wholesale business with brick and mortar stores at various locations.
Liquidation.com purchases and consigns returned items from major and small businesses then sell them off on its Liquidation.com marketplace. Most of the time, the stuff arrives from one of Liquidation.com's multiple warehouses located around the country. Quantities vary from auction to auction and can range from single-unit auctions to multi-million dollar auctions. Keep in mind that the marketplace's sellers are almost always anonymous.
TopTenWholesale.com is a search engine that connects buyers and suppliers for millions of products, all from one site. It's easy to find what you're looking for thanks to its vast selection at competitive prices with low shipping fees. Founded in 2005 by JP Communications Inc., TopTenWholesale owns Manufacturing.com.
TopTenWholesale.com is extremely popular among all kinds of bulk buyers such as boutique owners, dropshippers, auctioneers, eBay & Amazon sellers, and flea market sellers.
WiBargain works a bit differently from the other liquidation pallet suppliers on this list in that it only sells mystery pallets. They gained popularity through social media such as TikTok and Instagram for producing the best surprise boxes.
Although the contents of the boxes are a surprise, they place a special emphasis on quality checks. This is probably not an ideal box for those looking to make a business out of reselling liquidation pallets, but it might be a fun one-off buy.
They also have a physical warehouse facility in Bakersfield where they host auctions for over 500 items every Saturday where you can source specific liquidation items that you might need.
Bulq has been around since 2004 and has grown massively in that time. From a small garage seller, they have expanded to a full-fledged online marketplace.
They take their quality and assurance very seriously, which means that all liquidated lots come with a manifest that is completely accurate. They also promise to refund the difference if things are missing or not up to standard. Over 1 million people have shopped from Bulq to this date.
BlueLots is a B2B marketplace that links small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals searching for extra money with wholesale liquidation inventory that they can resale for a profit.
On their platform, some of the world's top retailers, as well as wholesale and closeout suppliers, sell their excess inventory. Their mission is to make it simple for entrepreneurs to establish and expand their businesses by providing excellent inventory, cutting-edge software, and superior customer service.
8. 888 Lots
888 Lots is a great platform to buy liquidated pallets because they have negotiable pricing, new inventory, and extensive data such as UPC, MSRP, and real-time selling prices on several marketplaces. What began as an electronic products wholesaler, has now expanded into a B2B liquidation marketplace with over 30 categories.
9. Smaller Lots
Smaller Lots started as a reseller of merchandise on eBay. They've grown to become a large online platform that facilitates resellers to buy quality items from giant retailers. Their customers include Amazon and eBay sellers, thrift stores, wholesalers, flea market sellers, refurbished goods retailers, and many more.
The cost of shipping depends on the order’s weight and delivery distance, which also has an impact on the time it takes to deliver the goods.
10. Bargain Junction
A retail liquidation store located in Billings, MO, Bargain-Junction specializes in the purchase of merchandise that contains returns, shelf pulls, and overstocked goods. They have a vast range of goods and offer these items in-store at heavily discounted prices.
They also have a wholesale division in Aurora, MA where they sell pallets and liquidation merchandise by the truckload.
What To Keep In Mind While Buying Liquidation Pallets
With the large variety of liquidation boxes and pallets available to be purchased, it is important to do some quality checks before you make your purchase. Where possible, look for returns from top-quality sellers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, etc. Another important thing to remember is to do your due diligence when it comes to having an understanding of exactly what it is that your lot contains. Most liquidation pallets and boxes come with a list of the exact merchandise (except of course, if it's a mystery pallet!). This is especially true if you're buying the goods online because you won't be able to physically assess the items or deduce if they have any kind of damage that you might need to watch out for.
Sometimes, shipping costs can be extremely high. A liquidation palette selling for $500 with a retail value of $1500 could be an additional $500 in shipping costs. Keep this in mind when you calculate the per-unit cost of each item and make sure you tally that with the selling price and the profit you are expecting to make on your sale.
Reselling goods and merchandise from liquidation boxes is a great business model if you're looking for a way to make some additional income on the side. Another big benefit is that you'll actively be helping reduce demand for new goods and preventing the wastage of a whole host of different kinds of items - from apparel to appliances, that would otherwise end up somewhere in a landfill. There's a $400 billion industry with a ton of potential, that only a few are tapping into. This has the potential to be a great sustainable business idea.
As in any other business, there are risks involved which is why you must do your due diligence and ensure that the items you are buying are up to standard.