Last night I was reviewing a pallet of shoes from a well known wholesale liquidator, and I noticed they were advertising the shoes being customer returned from a popular catalog retailer. Further into the pallet description they said that catalog customer returns are typically cleaner (meaning less damages) than that of retail store returns. I stopped for amoment to wrap my head around why catalog returns would be ‘cleaner’ than that of retail store returns.

Here is my thinking, please be sure to weigh in with your comments…

Industry sercets and DIRECT source contacts....I'm sharing 18 years of pallet and truckload buying experience within 200+ pages of the 2022 Liquidators Guide


Catalog customer returns
– From a retail purchasing standpoint, ordering online requires a bit of risk. Most catalog retailer online do a great job of showing high resolution photos of items such as shoes, handbags, and clothing, but photos can only describe an item in one dimension. When a retail buyer opens the box after ordering, it it usually immediately evident if an item will be returned. Once an item is tried on, if it does not fit, often it goes right back into the box and returned.

Retail store returns – Speaking in terms of clothing, shoes or handbags, shoppers usually spend a great deal of time in a store making initial decisions about items to be purchased. These shoppers, in the case of clothing, will even try on items before making a purchase (obviously, this cannot be done when purchasing online). There are many more decisions a retail (in store) shopper makes before purchasing.

It should also be understood that catalog shoppers have less of a window to return items versus traditional storefront retailers, hence catalog returns probably see less use and abuse. Makes sense, and I can know see why this liquidator would make such a claim about catalog returns.

I went on to review the shies pallet that was being offered. Some of the brands included Skechers, Reebok, Aerosoles, Naturalizer, Auditions, Nurse Mates, Grasshoppers, Blitz, Bandolino, Bass, Hush Puppies, Easy Spirit, Steve Madden, Timberland, and Clarks . The wholesale customer returns were being offered at $15.00 per pair, in pallet quantity. Sounds like a good deal for eBay and flea market sellers!