The Pricey Voyage: Challenges and Costs of Shipping Closeouts and Excess Inventory Across the U.S.

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For businesses of all sizes, managing inventory is a constant tightrope walk. Overstock and unwanted items can tie up valuable capital, leading to storage costs and lost sales opportunities. One solution often considered is shipping these closeout, overstock, or discontinued products across the country to liquidation outlets or online marketplaces. However, this seemingly simple solution can be fraught with hidden costs and logistical challenges. Here we examine the complexities and financial burdens associated with shipping excess inventory, closeouts, discontinued products and other unwanted merchandise across the United States.

The Allure of Liquidation: Why Businesses Consider Cross-Country Shipping

There are several reasons why businesses might choose to ship closeout or excess inventory across the country. Here are a few key motivators:

  • Reaching a Wider Audience: Liquidation outlets selling closeouts, overstock inventory, excess stock and unwanted merchandise can provide access to a broader customer base than your local market. This can be particularly attractive for businesses with niche products or those located in geographically isolated areas.
  • Higher Selling Prices: While liquidation sales often involve discounted prices, they can still offer a better return on investment than letting inventory languish in storage. The cost of storing old inventory it too expensive so it is better to liquidate stock quickly and make room in the warehouse.
  • Freeing Up Warehouse Space: Excess inventory can quickly eat into valuable warehouse space. Shipping excess items out frees up room for new products or other business needs. If you are shutting down your business or offloading excess inventory due to downsizing and moving to a smaller warehouse, it is good if you can get rid of your inventory all at one time.
  • Tax Benefits: In some cases, businesses may be able to claim tax deductions for selling closeouts and liquidating overstock inventory at a loss through liquidation.

The Costly Reality: Breaking Down the Financial Burden

While the potential benefits of cross-country shipping for closeouts are clear, the associated costs can significantly impact profitability. Here's a breakdown of the key financial considerations:

  • Freight Costs: The single biggest expense is typically the freight cost. This depends on several factors, including the weight, dimensions, and distance of the shipment. Less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping, often used for smaller quantities, can be expensive per unit weight compared to full truckload (FTL) options. Keep in mind when liquidating excess inventory, the cost is low, so the shipping is a high percentage. When offloading products and selling off closeouts you won’t get the regular price. So, overstock lawn and garden products, or excess inventory of housewares and toys will be sold off at a steep discount.
  • Fuel Surcharges: Fuel prices are notoriously volatile, and carriers often add surcharges to base rates. These fluctuations can significantly impact your overall shipping costs. If you are in need of an inventory liquidator, you can do a simple Google search using these terms: closeouts, overstock inventory buyers, offloading excess merchandise, where to find closeout companies, need to make room in warehouse, keen to clear stock, shutting down operations, moving to smaller warehouse.
  • Packing Materials: Proper packaging is crucial to prevent damage during transit. Costs for boxes, pallets, and other materials can quickly add up, especially for large shipments. Packing and shipping closeouts and overstock products is the same as regular line goods. Just because you are losing money on discontinued products or overstock liquidation inventory is no reason to pack it any less secure.
  • Hidden Fees: Many carriers have additional fees, such as accessorial charges for things like liftgate service or residential delivery. Be sure to understand all charges before booking your shipment. Depending on where you will be shipping your liquidation inventory and closeouts will determine any hidden fees. Closeout companies are businesses that specialize in buying unwanted merchandise, closeouts, excess inventory and overstock products. These are often products owned by a warehouse or company and these are products that are no longer wanted or needed. They can be available for many reasons including shutting down and liquidating a business, downsizing warehouses and keen to clear stock, overstock products that didn’t sell, offloading inventory due to illness, or simply a business going in a different direction.

Beyond the Money: Logistical Challenges of Cross-Country Shipping

Beyond the financial considerations, there are several logistical challenges associated with cross-country shipping for closeouts, inventory liquidations, overstock products, unwanted inventory and excess stock.

  • Finding the Right Carrier: Negotiating competitive rates and finding a carrier with the capacity and expertise to handle your specific needs can be time-consuming. Shipping closeouts is essential to moving your overstock products to the buyer.
  • Lead Times: LTL and FTL shipments can take several days or even weeks to reach their destination. This can impact your ability to quickly monetize your inventory. Sometimes, if you have a large closeout inventory or a full truckload of excess merchandise or overstock products, you can get a full truckload rate.
  • Damage and Loss:The risk of damage during shipping is always present, and dealing with claims can be a lengthy and frustrating process. Keep in mind, closeouts and excess inventory have the same chance of being lost or damaged as regular line goods. You still need to ensure your closeouts and unwanted inventory for whatever amount you sold it for.
  • Inventory Management:Coordinating shipping logistics with your inventory management system can be complex, especially for large or frequent shipments.
  • Minimum Order Quantities: Liquidation outlets often have minimum order quantities, which may not be feasible for all businesses.

Alternatives to Cross-Country Shipping: Exploring Options

Before committing to cross-country shipping, it's crucial to explore alternative solutions that may be more cost-effective or efficient. Here are some options to consider:

  • Local Liquidation Outlets: Look for liquidation outlets in your area that may be interested in purchasing your closeouts, excess inventory and other products you are offloading. If you can find a local buyer interested in your unwanted inventory and overstock merchandise you will save a lot of money on shipping. This can save on shipping costs and simplify logistics.
  • Online Marketplaces: There are several online marketplaces dedicated to selling closeout and overstock inventory, excess stock, discontinued products, and other unwanted inventory. Platforms like eBay, Amazon Liquidation Auctions, and can help you reach a national audience without the high cost of cross-country shipping.
  • Donations: Donating unwanted inventory to charitable organizations can provide a tax deduction and help a good cause. Be sure the items are in good condition and meet the organization's needs.
  • Discounts and Promotions: Consider offering discounts and promotions to clear out excess inventory through your existing sales channels. This can be a more cost-effective way to move unwanted items compared to shipping them across the country.

Merchandise USA has been an inventory liquidator for almost 40 years. We specialize in buying overstock products, excess inventory, closeouts, discontinued products, and other unwanted products. If you are moving to a smaller warehouse, shutting down a warehouse or going out of business, we can help. Whether you are offloading excess inventory of pet products, lawn and garden closeouts or discontinued home décor please call us. We buy closeouts in all categories and we are one of the largest closeout buyers in the United States.