You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Rid Your Business of Zombie Stock Before the Holidays Your old inventory, like the undead, will haunt your shelves. Free yourself with these five methods.

By Brandon Levey

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Stitch Labs

The spooky ghouls and goblins of Halloween may spend their evenings haunting the living, but several retailers will be up late facing a different kind of nightmare -- unsold inventory. Even if the prospect of zombie stock doesn't scare you now, it will once the spree of holiday shoppers dies down.

Physical space for stocking inventory is valuable -- every extra inch matters. Whether stock is kept in the back office or remote warehouse, it should always be in motion. Stagnant inventory cannot only cause a backup in operations, it can also cause cash flow to slow to a trickle.

If you feel like you're drowning in inventory, you're not alone. Anticipating the perfect purchasing plan is tough and selling old or extra inventory can seem like a big headache. But, with the tips below and some hustle, you can effectively resurrect revenues from dead inventory.

Related: What You Need to Know About Managing Retail Inventory

Here are the top five ways to eliminate any zombie stock:

1. Streamline your operational processes.

To prevent excess inventory in the first place, make sure operations are optimized, allowing for a constant flow of inventory. The longer products sit on a back shelf, the more likely they are to be forgotten.

Constantly keep things moving on the store floor and off the shelves of the warehouse. The best way to do this? Keep track of how long an item has been in inventory and set a sell-by date. Then actively work to get past due items sold or put them to other good uses.

2. Offer a discounts or bundle.

If you've got a lot of inventory past its sell-by date, start thinking about creative ways to discount to clear out those items. Buy-one, get-one offers are one example of a discounting strategy that moves a higher volume of items.

Another option if you're having an issue selling products individually is to try bundling slow sellers with faster sellers at a reduced price. This approach moves product, delivers value for customers and minimizes the hit to profit margins.

Related: Tackling the Unsexy Business of Inventory Management

3. Leverage products as incentives.

Encourage customers to "tell a friend" about your company in exchange for a free shirt, bag, etc. It's a great way to spur word-of-mouth marketing by leveraging old items that would have otherwise been collecting dust. It may not bring in cash for the item, but it will build awareness and loyalty while clearing out stock.

4. Sell inventory to a liquidator.

Need that shelf space back pronto? Unable to clear remaining unsold items? Try connecting with an inventory liquidator. Liquidators will buy items in bulk and sell them on your behalf at a discount for a small piece of the proceeds. is one business-to-business marketplace that helps sell your products to other businesses online. Before you approach a liquidator, however, make sure you clearly understand the value of your inventory and what you're willing to sell it for.

5. Donate for a tax deduction.

After you've exhausted all other channels, or even if you haven't, another option is to donate inventory. Your incorporated business can earn above-cost, federal income tax deductions on items you donate.

If you find a charity that falls in line with your brand, you may be able to work out a partnership that can also drive some public relations for your business and the charity. Before employing this strategy, be sure to research what businesses can and cannot write-off.

Do you have any other tips for reviving cold, dead inventory?

Brandon Levey

CEO of Stitch Labs

Brandon Levey holds a BSE and MSE in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. While working on domestic nuclear security systems analyses at Sandia National Securities, he started two retail businesses on the side. Through his experiences in the design and manufacturing world, he identified many problems faced by small businesses, leading to the eventual launch of Stitch Labs.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.


Solo Traveling Entrepreneurs Will Love These Translation Earbuds — $90 Through April 21

The Mymanu CLIK S Translation earbuds have been featured at CES multiple times and won the Red Dot award.

Business News

Nike Responds to Criticism Over U.S. Women's Olympic Uniforms: 'Everything's Showing'

The company is the official outfitter for the U.S. Olympic track and field athletes.

Side Hustle

This Flexible Side Hustle Is Helping Millions Earn Extra Cash — and Might Be 'More Attractive' Than an Office Job

Side hustles remain popular for additional income — and have many questioning the 9-5 model altogether.

Business News

The 'Silver Tsunami' Meets 'Golden Handcuffs' as Past Low Mortgage Rates Lock in Homeowners — Whether They Like It or Not

The resulting lower supply of homes, and population growth outpacing construction, has led to a 7.2 million home shortage.

Starting a Business

The Most Successful Entrepreneurs Know How to Say 'No.' Here's the One Exercise You Need to Learn This Skill.

There's a robust correlation between success and having the ability to say "no" to opportunities that don't serve you. Here's how can learn how to master the art of saying "no," too.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.