The bin store concept is quickly gaining popularity. With new bin stores (also known as liquidation stores) popping up all over the place, it is likely that this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of it.
Bin stores are a concept where you can purchase name brand (new and customer returns) for prices that seem hard to beat. And that’s because they are!
If you’ve never been to a bin store, elbows deep in a bin trying to find all those precious treasures you needed (or never knew you needed until you found it), the typical pricing structure can be hard to follow. Here’s what you need to know:
The Typical Pricing Structure for Bin Stores is the “Falling Prices” Model
The type of product a bin store gets usually determines the prices. Though there are bin stores out there with set prices, the majority of bin stores will structure their prices according to a “falling prices” model.
What is a Falling Prices model?
Falling prices is a concept where all items in the bins start at one price and fall daily. For example, our bin store selling week starts on Fridays. On Fridays, the price of everything in the bins start at $10. There are items in the bins that cost way more than that. We get massage guns that retail over $50 dollars, pot/pan sets that can be $80 dollars retail, etc. But there are other items that might retail $4-$5 dollars. Those items usually sell on lower dollar days, later in the week.
You may find things that you want, but you’re not willing to pay the price for that particular item. The key here is to find that “sweet spot”– the point in which you’re comfortable paying for the item, but before someone else gets it. There may be another shopper who places a higher value for the item and they’re willing to purchase it at a higher price point! You get amazing deals with a bin store pricing structure, but there is a gamble there.
The question is, are you willing to pay the price for that item to get it at such a discount? Or are you willing to gamble for it and come back on a lower priced day?
Why Falling Prices?
Bin stores purchase their products differently than your average store or boutique. Typical stores will usually purchase items from a manufacturer in large quantities. Then, they are priced and placed on display.
This would be impossible for a liquidation store. Bin stores purchase using a concept called “reverse logistics“. The merchandise could have been items that a larger retail store purchased, but a newer model came out. Or maybe a newer model came out. Maybe it didn’t sell within the season or time frame it was supposed to sell. Or possibly, it was a customer return and couldn’t be resold within that retail structure.
When bin stores purchase their products, they come on pallets. Smaller items are inside large, open-top cardboard boxes. Larger products are stacked on the pallet and wrapped in plastic for transport. Bin stores don’t get to choose the specific items that are on those pallets.
Pallet programs that bin stores choose from can be from a specific retailer, or specific condition, or even specific box sizes. But the actual items that are in these pallets are a mystery even to the bin store purchaser until they receive them.
Thousands upon thousand items are placed in the bins. It is not practical for employees to price each of these items individually, so they’re all given a flat price. But this could work in your favor! You could get a massage gun that retails for $50 online that only costs you $10 at the store. The concept of the treasure hunt means less labor work for the store and that means those savings can be passed on to you!
Pros and Cons to Shopping at a Falling Prices Bin Store:
The biggest benefit to shopping at a falling prices model bin store is that you can get ridiculous deals for products that you want that you won’t find anywhere else. Where else can you find a brand new espresso maker for $10? What about brand new clothing (with tags) for $1? These are the kinds of deals that you’d get in a falling prices model that you won’t get anywhere else. For the bargain shopper, for the shopper tight on cash, for the person with 100 people to buy Christmas presents for– it’s a dream come true!
Another benefit is the thrill of the hunt. There’s something special about hunting for things you needed, finding that item you’ve been eyeballing at the retail store that you really wanted but didn’t want to pay the price for that– and you find it at a discount at your local bin store. There’s also the thrill of staying within your budget when shopping, which with prices going up everywhere, is getting harder and harder to do these days.
But, there is a downside to this type of shopping experience, too. In most bin stores, there is usually a “no holds” policy. This is because there really isn’t a solid way to do that fairly. Some customers can take all the high dollar items before anyone else even gets a chance to see them. In order to maintain the integrity and fairness of the store, it truly is a first come first serve basis. So, there’s a little more work involved when it comes to shopping the falling prices model, but the amount that you save shopping there makes up for it.
Is it worth it?
It’s worth trying at least once. Bin stores with the falling prices model may be everyone’s cup of tea, but we all appreciate a good deal every once and while. Try different days and different price points! One thing I’ve learned from our customers is that people tend to gravitate towards different days. The bargain shoppers are usually there on the first two days. The middle days are usually the casual shoppers, who enjoy leisurely sorting through items, because those days tend to be lower in volume. But the DIYers, the up cyclers, and the creative people usually frequent to lowest dollar days.
Try them all and see what you can find! Good luck, and happy shopping!