April 2nd, 2009 | 1 MIN READ

5 Ways to Handle Returned-to-Stock Items

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

What do you do with returned stock? While some open-box, returned or damaged products can be sent back to the manufacturer to be later sold as factory refurbs, that's not the case for all product categories. The following are just some of the ways retailers are re-selling returned/damaged stock:

Outlet Stores

Zappos doesn't frown upon ordering 3 sizes and 3 colors of a shoe to try on, with 365 days to return unworn merchandise. If returned items are no longer carried on Zappos.com or come back damaged, Zappos sends the soles to its (physical) outlet store. Other retailers have outlet sections on their online stores.

Ebay/Amazon Marketplaces

Tapping into high-traffic shopping sites like eBay and Amazon is a great way to sell open-box/slightly damaged merchandise.

Returned to Stock Category

AltEnergy lives its renewable energy philosophy with its Open Box/Returned to Stock category:

Down-selling on Product Pages

I've never seen a merchant "downsell" its own stock before (well, other than Amazon promoting marketplace offers), but CSN Stores shows relevant returned items on product pages for huge savings:

Giving Back to the Community

Mountain Equipment Co-Op is not necessarily doing this but it could tap into its own Gear Swap community to sell merchandise it can't advertise as in "new" condition.

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