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Retail Store Fixtures Liquidation

Liquidating your retail store fixtures to get the best return during a store closing takes an organized plan and execution. Fixtures that teachers can use or would go nice in someone’s garage or home are the easiest to sell.

The first rule is that one person should handle all fixture sales. This makes it easier knowing what is for sale and reduces the chances of selling the same fixture twice.

When the person in charge of fixtures is not present, the other employees should get the customer’s name, phone number and what fixtures they are interested in. Make a simple form and leave plenty at the registers. There should be sheets made to list all the fixtures for sale.

The week before the liquidation sale is the best time to walk the retail store to list and priced fixtures. Labeling the fixtures will make it easier to find the price quickly when a customer shows interest.

The sheet should list the number of the fixture, description, selling price, quantity and a space to mark it being sold. It is best to keep this sheet in a binder near the front of the store or by the registers.

All fixtures sold should be listed in a receipt book with at least two copies. The label or dot should be marked sold. Do not allow the customer to pick up the fixture until it is cleared. I would make an effort quickly as possible to clear it, but do not destroy your store for them to take the fixture home on the spot if you still need it.

Do not wait until the end of the sale to allow customers to pick up all the fixtures, otherwise some people will not show up in time. Do not list any fixtures sold until you collect all the money from the customer. If they want to put a down payment, require the rest of the money quickly or you may never see them again and be stuck with that fixture.

In order to price retail store fixtures, you need to know the cost or what they are selling at other stores, eBay, Craigslist or anywhere else you can find them. The higher demand items, you can get 50-70% of cost, while many items sell for 33-50% of cost.
The best place to advertise your fixtures would be for store owner’s in the same industry. After that, you should place small classified ads in a large newspaper in the area.

I would also post this ad in Craigslist with pictures in nearby large cities especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Keep posting the fixture ads every two or three days in Craigslist.

As merchandise sells down, work all the empty retail store fixtures together in the back of the store. It would be wise to list the price also to save the person handling fixtures time.

In today’s business climate, If you try closing your store and any of these areas are done in a haphazard way, you can either lose thousands of dollars by selling off to quickly or not fast enough and in either case you lose money or have a great deal left at the end.

8 Tips to Selling Fixtures

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First, you want to have a banner announcing you will be conducting a store closing sale. In addition, you should mention your sale on Craigslist.
The main part is to have a postacrd or letter sent out to let people know about your sale.

It should be brief mentioning when sale starts and your business name and address. It should mention discounts up to 1/2 off. Everything is on sale and there will be prizes.
The prizes can be 2-4 $25 gift certificates from your store. it will work even better if you mention in the postcard or letter, this is a private invitation.

I prefer postcards, but letters will work also. The postcard is cheaper to send and you can use a targeted mailing list or EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail)

The key is to create a shopping frenzy and to capture the email, physical address or cell phone to keep in touch with these customers during the sale.

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You are wasting your money in using a professional retail liquidation company to manage your store closing / going out of business sale. They will give you suggestions, but you decide you know better or are a control freak, save your money and do the sale yourself. You probably will not be happy with the result, but diluting the results by deciding you know more than the consultant is a formula for disaster.
You should follow their suggestions at least 95% of the time, if you want great results.

I had done a sale recently that was a referral. The store owner who referred me had excellent results and the sale ended early. This owner followed my suggestions 100%. The other owner was a control freak and ignore my suggestions constantly. It was so bad, one of his main employees emailed him wonder why he used us, since he ignored our advice. This employee also told him that everything that I said was going to happen did. We did better in this sale than I thought, but the sale should have ended a week early and with more money in his pocket. The owner had an unrealistic value on some of his fixtures and the ones I told him the price was too high did not sell.

Most of my sales are with fantastic owners who use my experience of 13 years to get the most for their inventory and fixtures. It is a retail store owner’s best interest to manage their own sale if they are a control freak or will not listen to suggestions.

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To keep traffic visiting your store, you must have a strategy that you are constantly working. The key is to maximize your traffic which will increase your return. There are a variety of ways to keep traffic coming to your store closing sale. I have listed a few below:

1. Craigslist is an excellent option and it is free. List products that show the best values for the customers and have pictures. Do two-three new ads daily and renew old ads every 48 hours.Do not list or renew all your ads at the same time. Must have different titles and copy in the ad or you risk getting flagged or ghosted.

2. Capture the contact info of the customers by email, text message or physical address. Contact them every time there is a price reduction. I would send a postcard or letter to your list when the discount is 1/2 off.

3. Banners and window signs show that the store is closing and once the discount hits 1/3 off show the discounts on your windows, banners or reader boards.

4. Advertising in the local radio, newspaper or free guide. The items must show value to the customer or the response will be poor. I like to advertise high gross margin items that are low dollar items to get customers to the store. The ad has one purpose only. It is to
get people inside your retail store.

These four methods are a good start to driving traffic. There are other methods that can be effective such as Facebook or Twitter if you have an active page.

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One of the biggest issues for retail store owners is cost of their inventory during a liquidation sale. In the first part of the sale, cost is one facet in setting the sale prices. Near the end of the sale, cost is not a factor.

It is about maximizing revenues. Store owners who are concerned about cost at the end are stuck with loads of inventory that could be converted to cash. The key is to maximize opportunities to sell the items with the highest cost during a liquidation sale. I will often place these items in craigslist ads with pictures.

You can find out more about pricing for your liquidation sale here:
Pricing Tips During Store Closing Sale

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One of the biggest mistakes store owners make at the end of a going out of business sale is getting rid of the last remaining inventory. It could be they believe everything will sell at 50% off. You will sell a lot of that price, but slowly the sales will trickle down to nothing.

Many owners have a hard time selling items below cost. This is understandable while running your business, but at the end of a store closing sale, costs should not matter. The only thing that matters is how much you can get for it.

Most of the time after 50% off, I will go 70% off for a week and a few days at 80% off. During the 80% off, I will take offers on slow-moving sections and sell them in bulk. Most stores are talking about thousands of dollars they can put in their pocket while minimizing expenses. Otherwise, there will be a point of time, your revenues will be less than your expenses.

I have seen stores keeping their doors open for less than $100 a day in sales because they would not take additional markdowns or sell the sections in bulk.

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