10 Ways to Clear Out Old Inventory and Boost Your Business

10 ways to clear out old inventory

After awhile, old inventory starts to stink up the place.

Whether in your Etsy shop or on your web site, continually renewing the same tired old listings that aren’t bringing in customers can actually hurt your business.

They distract browsers from paying attention to the listings that they may otherwise be interested in enough to purchase, and can give your customers too many options as to instill decision fatigue.

(Decision fatigue is what happens when someone is overwhelmed by all of the options to the point of simply giving up and picking NOTHING instead.)

We don’t want that to happen.

So what can you do? Simply throwing it all out would be the equivalent to throwing away dollar bills, and thus, a sure-fire way to kill you business. Instead, there a several other options you have to choose from, all of which could give your business a BOOST. I’ve listed 10 of them out for you below:

1. Clearance sale what isn’t selling at regular price.

This is what most of the bigger retailers do, and there’s no reason why those of us with smaller, handmade businesses shouldn’t be learning from example. In your Etsy shop you could add a separate section for your clearance items, and mark those suckers down to price points that would be simply too crazy to resist. If you include how few of each item is left, you’ll also induce scarcity. This will give your customers the extra push they may need to buy before missing out!

2. Send your old inventory to bloggers in exchange for exposure.

You can check out this blog post for how to find bloggers to review your products. Bloggers can provide a great way to advertise your products to your target audience with little upfront cost.

3. Include items as surprise freebies in the orders you send out.

Do this if the freebie item is related to the paid purchase, such as a matching pair of earrings (you want to make sure that the customer will actually like the freebie item and not be annoyed by it). This is a level of generosity that will incite loyalty and raving reviews among your customers.

4. Use your inventory as giveaway prizes.

Host giveaways to get more e-mail subscribers, Instagram followers, and more. It’s amazing how something that no one wanted when it had a price tag attached to it suddenly because desirable when it’s a prize to be claimed. 🙂

5. Donate your inventory to a charitable event.

If you’re keeping up with local events (and you should be), you’ve probably come across a conference, charity ball, or ceremony that offers door prizes and gift bags to it’s attendees. Almost always the items included in these gift bags have been donated by local businesses, and these businesses get to claim the exposure equal to that of being a cash-providing sponsor.

6. Sell your old inventory through consignment shops.

Normally, consignment isn’t high on my recommendation list for how to sell your goods (because it holds your products hostage when they could otherwise be sold outright and making you money), but I make an exception when it comes to stale inventory that’s cluttering up your online storefronts. Just make sure you only partner with reputable consignment shops and keep a copy of your contract ensuring that you will (a) get paid within a certain timeline and (b) get your remaining inventory back, even in in the event of the storefront going under.

7. Put a discount bin in your craft show booth.

I’m always amazed at how little inventory I have left in my $3 discount bin by the end of the day at a craft show. You’ll find that many people, especially at an in-person event, love the thrill of a bargain.

8. Donate your items to charity.

Not only can you claim a deduction on your taxes for the value of your items, but you can feel good knowing that your old inventory is making a difference.

9. Save old inventory for a re-release date.

Sometimes having something “back in stock” in as little as 6 to 12 months can make it exciting enough to be desired and purchased.

10. Transform pieces that can be re-used or re-purposed.

Sometimes it makes more sense to take apart your pieces that aren’t serving your business and make something new out of them. You could even document the process for your blog or Instagram feed to present the interesting story of a before and after transformation.


Now onto you:

I’d love to hear what tactics you’ve used to move your old inventory. Tell me in the comments below!



Share Button

7 thoughts on “10 Ways to Clear Out Old Inventory and Boost Your Business

  1. I have done 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 10. I even have a recurring listing in my Etsy shop for donating to a charitable event. I call it “Pay it Forward” at STARARTjewelry.
    I would also like to suggest #11 on your list be a swap with another artist. If you have friends or associates you can do grab bags or trades. That way you get something new and find a home for something old.

  2. I love the discount bins at craft shows idea. I’ve done it and it worked. I also use the repurposing thing regularly. Another way of freeing myself of old inventory is to have a buy one, get one free sale. Sending it to out of town relatives as gifts, scores a lot of points with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *