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The Ups and Downs of Online Liquidations

Moneymagpie Team 23rd Jan 2024 No Comments

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Whenever you hear the term liquidation, low prices on great items typically come to mind. Guess what! You’re right. A liquidation sale almost always means a great deal. After all, who doesn’t love saving money? 

Did you know you don’t have to wait for a brick-and-mortar store to announce its annual liquidation event? You can find online liquidators holding auctions throughout the year. 

With liquidation sales for up to 90% off retail prices, you can pick up anything from clothing and beauty products to home goods, furniture, electronics, and more for a fraction of their original price.

Even though saving up to 90% off retail prices sounds great, buying liquidations can have a downside. If you’re considering searching for liquidations near you, here’s a look at the ups and downs. This way, you can make a more informed decision.

Why Liquidation Marketplaces Make Sense


When it comes to efficiency, it’s hard to beat online liquidation marketplaces. Instead of aimlessly wandering through a warehouse, hoping you don’t end up lost, everything is on your computer screen. You don’t even need to get dressed to participate in the sale. Go ahead and stay in your pyjamas, no one cares what you’re wearing. They only care about your bid.

The efficiency also extends to the buying and selling process since the liquidation service can quickly and easily deal with each customer. You don’t need to stand in line or wait for the seller to compare offers from different potential buyers. 

If it’s an auction, you instantly know the minimum bid amount. You also know when you’re outbid and if you want to respond. Sometimes, the efficiency you get from an online liquidation marketplace is worth almost as much as the low prices.

Avoid Bidding Wars

When you’re bidding on liquidated items in person, price wars can easily break out. Suddenly, the items aren’t 90% off the retail price. Instead, you’re getting closer to paying the original asking price. But this isn’t what you want to do when purchasing liquidated stock; the goal here is to pay as little as possible.

In an online auction, you know precisely how much everyone else is bidding. There’s no guessing. When the price is outside your comfort zone, you can easily withdraw from the action. How do you do this? Simply stop placing bids. Once you’re outbid, just leave it alone. The items will automatically go to the highest bidder.

Pricing is Easy to Understand

Whether it’s an online auction or a standard sale, the price of the goods you’re interested in is pretty easy to understand. If it’s an auction, just check the minimum bid. What’s a minimum bid? Effectively, it’s the lowest price you can bid on an item or items.

For example, if you’re interested in purchasing liquidated furniture and the lowest bid is set at $10—this means you should expect to pay at least $10. You can’t offer less than the minimum amount. 

If someone bids higher than the minimum amount, you have the option of offering more money, but a good tip is to only raise the minimum bid by around a dollar or so. Remember, you’re trying to pay as little as possible.

Sometimes, liquidated items have a set price, which is even easier to understand. In other words, there’s no bidding or searching for coupons. You pay the exact price the liquidator is asking for. Don’t try to outwait the seller, hoping for a lower price. Chances are, someone else is interested in the same items.

The Potential Downsides of Liquidation Marketplaces


Going through a liquidation marketplace can be time-consuming. While you should expect to spend some time looking at the available products and researching their potential value, the purchasing process can be lengthy. In other words, you often can’t just click on a tab and choose a delivery option.

Sometimes, online liquidators delay shipping; they may be waiting until most of their inventory is sold before sending out individual orders. Other times, they may be waiting for an item you purchased to arrive at their warehouse. The item or items you purchase may be part of the liquidator’s inventory, just not at their physical location.

If the liquidator is holding an online auction, waiting is part of the process. Your purchases aren’t going out for immediate delivery, even after the auction ends. Sometimes, it takes the auction house a few days to finalize everything, which may include processing your payment. You should expect to wait at least two or three business days before receiving a notification stating your purchases are out for delivery.

Now, you have to wait for the delivery, and how long this takes depends on your chosen shipping method.

Variety Can Be Limited

Some online liquidators specialize in specific products or niches, some only deal with furniture, and others limit their inventory to electronics—this can make it a little more difficult to find a deal you’ll love. If you don’t need a new chair and aren’t interested in reselling furniture, you may not find anything to buy.

Not only can variety be limited, but so can product amounts. Some liquidators handle bulk items, but not all. If you’re a reseller looking to restock a specific hair care brand, your options may be limited at a liquidation marketplace.

Consider Using Multiple Liquidators

A great way to avoid some potential downsides is not limiting yourself to only one liquidation marketplace. There are plenty of reputable sites, all selling products well below market value. 

This is not only an effective way to score some great deals, but you also get more options at the same time. You may even be able to find some of the same products at different price points. Now, you can really get the best deal.

Save Money and Get Great Items At a Liquidation Sale

You don’t have to wait for a box store to hold an annual ‘everything must go’ sale. Online liquidators are moving inventory at rock-bottom prices every day. 

Remember to do some research and use more than one marketplace. This way, you’re not limited to price or available products. 

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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