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The Meaning of ‘A-Stock’, ‘B-Stock’, ‘C-Stock’, ‘D-Stock’ as applied to 'Retail' Products.


What does B Stock mean? What does C Stock mean? What does D Stock mean? and What does A Stock' mean? What does BSTK mean? What does CSTK mean? What does DSTK mean? when referring to products?...




























What does ‘A-Stock’, ‘B-Stock’, ‘C-Stock’, ‘D-Stock’, ‘Refurbished’ / ‘Used’ Stock mean?


Firstly a 'disclaimer'. Below refers primarily to the terms as applied to the 'Retail / Distributor' relationship aspects of the product supply industry, to answer the question, "What is the meaning of 'A-Stock', What is the meaning of 'B Stock? What is the meaning of C-Stock? What is the meaning of D-Stock? also, What is the meaning of BSTK'? What is the meaning of CSTK? What is the meaning of DSTK?
This writing does not necessarily apply to the 'Factory-Distributor' aspects. It could apply, however to a 'factory direct to the public' or 'Factory-Direct-to-the-Public-Wholesale' situation. I have written this by drawing on almost 30 years of retail experience, primarily in the consumer electronics, music instruments, pro audio and lighting sales industry. I have purchased and sold thousands of products from many, if not a few hundred venders.

A letter, followed by the word ‘stock’, in the ‘retail industry’, refers to the degree of 'newness' of an inventory or specific product item. Inventory items can be referred to as A, B, C & D-Stock conditions as well as 'Demo', 'Refurb', 'Close-out', 'Overstock', 'Second', 'Blems', 'Factory Overruns', and more. The application can vary somewhat from retailer to retailer or distributor to distributor, but generally indicates a similar condition industry wide.

'A-Stock’; What does 'A-Stock’ mean for retail products?


 'A Stock' means 'NEW'!   Refers to units / items / products that are ‘New in the Box’, never used, right off the 'line' (other than any cursory un-boxing / re-boxing at a distributor / retailer level for quality assurance inspecting / checking) with the full manufacturers warranty and applicable ‘return’ policies.
‘A’ stock can further mean that a purchaser will be entitled to a ‘higher level’ of customer support / service after the sale and in the case of Oak Tree Enterprises, LLC. This is the case. We come from an ‘old school’ lineage of coupling sales, with practical and extensive product knowledge. We are reachable by phone, and it is possible to speak with a person, both prior to and after the sale. We are here to offer practical assistance / advice on set-up, use and features of a product. We are here if you need assistance 'down the road' with connections, applications, additions or troubleshooting with the item you purchased from us, in some cases years prior. We are also a ‘phone call away’ if needed to ‘go to bat’ for you in the rare case you need warranty assistance with a product, distributor or manufacturer. Many of the ‘Big Box’ outlets, cannot offer that at ‘cut to the bone’ pricing.


‘B’ Stock or 'BSTK'; What does 'B-Stock’ or BSTK mean for retail products?

It depends on where the 'B-Stock' label is attached (not physically 'where', but where in the supply chain). If it's at the retailer level, 'B-Stock’ is nearly the quality level of ‘A’, but may have been a 'retail store' demo / floor model, but still likely has all the original packing, accessories, manuals with only slightest to no wear. It may simply be an ‘out of date’ model that was never sold (although in some cases ‘A’ stock can still apply to a model that is simply ‘out of date’). Occasionally 'B-Stock' can simply refer to a 'flaw in packaging' committed at the factory level. It likely still carries the original manufacturers warranty and likely falls under the same ‘return’ policies as applicable to ‘A’ stock. It also will usually fall under the same ‘service after the sale’ policies generally offered by the retailer / distributor. Some retailers may not reveal 'B-Stock' status on a product and allow it to appear as 'A-Stock'. A significantly lower price on an item is often an indicator of this. This is sometimes the case with 'auction site sales' or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.
At the distributor level, 'B' stock may refer to items that have been returned to distributors stores, had nothing wrong with them, been repackaged and sold back to their dealer stores for 'resale.
At the factory level, 'B-Stock' may refer to 'cosmetic blems' (these products may sometimes be marked with an indication of 'second' or 'fs' (factory-second)) which is then passed on the the distributor to be offered as 'B-Stock' to the retailer. I saw this fairly often with 'guitars' offered from our distributors. In the case of Fender and Gibson, they were typically labeled as 'Second' (always finish / discoloration / 'wood character' issues and nothing to do with the functionality of the guitar or instrument. Those units did not and generally do not make it out of the factory (at least not from the more reputable companies). Occasionally I saw 'seconds' with speakers (almost always grill or finish issues), but there was typically no indication on the product, but on the package / box.
The retailer may or may not disclose the item as a 'B-Stock' unit if they are able to address or resolve the issue.


‘C’ Stock or 'CSTK'; What does 'C-Stock’ or CSTK mean for retail products?

Product or unit likely has been a demo / floor model, but has sustained appreciable wear of has significant signs of ‘wear’, or may have been returned back to the retailer or factory within a short time period due to an issue unrelated to the functionality of the product (ie; wrong color, size, didn’t like, wasn’t correct for needs, etc). It may simply be an ‘out of date’ model that was never sold (although in some cases ‘A’ or ‘B’ stock can still apply to a model that is simply ‘out of date’ and in some cases may be a more desirable item if the ‘new and improved’ is not really ‘new and improved’). It may not have any of its original accessories. It may have a more ‘limited’ warranty and will likely have no or reduced return options. If a unit is a ‘return’ and the purchaser filled out any warranty cards and submitted it prior to returning, it may be difficult to get any ‘factory’ or original warranty assistance. Will likely be a ‘final sale’ item. ‘Service after the sale’ options will likely be reduced or limited or even non-existent when compared to ‘A’ or ‘B’ Stock.
Some retailers may not reveal 'C-Stock' status on a product and allow it to appear as 'A-Stock'. This is sometimes the case with 'auction site sales' or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.


‘D-Stock’ / DSTK / ‘Refurbished’; What does 'D-Stock’ or DSTK mean for retail products?
Refers to units / items / products that have been returned and required refurbishment / repair by a qualified technician (typically at the factory level).
It will likely have minor to significant signs of prior use. A ‘D’ product will not have much, if any of its originally included box, packing, manuals, accessories and will likely have visible wear / signs of use. ‘D’ units will not likely carry the original manufacturers warranty, but may possibly carry a lesser warranty offered and assumed by the retailer or distributor (solely independent from the manufacturer) or may be extended by the factory. It will generally not fall under the sellers standard return policy if any. 'D-Stock' or 'refurbished / refurbed' items may not even be offered for sale thru it’s normal, ‘authorized’ dealers / distributors and may be from a previous ‘close-out’, ‘fire-sale’ or other ‘distressed’ situation.
You will usually see ‘D’ stock products offered at the temporary ‘tent sales’, ‘hotel sales’, sales held at community centers or exhibition centers. Most of the brands offered for sale at these events are very ‘off brands’, of generally much less quality, that a comparable ‘name brand’ version. If a ‘name’ brand is offered at one of these types of sales, it will likely be ‘C’ or ‘D’ stock. Often times reputable retailers will not want to 'cloud' or dilute their stock or sales floor with 'D-Stock / DSTK / Refurbished' products, so distributors / factories offer them to more 'fly-by-night' operations.

Some retailers may not reveal 'D-Stock' status on a product and allow it to appear as 'A-Stock'. A significantly lower price on an item is often an indicator of this. This is sometimes the case with 'auction site sales' or 'online' sites known for 'super cheap prices'.

More on 'types of retail stock' to follow....

                                                                                                          - revised 9/19/17





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