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Lesson #1: How to Buy Overstock Products

Overstock products means merchandise that stores either buy surplus on or the store is clearing out this product to make way for new merchandise. Clearance items are usually called closeouts. Most of the time, resellers buy this product and then sell it at deep discounts to the public.


1) Buy overstock products at resellers who offer them such as online or online or offline.

2) Check the merchandise to see if it is new. Most overstock products are brand new but may be last years style or end of season clearance.

3) Look at the return policy. Many times on overstock items you buy “as is,” so if there is doubt about the item, make sure you can return it if it does not meet your standards.

4) Add shipping costs to your total bill. People buy overstock products to save money but if you buy online, you usually pay for shipping. Factor that into the total cost of the item and compare that total price to retail.

5) Review the cancellation policy of the online reseller. Most online retailers of overstock products do not offer a long-term cancellation policy since they have a limited time to process orders. Make sure you know the terms before you order.

6) Use your credit card to pay for your overstock products order. If you are not comfortable submitting your credit card information over the Internet, you may visit an overstock reseller offline or buy your products retail.

Lesson #2: How to Buy Overstock From Department Stores

Department stores can be expensive. However, they have designer brands and quality products. If you are interested in department store brands without the expense, there are ways to buy their overstock for less. Does this Spark an idea?

Stores for Overstock

  • Stores like TJMaxx, Marshalls, AJ Wright and Ross have become somewhat like department stores themselves. They specialize in acquiring overstock from stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. TJMaxx says they have “brand name and designer fashions…for up to 60 percent off department store prices.”

Online Retailers

  • Amazon, Zappos and even get a hold of designer brands from department stores. They may sell directly from the source, but are often discounted due to being overstock. Sometimes, department stores may even have their own website that sells the overstock through online sale offers.

Department Outlet Stores

  • If there are certain brands that interest you, look online for outlet stores. Outlet Bound says that outlet stores can save you 25 to 75 percent on brand name and designer goods; the website can also help you track outlets in your area. Department stores like JCPenney have an outlet store.

Lesson #3: How to Buy Wholesale

If “never pay retail” is your credo, you know that a trip to the outlet mall is just the tip of the iceberg. But how low can the prices go? Further reductions will only be possible through some effort on your part, like buying larger quantities or securing a reseller’s license.


1) Work your network of colleagues, friends and family to find wholesale sources. Plumbers, contractors, landscapers, florists, interior designers and jewelers all have access to wholesale markets and/or prices. These professionals may require that you hire them to take advantage of reduced prices, so balance these expenditures against potential savings.

2) Call wholesale suppliers and ask if they have special hours for the general public. Wholesalers are listed in the Yellow Pages by category, such as “Plumbing Supplies–Wholesale.” They’ll charge sales tax and mark up prices a bit, but you can still find great bargains.

3) Join associations or professional groups that share your interests. Many groups, through their combined buying power, have access to lower prices. Magazines and Websites devoted to your special interest will probably advertise groups to join.

4) Consider applying for a business license and reseller’s license from your state or county if you use a lot of something. Most wholesale suppliers will sell to you once you supply this information. Of course, you have to either be in business already or establish one. This is not as difficult as it might first seem. Existing hobbies, interests or skills can be treated as a business venture. For example, if you enjoy gardening, look into getting a business license as a plant nursery. A few sales to friends will make you legitimate. Research legal requirements carefully and compare costs to expected savings.

5) Shop around to find the best prices. Warehouse clubs often have prices that are close to wholesale.

6) Pay by credit card wherever possible for optimal buyer protection. If you have to pay COD, make sure to thoroughly inspect all merchandise before you accept goods.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some companies buy overstocks or discontinued items and sell them in bulk quantities at wholesale or below-wholesale prices. While these can be great bargains, there’s probably a reason for this — they were unpopular to begin with.
  • Cosmetic seconds, items that are functionally sound but have a slight blemish, can be great deals. Usually the blemish is insignificant, but be sure to check before you buy.
  • Highpoint, N.C., is the wholesale furniture capital of the United States. Research manufacturer names, models, style numbers, color descriptions and material specifications for furniture pieces that you like. Then, during Highpoint’s semiannual after-market sales, purchase clearance items and floor samples.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Web sites that offer to give you instant access to wholesale inventories are highly suspect.