There are dozens of articles floating around the net right now in reference to consumer retail purchasing and returns for the 2011 holiday season. Most articles read as a sort of death sentence for large big box retailers declaring the rate and cost of holiday merchandise returns and exchanges will surpass previous expectations. According to one article posted 12/20/2011, the processing, repairing, refurbishing, and re-stocking of consumer returned merchandise will hit an all time high of $16.7 billion annually for mass retailers.
One might think that if a DVD player or stereo is returned to Best Buy undamaged, it will find its way back to the sales floor immediately. Granted, Best Buy does offer open box electronic deals, they [electronic items] are returned to the sales floor only after a unit has been fully tested and guaranteed to meet manufacturers specifications. The process of testing off-sight can take a tremendous amount of time especially if return rates are unusually high.
In my experience, Best Buy offers open box items if the item is still current, and being sold on the sales floor. What happens to those items that have been tested functioning, but due to technology advancement are now obsolete from a retail merchandising standpoint?
You guessed it, they end up being liquidated to small resellers like you and I. And, what happens to those items that were tested and found to be broken? Some of the broken items may be refurbished to manufacturers specs and then be resold on Best Buy’s website.
Have you visited Best Buy’s website lately? Visitor have a choice in most categories to purchase new or refurbished items at a steep discount. And still, a large quantity of broken electronic items are not refurbished, but liquidated in pallet and truckload quantities, again, to you and I…the small reseller.
Retail reverse logistics reports are forecasting an avalanche of consumer returns within the first quarter of 2012. This news might be dismal for the mass retail sector, but I see it as a great opportunity for the small eBay seller, flea market vendor, and discount store owner. It sounds as though there will be plenty of pallets and truckloads of merchandise available for the taking. This may prove to be the edge small resellers need for a profitable 2012!