Do you know that in the UK returns have cost retail businesses £60 billion a year? According to a report released by retail management firm Brightpearl in 2019, there is a growing trend of people buying the goods with intention to try and later returning them if they are not happy with the quality. Some retailers even introducing “Try before you buy” schemes, where you can order multiple items, try and leave only those which you like, returning the other ones free of charge.
Since companies cannot re-sell returned items as “New”, the value of returned items is falling and it leads to stock liquidation. As per the research conducted by Klarna, a number of returned faulty items in the UK have more than doubled between 2017 and 2019, and almost quadrupled for items being returned for quality reasons. Growing returns have opened opportunities for new businesses which are re-selling these customers returns.
What does it mean RAW customers returns? Raw returns it’s a customer returned items, which is unchecked, untested, possibly not working, damaged or with missing parts. But it has very high potential that it may have perfectly working items as well.
As part of my side hustles, I thought this could be a great idea to try and buy a bulk of these returns and see if it has any potential to make extra money. Today I will share my experience how and what did I buy.
My first questions before I started, was: Which returns to buy? How to buy returns? Where do I purchase customer returns? Is there a minimum spend? Do I have to pick up or companies do deliver? I will try to reveal answers to these questions in this post.
Which raw customers returns to buy?
When you are thinking about buying returns and where to buy them, first you need to narrow down your choice to what will you be buying? Clothing, toys, white goods, electrical and household goods, etc. it’s so much to choose, and the best idea is to stick to something you know well.
When I was thinking about what category should I choose for my returns purchase, I knew that I have no idea about fashion, so any clothing returns were pushed away immediately.
White goods? Too bulky, I wouldn’t be able to store them at home.
Toys? I thought this could be an excellent niche. Kids see ads on TV, picking their favourite characters in the cartoons, Disney, Marvel, LEGO… it’s so much on offer these times. But after researching a bit deeper, I noticed that often pallets of toys includes bicycles, scooters and mini cars. I know from my own kids’ experience that these don’t last long to stay in excellent condition for too long. Browsing through multiple forums online, I was just reaffirmed, that most often this would be the case. Missing or broken wheels, everything in the mud, and sorting all the mess you can receive will be costly and will take a lot of time.
Finally, I came to the small electrical equipment. First of all, with most items, there is not much what can be broken. It’s either completely “toasted” and will end up in the bin, or will have missing parts which I can replace. You can order most of the spare parts online using model number.
How to buy raw customers returns in the UK?
To find the right place where I can buy raw customer’s returns was the hardest part of my research. I have Googled a lot and visited many forums to find the right place. Have been directed to many websites and companies, but many of them were working only with VAT registered businesses. They wasn’t even talking with self-employed guy who is looking to buy one small pallet of electrical goods.
List narrowed down to three companies. I was not too fond of about one company because of the way they stack their pallets. For example, if you are looking to buy small electrical equipment, you have a choice of pallets which are sorted strictly by the type of item. For example, a pallet of kettles, pallet of blenders, etc. I did not want to limit my self to one kind of items.
From all companies which were left, one site has offered online auctions for individual items of raw customers returns. Pretty much like eBay, just for raw returns. It was the best option for me. First, I wasn’t restricted with a minimum amount I have to spend. I could buy 1 item and see how it goes. Second, I could choose from a wide range of the items available in their auctions. Kettles, blenders, soup makers, fryers, TV’s, PC parts, etc., I saw this service as the safest bet.
The company I have used had online and in-store auctions nearly every day. Some items tested and were in full working order sold as graded, others were raw returns, untested and sold without any warranties.
They had a vast range of raw customers returns and store clearance goods for sale on their website; restaurant equipment, gym equipment, furniture, white goods, small electrical appliances, watches, etc… It just a few to mention what I’ve seen on their website.
So my suggestion if you will ever try this, do your research, dig well in Google you will find many forums and websites with people sending you to the right places. Choose a well-known brand (some people were selling pallets straight in the forums, which was very odd for me) and make sure they accept individual bidders before you place your bid.
What items did I buy? And how much did I spend?
As you already know, my choice for raw customers returns was to buy small electrical appliances. I thought about buying at least 3-4 different types of goods so that I could diversify the range of devices, so I won’t get stuck with something that did not sell. Also, it would give me a better understanding of which items have better demand so that I could focus on these items next time.
All purchases made using money I earned from my side activities and I limited my expense to £400. After auctions ended, total spent was £331.20 and I have quite a few items to fit in my trunk 😀 There was an option to request a delivery, but the cost of this service was insanely unreasonable a would nearly double up my spent.
Every time you buy something, on top of your bidding price, you have to add VAT, hammer price and internet payment fee. It equates to roughly 46% on top of your bid.
So, what did I get for my money?
|Cordless vacuum cleaner||4|
|High pressure washer||1|
Honestly, I have no idea how did I fit all this into my car. I was jammed there, but thanks got I got home safely.
As you can imagine now, I have a lot of work to do sorting all things here, test them all, and I need to start binning or selling them to clear my house quickly. One of my rooms now is fool of the boxes and I not everyone at home is excited about this.
Idea behind, if item turns on, but for some reason not working then try to fix it. If no light when plugged into socket, bin it straight away. I hope that in some cases I will be able to make one working item from 2 not working, etc. Fingers crossed there will be a lot of useful items in full working order as well.
So far, looking at the quantity of the goods I have managed to get for this price, I am looking to this very positively. However, things may change once I test them all. For now, it looks like to buy raw customers returns was worth to take a risk. At least it seems much more promising than my eBay experiment.
Now, keep an eye on my blog, and I will update you as soon as I sell all my items. Wish me luck and profitable weeks ahead.