We all have merchandise that we would like to have gone.  Perhaps it has refused to sell even at a sale price, or it’s out of date, or it just doesn’t fit with current merchandising plans.  And yet we have good money tied up in these items, so we’re not quite ready to give them away.

Here are a few clearance tricks to help you bid goodbye to stubborn items that refuse to leave nicely on their own:

The first technique is BOGO , which stands for buy one, get one free.  This is in essence a half price sale, because the customer gets two of the same item for the price of one. But the key difference is that for every one sold, you get rid of two!

There is a variation on the BOGO sale that was popular in my childhood, called the penny sale.  If you bought one of an item, you could buy a second one for a penny.  It sounded like a great deal when I was a kid, and I think it could be used today as a fresh approach to a buy one get one free sale. 

A popular variation of the BOGO offer is buy one, get the second one for half price.  That way you make an even greater markup, and still get rid of two items instead of one.

By the way, the BOGO sale makes a great coupon offer. Be sure to specify what items qualify, especially if you will allow a similar but not identical item to be the freebie. And don’t forget to include an expiration date, and the store name.

The second technique is using the GWP (I love these retailing terms), or gift with purchase, technique popularized by the department store cosmetics counters.  If you have a candle that is not selling well, you could offer it as a gift with purchase with a candle holder.  This works best from a financial standpoint if you are getting higher than keystone markup on the candle holder, or if the candle holder has also been slow to sell and this allows you to sell it at full price.

A third way to get an item reluctant to move out the door is to put it in a grab bag together with other themed items.  Make sure that the value of the grab bag is at least twice what you are charging — and that every bag contains at least one desirable item.

I’ve often repeated the fact that you shouldn’t let unpopular merchandise linger — don’t let it become family.  If it is reluctant to leave on its own, try using your creativity to show it the door.  After all, you want to make room on your shelves for all the exciting new lines that you will find at the winter shows.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder