The 3 Reasons You Have “Can’t Clear it Out” Chaos

Sale Discount1. You are not the Humane Society.

Anything in your store that you are sick of looking at? Why the heck hasn’t anyone bought it? It’s wonderful!

The item (and others) have just been here too long. But why mark it down? The problem isn’t the item. The problem is that the right person hasn’t walked through the door. What can I do to increase foot traffic? That is the problem. Right?

You are wrong. Susie made this mistake, too. She brought in a great vase – sold several at the full $40 price. One just wouldn’t move, so she moved it all around her store. She put it on sale (20% off! What a deal!). She marked it back up and put it on her front counter again. Finally one exciting Christmas Eve that item found its perfect match. A lucky customer brought it home, and Susie was thrilled she listened to her instincts and waited to sell it at full price.

The problem is that Susie had waited over 14 years to sell it at full price. Still sounds like a happy ending, right?

If you have any item in your store that has celebrated even just ONE birthday, you are making a huge mistake – one that is costing you tens of thousands of dollars. If Susie had marked the vase down correctly, in the 14 years she let it live on her floor, she would have turned the $20 she invested into OVER $500 easily.

When you walk in your store to the sound of all the “dogs” barking at you from your floor, your job is to clear them out, not to put a bow on them and wait until their perfect forever family comes waltzing through the door. You are not responsible for the care and upkeep (and depreciation) of inventory overstaying its welcome.

2. You are not a Huge Coffee Conglomerate Barista

Have you ever seen the blogs devoted to what the nice people behind the counter at your favorite coffee place write on cups? It’s no wonder, really, with the noise in those places, but Cathy can turn into Hattie, Susan into Hoisin. You name it, it’s been written on a coffee cup.

No matter what they write, you’re going to figure out at the other side who gets the Americano and who gets the Macchiato, but you can’t afford to make the same mistake in your store.

When a store has a sale, we are all skeptical of the true value. But a sign that says “Semi Annual Clearance Sale Up To 75% Off” loudly and clearly communicates the seriousness of this sale. It isn’t arbitrary. This store has integrity and truly clears out inventory twice a year.

As close as Suzanne is to Susan, it’s not the same name. You can’t afford to call your clearance sale something cutesy and hope they’ll figure out you mean business on the other end.

3. You are not Waldo.

When your clearance sale starts, do you put it all in the back corner out of the main focus of your store? Do you keep it from interfering with the look of your floorset and the flow of traffic?

Well, sure. We’re having a clearance sale, but I want most people to buy full price items. Maybe add in a clearance item on top? Look! I just got in these great things, and some stuff over there. Buy that. It’s got a great margin.


To get the most cash and move the most inventory, you must truly promote those ugly clearance items. You get the chance twice a year to put it all in the front of your store and fully commit to moving it out.

If you operate your clearance sale like one of those pictures you can only see if you relax your eyes and stare off into the distance a certain way (and half the people standing there say, “Oh, I see the shark!” and the other half think the shark people are full of hooey because there’s clearly NOTHING THERE), you’ll end up converting your stock room into a makeshift Humane Society to hold all the dogs until the right person (who can correctly interpret your Christmas Holly Jolly Sale and see the shark) comes in and rescues them…and you.

This is Part One of a 2 part series that I am sharing with SnapRetail!




The 3 Reasons You Have “Can’t Clear it Out” Chaos