You made a bad buy… Now what?

We’ve all been there. You buy an item where it almost seems too good to be true. The profit is there. Keepa shows that it’s selling. You load up the cart thinking this is your big moment and how you are going to get rich. You ship the items off to Amazon, but then they don’t sell.

I get it because I’ve been in the same boat. You have all the emotions.

You’re frustrated – wondering why you ever bought the item to begin with.

You’re upset – thinking about all the profit that could have been.

Then, you’re stumped – wondering what in the hell you are going to do with all of these baby dolls!

At some point in your selling journey, I’m sure that you will have something similar happen to you. That’s okay – these things happen! Sometimes you just have to learn from it and move on.

But, what can you do to cut back on the loss?

The first option is to return it to the store where it was purchased. Now, this is frowned upon by some sellers as they are worried it will give sellers a “bad name.” I tend to agree with this, but I also believe that it comes down to the specifics of the item. I have made it home from the store, only to realize that the item wasn’t as good as I thought it was. In these situations, I do return the item. If I ship the item to an Amazon warehouse and I receive it back for whatever reason, I will not return these to the store. You have to decide what you are comfortable doing in these situations and what works best for you and your business model.

Another option, and my personal go to, is to sell on other platforms. I have had decent luck making some of my money back (plus some) on eBay. Fun fact: I’ve made $150 profit on eBay so far this year just from items I couldn’t sell on Amazon! I use eBay because I already had an established account with them, but you can use whatever platform you prefer. I don’t have experience with any of the other platforms, but have heard of sellers also using Poshmark, Mercari, and even Facebook Marketplace!

You can donate unsold inventory or returns to local thrift stores or resale shops! If an item doesn’t sell on eBay after 6-12 months, I donate it. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! Don’t forget to get a receipt or document stating you donated. You can use this as a tax write-off, assuming you donated to a not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization like Goodwill. Remember, every little bit saved is that much more profit! This concept can be huge, especially when you are first starting out.

If you’re not worried about taking a loss, you can gift the item to yourself or someone else! Just make sure that you make adjustments to your business expenses to show that you did not sell the item. I wouldn’t make this a habit though. You will either end up with a lot of clutter or you’ll end the year and realize that you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped!

After making a bad buy, your main goal should be to try and break even or at least make some of your money back. If you make a little profit, great! You can do a little happy dance, but don’t expect that it will always work out that way. Learn from your mistake and move on. I promise you won’t make the same mistake twice!

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