Question: I’m thinking about making my first liquidation purchase, specifically customer returns from either Costco, Walmart, or Amazon.com. I am having a hard time deciding which store to purchase from. Of the three stores mentioned, is one better than the other as far as overall damage ratios to expect?
Every pallet of customer returns is different. You should not assume returns from any one store will be consistent, as far as damages are concerned. Having said that, there is something to be said for the store they originate from. From my experience, Amazon.com loads tend to have less damages because merchandise is immediately returned [by the retail consumer] if it is the wrongs size, color, and such. Retail consumers do not wait around when returning merchandise because Amazon makes retuning merchandise a breeze. Because of this, Amazon loads usually have a lower percentage of damages compared to the other stores you mentioned in your question.
Costco customer returns tend to be really clean and because of this, are well sought after within the liquidation industry. Only problem with Costco the product mix; loads can contain all categories of merchandise from clothing to food items. Most people want the electronics and higher ticket items, and the grocery items can become a burden/loss to the salvage buyer.
Walmart return loads contain an unusual amount of shelf pulled items, which is great! I also appreciate the fact that Walmart pallets are presorted and de-labled to meet brand protection guidelines. You pay a per pallet fee for prison inmates to perform this work, but it is well worth it. Walmart loads are ready to sell once they are shipped to your door.
Our 2016 Liquidators Guide chronicles 12 years of wholesale product sourcing experience and includes my personal black book of direct source contacts! As an industry expert, I'll share the success I've enjoyed along with the mistakes I've made buying and reselling liquidation merchandise.
If you are thinking about buying pallets of liquidation merchandise from a liquidator, broker, or direct from department stores, you need to check out The Liquidators Guide