Walgreens and partner B-Stock have unveiled Walgreen Liquidation Auctions, an online B2B marketplace that sells overstock merchandise and products that have been returned by customers to qualified business buyers, according to a B-Stock blog post.
The marketplace, which features items such as apparel, footwear, cosmetics, personal care Items, small appliances and other products, will sell items in truckload (FTL) and less-than-truckload (LTL) quantities, and in various states of use, including new, light-use and salvage, B-Stock stated.
B-Stock, which has also worked with retailers such as Amazon to set up similar marketplaces, said that Walgreens' auction lots will ship from 15 different locations throughout the U.S.
In turning to an online marketplace to sell excess stock, Walgreens is not an early adopter. Besides Amazon, big retail names like Walmart, Best Buy, GameStop and Macy's already work with B-Stock on similar programs.
Walgreens' acquisition of some Rite Aid and Fred's stores, at a time when it plans to close hundreds of its own stores, may have changed inventory levels. The cost of storing excess inventory is an important metric for retailers, and a new marketplace opens up a channel to sell some of it off.
The marketplace likely arrives at the right time to help Walgreens unload a lot of returned purchases. In a recent study, B-Stock noted that up to 13% of holiday purchases are eventually returned, and that about 20% of all returns occur around the holidays.
B-Stock also has said the total value of returns surged to $400 billion last year, more than 50% growth from two years earlier. Yet, returns remain an expensive part of doing business that most retailers still don't know how to properly address, even as the volume of those returns continue to escalate.
Online marketplaces for selling inventory in bulk quantities at least offers retailers a way to recoup more money by reaching a larger number of serious business buyers who can buy up unwanted stock.