As e-commerce becomes a more popular and straightforward way of shopping, unsatisfied customers are returning more items. While that can mean trouble for the retailer, who has to figure out what to do with the customer returns and judge whether they can be resold, this presents a great opportunity.
For anyone willing to put in the effort and take a chance on return pallets, specifically one from Amazon, there is the chance of a tidy profit on those returned items. This can prove to be an ideal side hustle, and there will even be some items that you want to keep for yourself instead of selling them.
This guide will detail how and where to buy Amazon return pallets. This will include using liquidation platforms, what you should do with Amazon return pallets, the benefits of buying Amazon return pallets, and why they exist in the first place.
Where To Buy Amazon Return Pallets
Getting your hands on an Amazon return pallet can prove exceedingly simple, especially if you have experience in online liquidation auctions. Liquidation platforms like B-Stock Supply and DirectLiquidation receive bids, though negate to provide much information on the contents of the return pallets.
There is an element of risk, and the process does require some bravery, yet you could leave with some bargains. Especially if the pallet costs as little as $250 though the cost can range up to upwards of $5,000 depending on who is bidding.
- Craigslist：Buying liquidated merchandise on Craigslist, including Amazon return pallets, is a good idea. There is perhaps less variety on the website due to how limited their options are and how dependent those options can be on your location. However, if you happen to be in a major city, you are in luck with the variety of return pallets you can expect to find on offer.
- 888Lots: Should Craigslist seem far too big of a risk and hard work to take on, try your luck on return pallets from 888Lots. This is the ideal option if you live on the East Coast of America, as this liquidation company is based in New Jersey. You can still use the service if you live elsewhere in the country, yet you must pay some sizable costs for that additional shipping. American citizens must also provide a valid reseller certificate with a valid business registration to use the site. However, it does come with some help in the Amazon Profit Calculator that should give you an idea of the return pallet that is worth bidding for.
- Amazon Warehouse: Another option to receive returned merchandise from Amazon does not involve a pallet, which is Amazon Warehouse. Should sorting through a pallet’s worth of customer returns seem more hassle than it is worth, pick and choose which items you believe have the most potential profit. There is also the reassurance that each product has undergone a 20-point inspection process, meaning it should work like new and not have to be repaired. Amazon Warehouse is ideal for expensive electronic items such as laptops, kitchen appliances, and smartphones. There are also useful condition categories; the best one is likely the ‘Used – Very Good’ section. These quality Amazon return pallets can expect more profit as they remain fully functional and only need a slight repair job to appear as good as new.
|Condition Category||The Condition Of The Item||The State Of The Packaging|
|Used – Like New||In working order with each accessory remaining.||Can show signs of slight damage.|
|Used – Very Good||Remains fully functional though with a good chance that it has been used and includes slight imperfections.||Likely to show signs of rips and tears.|
|Used – Good||Fully functional though showing signs of moderate use.||Expected to be damaged or repackaged completely.|
|Used – Acceptable||Clear signs of extensive use including worn edges and dents. Expect to buy accessories separately as these are likely to be missing.||Can be non-existent or wholly different from the original packaging.|
As the items are returned, they are given another chance to enter the market. There are two options available if you want to buy Amazon return pallets from liquidation companies:
- liquidation platforms found online
- liquidation warehouses that you can visit in person
Reputable liquidation companies like B-Stock Supply and DirectLiquidation not only stock return pallets from Amazon but other major retailers too. That should include Target, Walmart, GameStop, and Costco; hence there should be plenty of variety in the items you can find.
The descriptions from B-Stock Supply are also useful for providing a rough idea of what you can expect in the return pallets. These descriptions typically list the number of return pallets on offer, their condition, the total number of items, their retail value, and which area of the country they originated from.
Liquidation auctions are categorized by which section of the online store you would expect to find the items in the pallet. That could be ‘Apparel,’ where you can expect to find clothes, or ‘Home/Home Improvement,’ where you could envisage items such as bins, clocks, or cushions. Then there are grocery items such as pet products, bottled water, and granola bars.
To buy Amazon return pallets, treat it like any liquidation auction and place a high enough bid, though be aware that you can only buy return pallets from B-Stock Supply if you live in Europe or the United States.
If you prefer the human experience and have the space in your vehicle, head to a liquidation warehouse. You would stand a better chance of inspecting the items in return pallets, even though you could not open the pallet itself.
Those items are still in their factory plastic wrapping straight from the factory, yet you can glimpse their packaging. So perhaps the best time to head to a liquidation warehouse, or go online to a liquidation platform, is after the holidays when plenty of items are unwanted and sheer supply drives down pallets’ cost.
What To Expect When You Buy Amazon Return Pallets
If you have seen the TV show Storage Wars, receiving Amazon return pallets will seem familiar. Unfortunately, the process is quite similar as you only have a short description and no real chance of inspecting the items before paying for them.
That provides some mystery and a sense of intrigue, as it can be a surprise when you open the pallet. That could be a good surprise due to how easy a lot of the items will be to sell, or it could be a nasty surprise due to the poor condition of the items.
What You Should Do With Amazon Return Pallets
This is a return pellet, and you should expect that some items will not be in the best condition or in their original packaging. Helpfully, some liquidation sites note everything included in the pallet, and you should soon have an idea of what to do with many of the items. Some can be primed for resale almost immediately, while several require repair.
Alas, some of those items can only be sold for parts due to their unusable condition. So decide quickly whether to keep these items or give them away before heading to the landfill.
Step By Step Guide On Selling Amazon Return Pallets
The hard work can be from winning the online auction and selling Amazon return pallets. However, once you have it in your possession, there is still a job to do if you want to profit.
Sorting The Items
The first step should be sorting through the items to judge which ones can be resold again in their current condition and which will need to be repaired and sold as refurbished. Such is the variety of items to be found in Amazon return pellets. Allocate some time primarily to go through them properly. Perhaps even fill in a spreadsheet with the name of each item, their cost on the market, and the condition that the returned item is in. The items ready to be resold in their packaging should be left alone and quickly put back up for sale.
A lot of the relative profit depends on the items in the pallet and their condition, yet you should expect to make a tidy profit on at least some of those items. Remember that the time and effort spent reviewing the items and restoring them to a sellable condition will eat in your potential profit. This sheer effort and expense of resources can make buying Amazon return pallets an ideal side hustle but not a full-time gig.
For those items that need a little bit of work before being resold, set them aside even if they show only the slightest trace of being damaged. If you have paid for them, they stand a chance of being repaired and sold as refurbished items but decide whether it is worth the effort. On the other hand, some items are poorly damaged, and you are likely saving money by keeping them yourself or giving them away to family and friends instead of dumping them in landfill.
Try your best to repair these items yourself, as you can make a profit by spending a bit of time and demonstrating some tender loving care. If you have a network of helping individuals with relevant skill sets, even as a hobby, then use them to repair all sorts of items. There are even businesses you can approach that have experts with a track record in restoring electrical items, and only a small fee can mean a big profit. Should buying Amazon return pallets be more than a side hustle, do not spend too much time and effort restoring items that can easily be outsourced to someone more capable of fully restoring them.
Assigning A Value To The Items
Whether the item is ready to be resold as it is or only requires a simple repair job, it needs to be assigned a resale value. Remember that you should factor in the cost of a repair to turn in a profit. However, take the time to review other marketplaces to get an idea of the value based on how much the item costs brand new.
Should you be able to lower your price based on the retail price and still turn in a profit, then it should all be worth it. However, the higher the price, the more profit you can enjoy, as discounts can be offered if the item fails to drum up interest.
Promoting The Items
Promoting your items is crucial to make a decent profit, as you must drum up interest for potential buyers. Social media is an important place to start, as you could sell them live via your online pallet auction on a streaming platform. That could be fun, as could a YouTube channel where you demonstrate your process of restoring certain items. Simple tactics include running adverts on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok though you could always partner up with a popular social media influencer or a reputable seller.
Selling The Items
Once you have restored an item to its former glory and promoted it extensively online or in your physical store, it is time to let them go to a new owner. Of course, you could also sell the items online, though make sure you have a suitably easy system to use, such as a Shopify store, and offer a range of payment options and different shipping rates to manage your costs.
Other marketplaces are also available, including Craigslist, which could have been where you received the items in the first place. The online auction site eBay will be useful too, as the profit can quickly mount up with a popular item, though you can use Instagram for selling Amazon return pallets too.
Why Amazon Return Pallets Exist
Many thousands of people have been left unhappy when their orders from Amazon have arrived. Perhaps the items that arrived were not the ones that were ordered or had arrived in a poor, even faulty, condition. Unfortunately, restoring items and putting them back up for sale can prove quite expensive, resulting in many sellers choosing to liquidate these returned items, which Amazon then collects on return pallets to be organized into specific categories or left as a collection of random items.
Return pallets are a means for retailers such as Amazon, Target, and Walmart to make money on items that are unlikely to be resold directly by them once returned by the customer. For example, these items can arrive by the truckload on Amazon pallets. Instead of sorting through each item and making an effort to make them fit for resale, these items are sold by the pallet to save the retailer the hassle and to still make some money.
How Easy It Is To Order Items
One of the reasons why retailers, including Amazon, prove highly profitable is how easy the process is to order items, even if so many of them are eventually returned. Find the item you want on their website or app, add it to your basket, pay for it, and wait for it to arrive on your doorstep.
If the item(s) does not meet your expectations and exacting standards, then you can use that free returns shipping policy to repackage it and send it back, then expect the refund to pop back into your bank account. That process is remarkably easy compared to a brick-and-mortar store where you have to return to the shop, display your receipt and then convince a sales associate to take the item back and hand you a refund.
How Straightforward The Process Is To Return Items
Part of the reason why return pallets exist is due to how easy it is to return items to the retailer. Specifically, Amazon’s free return policy does pose problems for the retailer and its many sellers. As it proves relatively easy to return items to the retailer after online purchases, one study demonstrates that up to 30% of the total items that Amazon delivers are returned. Compare that to a typical brick-and-mortar store, where only around 9% of those items are returned, and that’s quite a difference.
Giving Returned Items A New Lease Of Life
While the returns policy is largely good news for the consumer, it does present an issue for the retailer, especially for small businesses. Returned merchandise forms part of the whole online business process, yet retailers do want to retrieve some of their money. This is where the return pallets process comes in as retailers use it to ease some pain, recoup some of that money, and even reduce waste.
The Rise Of Returned Items
When you consider how many items are delivered by retailers, including Amazon, Target, and Walmart, it can be staggering to think that up to 30% of them are eventually returned.
That should mean literal tonnes of returned merchandise that retailers such as Amazon have to deal with. Then companies will launch Amazon liquidation auctions. For items that look more or less untouched can be resold by the retailer as brand-new merchandise.
Those items that have suffered from some minor damage are not placed straight back on the market, and retailers now allow them to be sold as part of a pallet to Amazon third-party sellers as used items.
The Continued Growth Of E-Commerce
As online retailers such as Amazon continue to grow, you can expect to see a substantial rise in Amazon return pallets. That’s simple math. If more items are sold online than in brick-and-mortar stores, you can expect the number of returned items to rise.
That growth comes with a cost as seller loss increases and creates more waste. It also strains redistribution, having to deal with the sheer volume of items coming back. One statistic shows that the average return rate rose from 10.6% in 2020 to 16.6% the following year.
New Ways To Deal With Return Pallets: Amazon Liquidation Auctions
Retailers are taking the lead from Amazon and finding different ways to deal with this increase in returned items. One of those methods is passing those returned items or overstock merchandise onto a liquidation company to sell as Amazon return pallets to be sold at an Amazon return pallet auction. Some returned items can be charitably donated, while others will be in suitably good condition to be resold with a valid resale certificate. Finally, unfortunately, some broken merchandise is left to be disposed of, which only adds to the retailer’s waste problem.
The Benefits Of Buying An Amazon Return Pallet
Buying an Amazon return pallet seems like an online version of Storage Wars, and there are several benefits to be had.
- The Chance To Make Some Money: The first benefit is largely why many want to buy Amazon return pallets: the possibility of making some money. This can form part of a smart business strategy as the sheer volume of items provides many possibilities for reselling. As long as there is available capital and the resources to organize and resell the items, then anyone can make a tidy markup on those items.
- Enjoying A Heavy Discount: As well as making some profit on items, as long as they are in decent condition, you can get many items to keep at hugely discounted prices. Also, as there is a sizable chance that the retailer could have otherwise sent these items to a landfill if there was no return pallet system, buying these items and finding new homes for them can help minimize retail waste. Finally, for those individuals who are conscious of the environment, a return pallet can form part of an effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Undoubtedly, there is a risk to buying Amazon customer return pallets because you are essentially buying blind with only a short description of the items to go by. If you are fine and content with taking that risk, buying an Amazon return pallet will be a thrill and a cost-effective way of making some sizable profit.
The experience involves online liquidation auctions where you have little idea of what you can expect to receive. However, some of those Amazon liquidation pallets can prove exceptionally easy to deal with, whereas others can be more trouble than they are worth, yet you could still make a profit.
Try to compare the average prices of an Amazon return pallet from various sites and different liquidation companies to compare the price and get a good deal. Refrain from buying a pallet of electronic items as, without the right expertise, many of them may be so damaged that it is not cost-effective to restore and resell them. Finally, check the shipping costs before buying Amazon return pallets, as these costs will eat into your profits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there online tools available to help you judge the potential profit you can make from selling an Amazon return pallet?
If you need help assessing how much profit you could make from an Amazon return pallet, use Helium 10. The market tracker is key for online resellers to show how many specific products Amazon is selling in a particular month. With that knowledge, you can work out the ideal time to resell an item and enjoy how easy it is to sell and how much profit you could make from the demand. Helium 10 can also indicate the amount of money a specific product makes with sales data that goes back months and even years.
What are the drawbacks of buying an Amazon return pallet?
Some of the descriptions for Amazon customer return pallets are so poor that you can have little idea of what you are buying. A lot of the time, you will be disappointed that you cannot resell some of the items, even if you spent a sizable amount of money on obtaining the return pallet. As a business model, growing from reselling items from Amazon pallets also proves difficult, so you should stick to it as a side hustle.