Two Ways to Sell Inventory in the Marketplace

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Two Ways to Sell Inventory in the Marketplace 

Tips, Tricks and Best Practices 

by Jon Rudy, General Manager of the Follett Marketplace

Follett Marketplace is designed to meet the needs of organizations looking to sell books with two revenue-generating programs: Sell and Liquidate. How do you know which option is better for you?

Both programs simplify the process of marketing books by linking you with customers searching for the titles in your inventory. You control which books are listed, priced and sold. There are no quantity minimums or limitations in either program, but each offering has a different approach to how books are listed and sold. When deciding whether Sell or Liquidate better meets your needs, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Time — how much time and resources are you willing to devote to managing the program? 
  • Expertise — what level of knowledge does your staff have about setting prices and managing book lists? 
  • Price control — do you want to be able to adjust prices over time or set one price? 
  • Inventory control — do you want to turn books quickly or take advantage of longer exposure in the Marketplace?

Top Selling Insight:  Getting the most out of the Sell program 

Follett Marketplace Sell is an online listing program that targets students and enterprise buyers. You are competing against other sellers in the Marketplace, so it’s important to understand the dynamics of pricing and what the market can tolerate, and be able to provide great customer service to generate good reviews. By following a few best practices, you’ll set yourself up for success.

Best Practice #1: Pricing  Do your research to make sure that pricing matches market tolerance. Most sellers experiment with pricing to find the sweet spot that generates the most sales. Even changes in small increments like a penny or a nickel can affect sales volume. 

Best Practice #2: Product Listings  Make sure that the condition and descriptions of your inventory accurately match what you state to avoid customer dissatisfaction and negative reviews. 

Best Practice #3: Customer Service  Maintain positive ratings by quickly confirming sales, providing accurate descriptions of inventory and meeting shipping agreements. 

Best Practice #4: Shipping  Offer a variety of shipping options from which customers can select. Quickly confirm, ship and provide tracking information, so customers always know the status of their deliveries. For additional tips on how to become a Follett Recommended Seller, see checklist below. 

Checklist: How to Become a Recommended Seller

Top performers in the Sell program are included in Follett’s list of Recommended Sellers. Use this checklist of tips and tricks to help boost your ratings and sales potential.

  • Offer competitive prices — Pay attention to what other sellers offer and how much they charge. Price your books competitively.
  • Include detailed item comments — Offer as much information about your inventory as possible, so buyers know what to expect; for example, how much the book is highlighted, whether the book is an alternate or teacher’s edition and the condition of the book.
  • List as much inventory as possible — The more you list, the more you’ll sell and the quicker you’ll reach Follett’s fulfillment requirement of 250 orders.
  • Update inventory often — Maintain listings so offerings are current, and you don’t have to cancel orders.
  • Offer as many shipment options as possible — The more choices you provide (standard, expedited, two-day, and next-day), the happier your customers will be.
  • Confirm and ship orders quickly — The most frequent source of negative feedback is delayed order processing or shipments.
  • Provide shipment tracking for all orders — Tracking numbers and proof of shipment and delivery help customers feel in control and protect you against false claims.
  • Respond to customer questions within 1–2 business days — Customers can contact you directly, or Follett will contact you on their behalf. The quicker you reply, the more likely your customers will leave you positive feedback

Top Selling Insight: Getting the most out of the Liquidate program

Follet Marketplace Liquidate is a great way to quickly get competitive prices for all types of titles from a variety of buyers. The Marketplace is constantly changing. You’ll get a good read on current demand through a self-service portal where you decide whether or not to accept bids. You only need to ship your inventory to one location. By following a few best practices, you’ll get the most out of your transactions.

Best Practice #1: Utilize the minimum-price feature — Make it easier for you and buyers to complete sales by listing the minimum price you are willing to accept. It automatically filters bids, so you can select those that are above your threshold to quickly lock in orders.

Best Practice #2 Respond quickly to bids — The Liquidate market is active in real time. When bids are received, they are valid for five hours. It’s in your best interest to react quickly before other sellers accept competing bids, and you lose the opportunity to get the best price.

Best Practice #3 Don’t limit inventory — Find out what the current market demand is for your inventory by uploading all your available books. There’s no downside if items don’t sell because there are no fees to participate in the program.

Best Practice #4 Come back often — There’s demand for books from a variety of buyers all year long, not just in peak seasons. Visit the site regularly to check prices and take advantage of ongoing market activity. 

Next steps

Both the Sell and Liquidate programs put you in control of the timing and pricing of your inventory. How do you decide which program is right for you?

The first step is to review the specifics of each program and think about which buyers you’re trying to reach, how many resources you have to manage the program and how quickly you want to sell.

Then evaluate your preferences for how you want to price your inventory. With the Sell program, you have the ability to adjust prices until transactions take place. With the Liquidate program, simply upload your list and when offers are received, choose which books you want to liquidate.

Also consider how many resources you want to devote to the program. The Sell program is more involved, requiring time to manage the adjustment of prices and inventory, as well as to process orders. The Liquidate program is designed to turn books quickly with one-time transactions that take less of your staff’s time.

In some cases, it makes sense to take advantage of the Sell and Liquidate programs simultaneously. No matter which program you select, by keeping the top insights, tips and tricks in mind, you’ll maximize your opportunity to tap into an engaged Marketplace with buyers actively seeking your inventory. Let's get started.   

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About the Author 

Jon Rudy, General Manager of the Marketplace has been working within Higher Education technology and marketing for the past 13 years. Prior to joining Follett 4 years ago, he spent 9 years at Edvisors Network, an organization that helps students with enrollment challenges, scholarships, student lending and guidance through student financing.