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9 ways to (quickly) move dead stock

4-minute read

Items that are sitting on your shelves or cluttering up your stockroom with little prospect of moving are a weight that may be dragging your business down. Here’s why every business owner should make it a priority to shift dead stock – and nine clever ways to do it.

Key take-outs
  • Don’t overlook staff training and marketing basics when trying to move dead stock.
  • Package deals, a deadline and a different market are all effective ways to sell slow-moving items.
  • Sometimes you’ll need to cut your losses or use dead stock as a branding/PR tool.

Slow moving stock may seem relatively harmless at first, but there’s a real cost involved in letting it just sit there. First and foremost, it’s a potential cash flow killer: you make money by selling stock, not storing it. It’s also taking up space where fast-moving, profit-producing stock could sit and is a daily reminder of poor purchasing decisions – something you definitely don’t need when trying to run a business.

The good news is there are plenty of ways to move stock that’s been lingering for too long. Roll up your sleeves – here are nine clever ideas to get you started.

1. Motivate your staff

Offering staff an incentive for selling hard-to-move stock could be just what’s needed to boost sales. On the other hand, if they lack the product knowledge to make a confident sales pitch, perhaps that’s why they’re struggling to sell. In which case, consider some extra training around the items in question.

2. Cover marketing basics

Consider relocating slow-moving goods to another outlet – or to a more prominent position in the store or on your website – and adding a discount. Sometimes, putting a deadline into the mix will spark action, too. For example, ‘30% off for 3 days only’. Or how about a ‘money off your next purchase’ or ‘buy one get one free’ deal? A bit of creative thought can go a long way.

3. Start bundling

Another effective way to move dead stock involves bundling products together to create attractive package deals. For example, say you run a mobile phone accessories business and you’re struggling to shift last year’s range of phone covers. You could try bundling them together with a charger or screen protector to entice more buyers.

These deals represent a win-win for you and your customer. You move more stock and increase your average sales price, while your customer feels like they’re getting added value.

4. Reach out to a different market

Perhaps your current market and the product aren’t such a great match. Try listing your hard-to-move items on a sales website such as eBay or Amazon, or a price-comparison site. You could also try selling via your social media channels.

5. Sell back to the supplier

Selling back to your original supplier, even at a discounted rate, may be the best (and quickest) option to inject some cash into your business and keep that all-important working capital cycle moving freely.

6. Create a giveaway

If it’s not going to sell, turn dead stock into a promotional opportunity by creating a brand-building giveaway. You could allow entry to the giveaway with a minimum purchase in exchange for subscribing to your email list or as a thank-you for liking your Facebook page.

7. Donate to charity

Another idea for off-loading stagnant stock, which may also help boost business and community relations, is to donate it to a charity or local school. This option has the added bonus of making you feel good.

8. Tempt customers with free shipping

Fast and free shipping is the top factor driving online purchases, according to research. Why not make a last-ditch attempt to shift slow-moving stock by offering free shipping?

9. Write it off and move on

If you’ve tried and tried to move your dead stock and still no joy, it may be time to cut your losses and kick it to the kerb. When slow-moving stock is taking up space that could be used for items that do sell and you’ve tried every other avenue, it’s best to get rid of it and move forward.


A little effort and imagination can go a long way when it comes to moving dead stock. But, of course, the best remedy is to avoid having it in the first place. To help you in this regard, good stock management is key. Find out more with our helpful guide to controlling your stock purchases.

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Things you should know

This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business.