Make your next inventory reduction sale memorable.

Maintaining fresh inventory is crucial for any small business. Customers appreciate new arrivals and are more likely to return to a store that offers a variety of options. 

But sometimes, despite the best efforts of a store owner, not all items sell as quickly as anticipated. This is where inventory reduction ideas come in handy. A store owner can free up valuable storage space for new inventory and improve the bottom line by discounting or clearing out items that aren't selling. 

In this article, we'll explore 17 inventory clearance ideas that can be used as sales promotions that help reduce the amount of inventory on hand and improve sales.

stack of clothes inventory to clear out.

The Non-Sale Switcheroo

Consider redesigning the appearance of your shop as a way to reduce inventory without having to offer a clearing out sale. You can rearrange racks, shelving units, rounders, or any other displays to give the shop a fresh and unique look. Moving merchandise from one end of the shop to the other can make it more appealing to potential buyers. This is a cost-effective way to refresh your shop and attract new customers.

Buy-the-Bag Event

Provide each customer with a grocery bag, laundry bag, or store bag on the day of your inventory sale. Offer all merchandise to be sold at a fixed price for the entire bag, or you can use a scale and sell items by their weight per pound.

Find a New Holiday

Did you know that January 13 is Make Your Dream Come True Day, or April 7 is No Housework Day? The internet is filled with websites that list fun and quirky "holidays" that can be celebrated with a special sale or event. For example, you can take Hoodie Hoo Day (February 20) and offer a special discount price to any shopper who comes in and says "Hoodie Hoo."

A Dutch Auction

To quickly sell off your winter merchandise, you should lower the price weekly or daily until you reach the lowest possible price. For the most effective inventory sale, it is recommended that you offer significant discounts right from the start. For instance, you can begin with a 40 to 50 percent markdown to move your products quickly.

Preferred Customer Savings Event

To make the most of your boutique sales event, consider inviting only your top customers to shop the evening before the event's official start. To make the most of this boutique sales idea, create an experience by offering free snacks and light refreshments.

Additionally, you can offer a more significant discount on all sale merchandise for that evening only to show appreciation to your existing customers or those on your email list.

DIY Idea Night

Gather a variety of DIY ideas and provide them to customers, along with discounted merchandise. For example, suggest ways to transform a mirror into a tray, old sweaters into mittens and leggings, or jars into a decorative craft caddy. There are countless ideas for upcycling secondhand items, so make the most of this boutique sales idea and help your customers visualize the possibilities.

Daily Deals or Weekly Specials

Select specific items each week that will receive an additional discount. For example, you can get an extra 25% off on every sweater or lamp that week or for a limited time. This is an excellent way to avoid the notion of a clearance sale, as it sounds much better to get a deal than to buy an item during an Inventory Reduction Sale.

Bundle, Bundle, Bundle

As a vendor mall or consignment retailer, you may find that sometimes your customers need help to fully appreciate the potential of combining certain items. To help them see the bigger picture, try creating a tableau that showcases how different pieces can come together to create a warm and cozy ambiance. 

For example, you can display a chair, table, lamp, and ottoman together or a sweater, scarf, boots, and hat as a coordinated outfit. Encourage your customers to envision how all the items work harmoniously rather than focusing only on individual pieces. By doing so, you can offer them a special deal when they purchase the entire group of items.

Mystery Boxes 

Use attractive boxes or baskets and put together fun surprise packages. Don't fill them with all of your unwanted items, though. Instead, add vintage knick-knacks, colorful scarves, fuzzy mittens, or unique serving pieces.

If you're making mystery holiday-themed baskets, group all the red or pink items together. Use lots of paper shred as filler, wrap it in cellophane, and let customers see some of what they'll get, but not all. These are great items to promote in a flash sale.




Offering a Buy One Get One Free or Buy One Get One 1/2 off Sale is an effective way to double your inventory reduction. This type of sale allows you to move specific merchandise quickly, such as slow-moving sizes, colors, overstocks, or even unrelated items. A BOGO sale can help you liquidate your inventory while offering customers a special offer.

The Bargain Bin

Some customers enjoy the process of hunting for bargains. They enjoy sifting through baskets, tubs, bins, or boxes for deeply discounted items. Although stores usually have a separate section in the back for sale items, placing them at the front of the store for an inventory reduction sale is recommended.

Let the Weather Decide

The weather can be extreme in some seasons, such as winter and summer. You can choose a specific condition, like any day with a temperature below freezing, snow higher than 6 inches, sunny Sundays, or windy Wednesdays, and then offer a discount accordingly. 

For example, you could offer an additional 10% discount on any item in your shop for every 5 degrees below freezing. This means if the temperature is 20°, customers would receive an extra 20% discount. This could be a great way to increase potential customers and increase sales during extreme weather conditions.

End Cap Contest

The space at the end of an aisle, or the end cap, is a precious area in your store. To make the most of this space, assign an end cap to each of your employees and have them display items that need to be sold quickly. At the end of the week, determine which employee's end cap generated the most sales and reward them with a prize.

Special Price Coupons

Although some days may see an increase in foot traffic, sales may not necessarily be high. For instance, after the holiday season, there may be a lot of returns. To address this, let your sales team give exclusive discounts to customers, but only for that day.

To remind customers and create a sense of urgency, create coupons to give them during their visit. This strategy incentivizes immediate purchases and allows your employees to establish a connection with customers.

60 in 60 Sale

Consider offering a 60% discount for 60 minutes on a specific day. Make sure to clearly state the day and time of the sale and the percentage savings in your marketing materials. Remember to create posters for your store windows, as well. 

To make the most of this promotion, close your store for the morning of the sale to allow a potential crowd to gather outside. When the time comes, open your doors and let the sales begin!

Fishbowl Discounts

Create small slips of paper that offer various discounts. Display the slips at the register, allowing customers to choose one slip randomly. The selected slip will determine the discount they'll receive on their purchase. To add excitement, you can place one slip in a fishbowl with the word "FREE" written on it.

Consignor Discount

Clear out inventory while incentivizing your consignors to bring in next season's items by offering them a special discount on clearance merchandise. This can be a win-win situation for both the consignor and the store owner. The seller can receive discounts on desired purchases, while the store owner can create space for new items. 

It's important to communicate this offer to your consignors and ensure they understand the terms and conditions. This can help build a positive relationship with your consignors and encourage them to continue to bring quality merchandise to your store.


What should I do with leftover inventory that won't clear out?

If these promotional ideas aren't working, donate excess inventory to a charitable organization for a tax deduction. Gather a receipt and be sure to note the donation in Quickbooks or your accounting software.

If you can't get a tax deduction, consider giving your things to an event that gives you advertising in return. No matter what, the community goodwill generated from donations is always a positive outcome.

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