As an ecommerce seller, you know that offering discounted clearance merchandise can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows you to generate incremental revenue from aging stock or excess inventory. But on the other, heavy discounts can erode margins while opened returns can eat into profits.
That‘s why fully understanding a retailer‘s clearance return policy is so crucial for sellers. When your products end up in the clearance aisle, you want to limit losses from returns as much as possible.
In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll leverage my expertise as an experienced ecommerce seller to breakdown Walmart‘s clearance return policy from the seller perspective. You‘ll learn how to minimize returns of your marked-down inventory.
How Costly Can Clearance Returns Be For Sellers?
Let‘s start with some telling statistics:
Clearance items get returned at nearly twice the rate of regular-priced merchandise. The latest industry data shows clearance return rates average around 15%, versus 8% for full-price items.
Given those heavy return rates, clearance items often deliver razor-thin profit margins for sellers. Discounts of 50-90% off leave little wiggle room.
Product defects and shipping damage is more common with clearance items. This drives even more returns.
Returned clearance merchandise often can‘t be resold at full value. Sellers take losses reselling open box or lightly worn items.
As you can see, returns can quickly eat into profits on clearance sales. So fully understanding Walmart‘s policies as a seller is crucial to limiting losses.
Overview of Walmart‘s Clearance Return Policy
The first thing for sellers to know is that Walmart offers the same 90-day return policy on clearance as regular merchandise. Customers can return clearance items for any reason within 90 days of purchase.
With a receipt, customers get a full refund in the original payment method. Without a receipt, they receive a store credit or a partial refund based on current marked down price.
Here are the key clearance return policy details at Walmart that affect sellers:
- 90 days for returns with receipt for full refund
- Store credit only without receipt
- Shorter windows on electronics and mattresses
- 3 no-receipt returns in 45 days maximum
- Partial refunds if repriced lower
This return-friendly clearance policy leaves sellers vulnerable to major losses from returns. Next I‘ll explain how to minimize the risks as a seller.
How Sellers Can Limit Clearance Returns at Walmart
While Walmart sets the basic return policy, there are still things you can do as a seller to limit returns on your clearance items:
- Note final sale on pricing tags. This sets the expectation for customers.
- Shrink wrap or seal packaging with an anti-tamper sticker.
- Routinely check for markdowns at Walmart and reprice accordingly.
- Clearly indicate aesthetic defects like scratches or blemishes.
- Size clearance sections smartly to avoid size/color mix-ups.
- Stage regular inventory counts and restock if needed.
Taking these proactive measures will help curtail clearance returns. Now let‘s compare Walmart‘s policy to other major retailers.
How Walmart‘s Policy Compares to Other Retailers
Every retailer has their own unique policies for clearance merchandise returns:
Walmart: 90 days with receipt, store credit without
Target: 90 days with receipt, store credit without
Amazon: 30 day returns for all purchases
Home Depot: 90 days but all sales final on clearance
Lowe‘s: 90 day policy but final sale on many clearance items
As you can see, Walmart and Target offer the most return-friendly policies. Home Depot and Lowe‘s take a firmer final sale stance to protect profits. This comparison shows why carefully choosing retail partners is key as a seller.
Tips for Sellers to Maximize Clearance Profits at Walmart
Given Walmart‘s open return policy on clearance, here are my expert tips for sellers to maximize profits:
- Avoid electronics and mattresses – Shorter return windows increase profit risk
- Focus on consumables and pantry items – These have minimal restocking costs
- Limit apparel and shoes – High return rates for wrong sizes
- Discount conservatively – Don‘t slash prices by 90% right away
- Unload true excess stock – Don‘t put new or bestselling items on clearance
Following this advice will lead to healthier profit margins on Walmart clearance sales.
In closing, Walmart‘s clearance return policy is quite generous to customers, with 90 days for returns with a receipt. As a seller, make sure you take steps to minimize returns and closely watch repricing.
Avoid categories like apparel with high return rates in favor of consumables. And discount conservatively to protect margins. Knowledge of the policies combined with these best practices will allow you to generate profits from Walmart clearance sales rather than losses.