A 5-Step Process for Sustainable Store Liquidations and Commercial Cleanouts

The pandemic radically changed the state of retail, accelerating the shift away from physical stores to e-commerce by five years in just a matter of months (TechCrunch).

Changing consumer behaviors and the financial hardships caused by stay-at-home mandates resulted in the permanent closure of more than 25,000 stores in 2020. While many were smaller shops, even giant retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond, Gap, Starbucks, JCPenney, and Macy’s shuttered dozens of locations.

Many retailers are still in a transitional phase, making critical decisions to liquidate physical locations in favor of e-commerce or move to smaller spaces—or facing eviction and financial hardship and closing for good.

No matter where you are in the process of liquidating or dissolving your retail business, you likely have a lot of unneeded merchandise on hand. Tossing it in the garbage isn’t good for your brand or the environment.

So, what should you do? How can you sustainably discard your excess merchandise as you close up shop?

Liquidating Sustainably with Upcycling, Asset Destruction, Debranding, and more

There are many options for getting rid of merchandise sustainably. You can:

  • Recycle It: Partner with a sustainability company to help recycle your unwanted items. You’ll get rid of unwanted items without sending them to rot away in landfills.
  • Upcycle It: People tend to use the terms recycling and upcycling But these two processes are very different. With recycling, items are broken down into their original materials at the molecular level and used again. Upcycling takes items as they are and extends their lives as something else.

For example, shampoo bottles can be upcycled into lighting fixtures or cheese graters. We’ve even had customers upcycle their damaged hand soaps into COVID handwashing stations.

  • Donate It: Another option is donating unneeded merchandise to communities in need. Some brands are hesitant about this option because of the potential optics of donating on a large scale. But, thanks to services like debranding, you can easily donate your goods while keeping your brand’s reputation intact.
  • Sustainable Asset Destruction: If the other three options aren’t viable, you can always partner with a company that practices sustainable asset destruction to get rid of your unwanted assets while keeping your merchandise out of the landfill.

But you obviously can’t go from a closeout sale straight to asset destruction without some steps in between. So, what is the actual process of a sustainable store liquidation?

The 5-Step Process for a Sustainable Store Liquidation

The process for a store liquidation varies, but when you work with a sustainability partner like CheckSammy, it looks a little something like this:

  1. Clean out all items from the store: First, you’ll work with your sustainability and junk removal partner to clear everything out of your store.
  2. Itemize everything: If your sustainability partner doesn’t do it for you, you’ll need to itemize everything you’re throwing out as you clear your store.
  3. Divert and upcycle as much as possible: With assistance from your sustainability partner, you’ll determine which items can be upcycled, recycled, or donated, and which items will require debranding, if any. 
  4. For leftover merchandise, destroy assets in a sustainable way: After you’ve diverted as much of your inventory as possible, you’ll work with your sustainability partner on sustainable asset destruction.
  5. Gather data to inform your supply chain management: As you and your sustainability partner sort and clear items, it’s helpful to compile as much data as possible on where your merchandise ends up. This is important for ESG reporting, but it can also be crucial for supply chain management. Your supply managers need to know how much inventory you have in stores and what’s happening on the back end to make changes to the front end. If you don’t know what you’re throwing away, you don’t know what you need moving forward.

Get Started With Upcycling, Debranding, and Asset Destruction Today

Here’s the reality: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all recycling program – especially when you’re dealing with store closeouts and liquidation. But working with an established partner can help alleviate the stress of disposing of leftover merchandise by providing sustainable, comprehensive options.

At CheckSammy, we’re happy to create a plan to help divert and destroy your excess inventory that follows your asset protection guidelines. We also provide verifiable and unalterable data and itemization, so you know exactly what we did with your merchandise. Whether you’re looking for upcycling, debranding, asset destruction or more, we can help. Contact us now to get started.

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