Hoard No More: How to Reduce E-Store Surplus

When it comes to starting your own online store, there is a lot to think about: how do you build an audience, what are the best ways to process payments, how do you come up with a brand identity and so much more.

If you are using an ecommerce website platform for free, there may even be built-in solutions to combat these challenges.

One thing often overlooked, however, is the difficulty of storing all your products in a way that is accessible for speedy resale. Small ecommerce vendors will sometimes store products in their homes to keep overhead costs low while others will spring for a storage locker.

Still, there will eventually be a point when stock just isn’t selling and a new order of goods comes to your doorstep. What do you do? Further clutter your family room and hallways with unsold items? Fumble around with boxes in your storage facility for some sort of Tetris-esque semblance of order?

Below are a few tips to reduce e-store surplus and declutter your storage rooms:

Limit Stocking Certain Goods

To avoid fiasco, some ecommerce vendors choose to limit their stockpile to the absolute minimum. This strategy really depends on what you are selling. Obviously, this method is prudent for perishable food products, but it might be less appropriate for hot-ticket items that fly off the proverbial shelves. You don’t want to frustrate your customers with an e-store bereft of online goods, right?

One of the biggest killers is seasonal goods. Newbie vendors sometimes get excited about the holidays and, in an effort to cash in on seasonal shopping, overstock on winter-themed items. The troubling part is that no one is looking for a wreath or menorah in February.

Striking the right balance can be tough, but with enough practice and experience you’ll start to know instinctively.

Assess Market Interest Before Stockpiling

Make no doubt about it, buying or making products can be expensive. Let’s say you come up with a really great idea for sparkly pants; it might be a niche product, sure, but your audience is pretty out there and they like bold fashion. You post your product to the store, but for some reason, people just aren’t buying. You check social media only to find out that sparkle wear is so last season.

This can happen to anybody. If you don’t want to get stuck with an overflow of glittery goodies, it might have been a smart idea to post your idea on Facebook or Instagram. This can work to drum up a little enthusiasm before a new product launch or let you know that people just aren’t that interested. You can also asses market interest by following blogs, news articles, your competitors and more.

Use Drop Shipping

Drop shipping is another option which can eliminate stockpiling entirely. This retail fulfillment method sends customer orders to a third-party manufacturer which then ships the item directly to the shopper. This way, the merchant never has to stock or handle the products, leading to benefits like low overhead costs and nearly limitless ability to scale. This option is sometimes recommended by ecommerce website providers with free options like Shopify.

Of course, there are some downsides to drop shipping. Since the vendor has almost no connection to the product, there are some concerns regarding quality and customer service which must be managed by you or pushed off to the shipper. Similarly, supplier errors are almost entirely out of your control which can lead to its own set of headaches. Again, this will largely depend on your store and the products you are selling.

Get Creative with Your Offerings

While, admittedly, all the above measures are preventative, there are still things you can do to relieve the backlog of items you have right now. Think about offering giveaways, sales and bundle deals to eliminate store surplus and excite shoppers into buying previously unsold products.

For example, selling sample packages of makeup can motivate shoppers to try something new and fall in love with product they’ve never tried before. Similarly, giveaways and contests can drive more users to follow your brand on social media, which can, in turn, boost sales in the future. Don’t be afraid to get creative — after all, experimentation is the best way to learn!

We hope these tips will increase the profitability of your ecommerce websites while simultaneously freeing up your living room of clutter. Happy selling!