Business lets customers purchase other stores’ surplus online, pick up at North Las Vegas warehouse

Ever buy something and decide to return it? Maybe there was a small tear or the color wasn’t right.

Most people don’t think twice about what happens to those items, but often many of them don’t end up back on the store’s shelves. Items that have been opened cannot be resold by many stores, so they send those items to Liquidity Services, a Washington, D.C.-based company and parent company of liquidation.com.

In North Las Vegas, you can find them inside a 150,000-square-foot warehouse at 3010 E. Alexander Road, Suite 1001.

The idea behind Liquidity Services Warehouse is that every organization has surplus — assets or inventory that are no longer required — so why not lend a helping hand?

“Liquidity Services provides strategic services to organizations to help them manage their surplus assets — everything from returned consumer goods, overstock inventory, idle equipment and other assets they no longer need,” said Jeff Rechtzigel, vice president of e-commerce at Liquidity Services. “It’s a $150 billion market and growing industry. Business trends — from the rise of returns to rapid product obsolescence to a consumer focus on sustainability — are creating more surplus, which puts pressure on organizations to effectively manage it.”

Inside the warehouse, everything from appliances and toys to furniture and electronics can be found. According to liquidityservices.com, there are over 500 product categories, including apparel, jewelry and clothing.

The company sells everything from commercial surplus inventory and government surplus assets in an online environment. Bulk lots are sold by the truckload, pallet or small package, and conditions range from new and in a box to customer returns and used.

Some of the 75 workers sort out items based on category and condition. They do product testing, take photos, box the items and add a manufacturer’s suggested retail price. The items are then placed online with additional information about their condition and open for bidding at liquidation.com.

The warehouse, which opened in 2011, also features items on secondipity.com for those who want to make single purchases. Online auction winners can pick up purchases inside the North Las Vegas building or work with the company to ship items.

Auctions typically run between two and three business days, and the website gets approximately 8 million unique visitors per year and hosts over 350,000 auctions annually.

Customers can score more than an 80 percent savings, according to Alan Noble, general manger of operations for Liquidity Services .

“We go through at least 170 orders a day on average,” he added.

Not all items that are featured online are in pristine condition. Some products have major cracks and tears but are featured for their specific components, such as a cable or wire.

The company’s busiest season is winter, when it sees many holiday purchase returns and a surge in television returns after the Super Bowl.

While the company won’t disclose which retailers it works with, a tour inside its warehouse showed top brand names. Many items still had price tags and showed only a few wears and tears.

“We can’t mention specific companies, but we can say we work directly with half of the top 20 retailers in the country, including the biggest online retailers in the county,” Rechtzigel said.

Electronic items, such as tablets, cameras and cellphones, are also popular at the warehouse because they can be hard to sell once personal information is implemented. Employees are able to wipe the memory clean, check their condition and resell them.

Even nonperishable foods are resold.

Some of the more unique items that warehouse manager of operations Trevor Morgan has seen are Jacuzzis, tube socks, bath socks and kayaks. He said nothing surprises him anymore.

“If they sell it, we get it,” he said. “We get whatever is hot at the time. For a while we were seeing a lot of Fitbits and hoverboards. Right now we’re getting a ton of iRobot vacuums.”

The company has warehouses across the U.S. in Texas, Indiana and North Carolina, and in Canada, and items can be shipped globally. The company has buyers in nearly 200 countries and territories, according to Rechtzigel.

“The retail portion of our business is fueled by flexible return policies, growth of online and omnichannel retail, and an increased focus on sustainability initiatives,” Rechtzigel said. “In the U.S., approximately 8 percent of everything purchased in brick-and-mortar retail stores is returned, and at least twice that amount for online retail. The total volume of consumer returns is $260 billion annually. Liquidity Services is providing the retail industry with a trusted solution.”

An open house in North Las Vegas is being planned for the fall.

To reach North View reporter Sandy Lopez, email slopez@viewnews.com or call 702-383-4686. Find her on Twitter: @JournalismSandy.

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