What are Uninspected Customer Returns?
Uninspected customer returns are products that have been returned by customers but have not been inspected or refurbished by the retailer before being offered for sale again. There are several types of businesses that can benefit from purchasing uninspected customer returns, including repair centers and workshops, online and brick-and-mortar stores, and resellers. Resellers can buy uninspected customer returns in bulk and resell them either online or in their own physical stores. It is important to note that business registration is usually required to sell untested customer returns, as these sales are generally limited to business-to-business transactions.
- Who can profit from uninspected customer returns?
- How to make a profit with uninspected customer returns?
- Check your uninspected customer returns!
- How to reduce the risk?
- Websites to buy returned merchandise online.
Returns are a popular customer feature for the retail business. Customers which are unhappy with the purchased product or have changed their minds have the option to return the product for replacement or refund. And while customer returns in brick-and-mortar stores are accepted by the staff and will be inspected, online customer returns are processed differently.
The process to return products, generally is recommended to be fast and free as this will increase customer loyalty in the long run. Retailers who tried to make the customer returns more complicated, strict, or expensive, saw significant repeatable customers decrease over two years.
That is why many retailers avoid making customer returns procedures hard. Generally, they try to reduce customer returns with better and more photos, guides for sizes, and descriptions. All this aims to minimize the difference between customer expectations and the real product. While retailers are focused on reducing the gap between these two factors, they also accumulate expenses related to customer returns. Processing, refurbishing, repackaging, and storing the returns at some point is getting very expensive. The returns could be thousands and even millions when you are big like Amazon for example. To cut losses the retailers start to stockpile returns and no further tasks are performed to minimize the expenses. These are the non-inspected returns or uninspected returns. Normally they are prepared for shipment in pallets and/or multiple boxes. All these uninspected customer returns, when combined are called Lots on the liquidation websites like Eurolots.com. They are sold to companies through liquidation auctions and wholesale pricing.
Generally, anyone can make a profit from uninspected customer returns. Although you should have in mind that company registration is required as this is strictly B2B. There are plenty of businesses that can make a profit even if they are not resellers. Buying consumables and products for internal use is a regular practice for some companies. Good examples of these types of customers are hotels and small guest houses, who are buying detergents for cleaning and washing. They are aiming to reduce their daily expenses while taking advantage of the extremely low prices of bleach, soaps, etc. The main type of businesses with a model that can greatly benefit from uninspected customer returns are brick-and-mortar shops, online shops, repair centers, and resellers. We will take a detailed look below:
1. Repair centers and workshops
Without any doubt companies that can repair products are those who will have the highest profit margin. The products which require only cleaning and repackaging are easy to be processed for anyone, but products that are missing parts or any other issue might need a more professional approach. A company will rarely have the required specialists to repair any product, most companies are specialized in specific types like TV, laptops, or kitchen appliances and they will take advantage of their know-how, staff, and tools. A repair center is not even required to have all the necessary spare parts for the hundreds of types of vacuum cleaners. They only need to purchase lots with matching products and use some of the items as spare parts for the others. Obviously, they will accumulate a lot of parts when buying selected products from the same type and/or the same brand. This will result in fewer unused products from uninspected customer returns and even more profits.
2. Online shops & brick-and-mortar shops
Both online shops and physical stores can buy and sell all products which might not need repair. Clothes, shoes, books, and generally a variety of non-electrical uninspected customer returns for sports, hobbies, and professional applications. Any battery-powered hand tools, kitchen appliances, and other equipment could also be purchased from the uninspected customer returns. These products often have missing or defective batteries. If the shop can find these batteries separately and/or have ways to recycle batteries, this is another opportunity to increase profit. Of course, all uninspected customer returns which are in good condition and only with slight wear, scratches, or damaged packaging can directly be sold. Some products may need only cleaning as the customer returned them after initial test usage. This often happens with vacuum cleaners and electrical tools because the customer is not happy with the machine’s power, features, or accessories.
Any of the above-mentioned cases can take advantage of additional exposure by publishing an offer on a classified ads website. Here is a list of a few European websites for secondhand and new items.
European classified ad marketplaces
- Facebook Marketplace – The most popular social media makes Facebook one of the best marketplaces for any country.
- eBay – any geo version of the website will do. Of course, you can also go for international shipping worldwide.
- OLX – is a very popular marketplace for both new and secondhand items. Has versions for Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Portugal
If you know a reputable website in your country which should be added to the list above, send us a message on Facebook.
There are a few steps that anyone planning to make a profit from uninspected customer returns should have in mind. Not all steps are a must for all the different types of products, but we strongly recommend reading all of them and becoming familiar with them.
1. Check your market
Don’t buy products that are just a bargain. Check your market and try to answer: Is the brand familiar, Is the product familiar, what is the price of this or similar product as new, what is the price of this or similar product second hand… Sometimes you can invest your money in a product that can be very nice and at a very good price, but people don’t recognize it. Locking your investments long-term should be considered in advance.
2. Check your niche
Check your competition both online and on the next block. Do they have something similar? How are the sales going? What would be your competitive advantage? Trying to sell uninspected customer returns next to a pawn shop could be a challenge. Maybe just sell the products directly to them!
3. Check the product
Regarding the products, there are a few things to consider. Is this a discontinued product or is it a product in production? How about spare parts availability and are there repair centers nearby? Can you offer a warranty? How about a refund? If the product should be maintained somehow, is it complicated? Can you do it in-house or should this be outsourced? Are there consumables required? Are there consumables related to normal product usage, like bags for vacuum cleaners?
There are a few big players in the market, but we will include in this list not only European companies but also a few global players in the liquidations market:
- Eurolots – European liquidation wholesale with a huge selection of items and lots
- Merkandi – Marketplace with many wholesalers buying and selling customer returns and pallets with merchandise in general from Europe.
- Bstock – Again marketplace, but this time a global one with dozens of liquidation companies
- Britdeals – UK liquidation website with great deals for electronics, toys and clothing.
- 888lots – American wholesale liquidation service with top brands and a large variety of lots and items
- DirectLiquidation – Huge variety, top brands and an abundance of liquidation merchandise.
- Liquidation – Another marketplace major player on the market with hundreds of categories and dozens of retailers
Sort and Catalog
Verify what you have got. Sort products and use the Lot manifest as a catalog of the products. You can print one, directly from the webpage. Later on, you can take notes about the products on the manifest.
Check the Packaging
Check the packaging! Should you repackage the item, or you can use the original one? How many boxes? What sizes? Is it possible to sell without a box? Consider shipment and delivery when you are planning the packaging. Items should not be loose, and all parts and accessories should fit nicely without bending or stretching. A box too big could increase your shipment cost while also increasing the risk of freely moving objects during transportation. Prepare bubble wrap for boxes and bags for the items which can be sent in a plastic bag like clothes.
Uninspected Returns Condition
Check the products for dust, scratches, traces of wear, usage, malfunction, etc. If you can check the product’s functioning, do it. Does it light up, is there an indication that is turned on? Check different operating modes. Check for missing accessories and or parts. If a non-vital accessory is missing, include this in the description. Is there a manual or is it missing? Also, checking language possibilities – as in some cases – a manual in a native language is important.
Does the manufacturer offer a warranty?
This could be a nice addition to the product’s description and pricing. Some products and some manufacturers have an international warranty, and it will be available to those end customers who register at the manufacturer’s website. This could be for many items, but mostly electronics. Cameras, laptops and desktops from Dell, MSI, Panasonic, Sony, etc. have an international warranty from mid to high-level class products.
Have in mind that the shipping is calculated on checkout. Therefore the price will increase depending on your location and the size and weight of the order.
Always consider VAT, when purchasing. All items and lots are published without VAT. Don’t forget to add your country’s VAT to get the total cost of the order you are about to make.
One pallet of 3 uninspected customer returns items has a much higher chance to contain products that cannot be sold immediately. Therefore, go for quantity and lower price per product in a lot. Check the manifest. Some lots may contain more than one product of a single ASIN. Take advantage of it.
Synchronize pallets ASIN
Alright, you have found a lot with some great items for your market. Copy the ASIN and use the search to find other lots with the same product. Combine lots with similar items to reduce risk and increase profit.
If this is not your first order, you can negotiate the price of the chosen lots. Send a reasonable offer and our sales will review it.
Make the first order discount COUNT
Our ultimate goal as one of the biggest European liquidation wholesalers is to create and maintain a healthy relationship with our customers. For any new partnership, we initially have a huge First Order Discount. The discount could be different for items and lots but rarely is less than 50%. At the time of writing the article (September 2022), it is 50% on Items and 70% on Lots. Paying half the price or less, but getting a full shopping experience, will provide our new partners with better ideas on how to run the business and make a profit with uninspected returns. Have in mind that mixing items and lots with different statuses, for example, brand new and uninspected returns, will not cancel your First Order Discount. Any order should be a minimum of 100.00 Euro without VAT and should be less than 1,000.00 Euro without VAT to take advantage of the discount. If the order is more than 1,000.00 Euro, the First Order Discount is off as this is an initial stimulus and not a regular shopping. Have in mind that some items will not be included in the First Order Discount – these are returns that are already on a closeout price or newly arrived. These items will stay out of the first order discount. We do this to protect the interest of our regular customers. They can take a look and select what is matching their market.
If you are serious about your knowledge and position on the market of selected goods, buy them for 999 Euro instead of 1,998 Euro, to get a boost for your business from the first order.
The dramatic increase in online sales in the last few years will bring even more uninspected customer returns. Companies that can process and sell the returns will have the same dramatic increase in profit. Buying an item, 5 or even 10+ times cheaper than the retail price is always a bargain.
Check Eurolot’s current and upcoming uninspected customer returns and join the wholesalers we work with across the entire Europe.