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Part 1: How to sell surplus stock

Published:  12 August, 2016

The internet has revolutionised the way we do business and particularly opened up opportunities for companies to buy, manage and sell leftover stock.

As we all know, there are many factors which contribute to stock collecting dust in a back room or warehouse, such as minimum orders and en primeur obligations.

In our two-parter, we're taking a look at the different websites which can help companies free up capital and get rid of unsold cases.

The anonymous online auction site

Online auction site Grapepip is a way for retailers and stockists to sell off surplus stock anonymously via the internet.

Now in its third year, the site aims to make the process as "hassle-free" as possible by arranging all settlement, fulfillment and redistribution - although it doesn't deal in en primeur.

Founder Caspar Bowes, said keeping stock at a manageable level is more important than just making space in your storeroom.

"Over-stocking capital will make you clumsy as a business and not very efficient. In this industry today with its challenges, companies have to be light on their feet. This is especially true for independents which are really having their day right now. They've mushroomed in popularity."

Grapepip, he says, can act as an alternative to offering bin end sales.

"Traditionally, the only way to sell off stock was to do bin end sales, but that doesn't work because the client might have bought those wines before and they'll be annoyed if they see those with money off. It makes your business look inefficient," he said.

For those in the market to buy, Bowes advises choosing wines at the more "drinking" end of the spectrum (as opposed to laying down/collecting), as this will make re-selling easier.

The bin end seller

Wine Bin Ends is a business to business broker offering members bin end wines, beers and spirits from UK wine merchants for onward sale to independent retailers, licensed grocers and restaurants.

Owner Richard McCraith says they offer a cheaper middle ground for those looking to sell stock on by taking less commission compared to similar operations.

"Clearance agents take around 70% in commission whereas we only take 30%," he explained. 

"Also, clearance agents charge companies for delivery to the warehouse and then onwards delivery as stock is split up and moved on.

"We're only a broker, so we don't hold or move the stock. With us, companies only have to pay for one delivery straight to the customer with their own logistics as they normally would. Bin End Wines just increases companies' customerbase."

He disagrees that bin end wine makes businesses look "inefficient" and says it is a vital part of the industry.

"Suppliers tend to have various wines left over because hotels and restaurants want the latest vintages. It's similar with supermarkets. So it's not really inefficient - just part of the wine business."

Click here to read Part 2.