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Floor models

Floor models can help consumers make product choices. Find out more.

What are floor models?

Floor models are goods placed on display in stores so that customers can handle and see the products before buying them. Retailers often sell floor models at a discount after they’ve been on store shelves or showroom floors for an extended period or when manufacturers replace items with  newer models.

Deeper definition

Retailers can’t sell floor models as new merchandise because they’ve been handled by customers, which means they might not be in the same condition as goods that are brand-new and never used. Retailers also can’t return floor models to the manufacturers the way they can with unopened items, so they take a loss on floor models unless they sell them. Many retailers sell their floor models at a hefty discount to clear them off their shelves and recoup at least some of their money.

Floor models are typically used to sell larger or more expensive items that consumers might want to try first, such as cameras, vacuum cleaners, DVD players and other electronics. Stores also may sell floor models of furniture. These pieces may have minor defects because they have been handled extensively. Retailers may negotiate on prices for floor models, making it possible to get a steep price cut on a big-ticket item.

Floor models example

A customer interested in buying a sofa can try out different models by visiting a furniture store and sitting on the sofas on display instead of trying to make a decision based only on photos available online. These units are called floor models, and they may remain on showroom floors for several months before they’re replaced — either because models are discontinued or replaced with newer stock. Or, retailers may decide to sell floor models simply because they’ve been on display for a long time and are at risk of being damaged from wear and tear. Retailers can’t sell floor models as brand-new; they must sell them as-is, and it’s often possible to buy floor models for a lot less than straight-out-of-the-box merchandise.

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