In 2020 14.1% of all retail sales worldwide were online sales. It is predicted that this will reach 22% by 2023. If you’ve been considering it, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon of e-commerce. With SimpleConsign’s Shopify plugin’s easy setup, now is the time to open your Shopify consignment store.
Not surprisingly, the first e-commerce site in the US was Amazon. Beginning as a bookseller in 1994, Amazon now offers thousands of products. It is the world’s #1 online retailer. China is the fastest-growing for e-commerce sales nationally. In the US alone, online sales could reach almost $566 billion by 2023. Shopify’s stats are just as exciting.
The initial setup for a Shopify site is fairly easy. In fact, they offer a 14-day Free Trial. In addition, Shopify offers a variety of how-to tips and suggestions for what to avoid.
If you haven’t signed up for your Shopify site yet, start one. Integrate your Shopify site with phenomenal resale software such as SimpleConsign. Our web-based system lets you manage your brick and mortar store, as well as your online store from anywhere. Plus, features like SimpleConsign’s Photo App let you easily take photos and instantly upload them to your Shopify site.
Signing up for a Shopify site is only the beginning. Marketing your online store comes next. Shopify offers a wide variety of apps that work to boost your consignment store sales. Everything from Sales Pop Up and Countdown Timers to Customer Support apps are available. Many of them are free but choose wisely. Don’t overload your site with too many features in the beginning.
For more benefits of our Shopify plugin, read here.
The future of consignment is full of promise! This year is all about 20/20 vision. Since it’s the beginning of the year and a new decade, now’s the time to look at the future of consignment. Everything I read suggests it’s extremely sunny. Pay attention to these 5 trends.
“Resale becomes more mainstream,” was the subhead in a Retail TouchPoints article. Everyone is adding some form of resale today. For instance, Macy’s added thredUp. Designer Eileen Fisher created the Renew program. Christmas 2019 was the first major holiday to break the only-new-gifts ceiling. Before, shoppers bought quality used gift items but never admitted it. In 2019, smart and eco-friendly shoppers chose a resale Christmas gift. According to thredUp’s 2020 Resale Report by the year 2024, the secondhand market will hit 64B. Now, that’s a bright future!
Temporary consumers want an ever-changing, never-owning lifestyle. This trend particularly applies to Gen Z (anyone born between ’97 and ’12). This sharing economy links people directly with each other. Like Airbnb and Uber, Depop links buyers and sellers of clothing. Both rental companies, Rent The Runway and West Elm, give consumers a chance to have a little luxury without buying. PSFK reports, “the number of people who participate in the sharing economy is projected to increase to 86.5 million by 2021.” That’s nearly double what it was in 2016. Why does this help the future of consignment? It’s one more step to the full acceptance of reusing merchandise.
Not every part of resale’s rosy future is secondhand. Marketplaces are popping up all over the country. Like an antique mall, marketplaces sell a variety of products from one location. Essentially, they’re a brick and mortar Etsy. Marketplace owners rent space and use vendor-managed inventory. Often, these items are handmade. Consider the L & L Factory Marketplace in Nashville. The original factory, built-in 1929, started as a hosiery mill. Decade after decade, different products were made and sold out of its doors. Today, it is a premier shopping spot. More consumers now choose to shop locally. They’re looking for unique, one-of-a-kind products. As a result, they’re avoiding big box stores and shopping small.
Sustainability. Not a new word, but an important one for this next decade. Today’s consumers seek products with a small carbon footprint. Whether it’s climate change, ocean trash, or chemical pollution, consumers want manufacturers to take responsibility. Fast fashion’s decline is bankrupting stores like Forever 21. Manufacturers like Colgate-Palmolive are inventing recyclable toothpaste containers. Rothy’s creates shoes from recycled water bottles. I’ve said it many times before. There is nothing more sustainable than the resale industry. Due to the growing concern over the environment, the future of consignment is bright.
As resale and consignment shops move into the mainstream, the look of their brick and mortar stores has changed. To be competitive, shop owners know they need to up their game. Most secondhand shops are now merchandised with only quality items. Consignors are required to bring their newest and best merchandise. Today’s consignment stores regard branding, marketing, online sales, and a solid POS system as essential. As shops improve, so will the acceptance of secondhand.
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With only 1 Saturday left for shopping, you need to make the most of every opportunity. Double up on social media, customer service, and merchandising. Here’s a quick recap of what you should be doing during this last week of a very short resale shopping season.
What’s the one thing shoppers can’t get at a big box store? Personal service. In my 4th Quarter Marketing Tips, I encourage store owners to concentrate on the customer. Shopping mayhem and employee weariness get in the way of phenomenal customer service. Make sure this is still your focus. Encourage your employees to keep smiles on their faces. Remember, even a small gift like pastries in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, or even just a hand-written thank you note can go a long way to cheer up your staff. If not already, be an active participant on your sales floor. Go the extra mile.
Hashtags are the perfect way to get in front of shoppers during this short resale shopping season. Create your own store hashtag as well, this allows for all your posts to be found in one place and can encourage your customers to use it. You can create multiple hashtags with different purposes, such as a hashtag for your sales. Using trending hashtags is an excellent way to gain more followers, this is because Instagram allows you to follow hashtags. Not only do they do that, but they also let the user know when they have liked multiple pictures with the same hashtag to encourage them to follow the hashtag. Finding popular hashtags is the key to growing an Instagram following, here are some popular holiday hashtags.
Your store needs to be spotless during this season. Assign the task of checking on dressing rooms, clearing your cash wrap, and maintaining the racks and shelving throughout the day. Part of excellent customer service includes the organization and look of your store.
Even though this is your busiest season, it’s still the best time to add contact information for new customers. With SimpleConsign, a cashier can add a new customer directly from the Checkout Tab. Every cashier should be asking if a customer wishes to receive notices about special events and sales to gain contact information.
Billions are lost each year to shoplifting. Stay vigilant. Post signs that say “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted.” Remind your salespeople what your procedure is when a shoplifter is suspected.
If you enjoyed reading this, here are more holiday ideas.
Did you see the article from Bloomberg? The headline reads, “Used Stuff Is the Next Big Trend in Christmas Shopping.” Now, that’s exciting! Tell your shoppers this holiday to make it a consignment Christmas. Here are a few ideas.
The stress is building. The longer a shopper’s list and the less shopping days available equals panic. With only a few weeks of shopping left, invite shoppers to bring you their list. Use your website and social media to stress the quantity and quality of unique, one-of-a-kind gifts when shoppers make it a consignment Christmas.
Getting the right gift during the holidays is foremost in every shopper’s mind. When you add in the possibility of giving a unique, luxury gift for less, the bargain is even better! Consider marking down your seasonal items the week of December 9. As Whizbang Training suggests, “take a smaller markdown now (maybe 25% or 30%) when people are actually buying rather than the massive markdown you’ll need to move it after Christmas (50+%).” Furthermore, add a price point table such as “All Gifts On This Table Under $20.” Have a variety of items for men, women and children. Print attractive signs, but don’t tape them to the table! Purchase sign holders. Make sure you have a variety of last-minute stocking stuffer items too. Remember, stocking stuffers don’t have to be cheap. They just have to be small.
It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway… keep your shop and your staff merry and bright. By this point, your holiday planning is finished. Now, it’s time to focus on selling. Motivate your sales team. Remind them of those traits that make a salesperson truly successful. In addition, coach them to cross-sell. Energize your team with a fun contest. Encourage them to wear Santa hats and hand out candy canes. As I stated in our 4th quarter marketing tips, now’s the time to be shopper and consignor focused. Personal service is what sets you apart from the other stores in your area. Friendly, welcoming smiles go a long way right now!
Highlight different merchandise daily on your social media. Stress that only one is available to build a sense of urgency. Ask every shopper to give you an email or sign up for your rewards program. Download a copy of our holiday hashtags. Use them with every post. I’ve added special ones strictly to promote resale. Advertise your uniqueness, your amazing prices and your friendly service. By all means, enjoy this season. When the store owner is happy, the employees, shoppers and consignors are usually happy too!
Hashtags are a thing of the present, if you’re posting on Instagram and not using hashtags you’re doing it wrong. Hashtags have endless benefits such as increasing engagement, joining trending topics, content categorization, and reach new audiences. On Instagram, a lot of hashtags are encouraged, the optimal amount per post is 11. Although the actual max is 30 there is no need to use that many. Now that I have stated the importance of hashtags, here are 15 holiday hashtags for your consignment store:
#thanksgiving (20 million)
#blackfriday (17 million)
#smallbusinessaturday (2 million)
#cybermonday (2 million)
#givingtuesday (1 million)
#holidays (69 million)
#holidayseason (8 million)
#holidayshopping (1 million)
#happyholidays (16 million)
#merrychristmas (50 million)
#happychristmas (2 million)
#christmasgifts (6 million)
#boxingday (2 million)
#happynewyear (47 million)
#nye (10 million)
There are a ton of hashtags you can use, however the ones I rounded up are the biggest hashtags. Use those 15 holiday hashtags for your consignment store this holiday season and add more. Take a look at the hashtags your competitors or other similar stores use to keep track of hashtags that are trending. You can also do your own research, start searching hashtags and see how big they are. Even if they aren’t very popular they can help you reach your audience. There is no harm in trying out new hashtags, explore and play around with them.
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I took one psychology course in college. The professor, either because of his age or his importance, never actually showed up to class. He videotaped all of his lectures. Interestingly, the only thing I remember was how he pronounced the word “déjà vu.” In typical Midwestern fashion, it sounded like “dee jah view,” meaning seen already. Sound familiar? Many consignment stores have used it to name their businesses. Take these steps before choosing your consignment store’s name. It will make a difference.
Your consignment store’s name should always be short, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. Follow the KISS Rule. Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Choose a name that tells people who you are and what you do. Make sure your name fits the type of store you’re opening. Think of your overall brand. If you’re opening a high-end consignment store, don’t name it “Betty’s Used Stuff.” Conversely, don’t use words like “curated” or “boutique” if you’re selling a wide variety of easy-to-afford merchandise.
Your domain name is your website address. Unfortunately, many common domain names have already been taken. Keep searching to find one that suits your business. A good place to start is GoDaddy.com. Just type in the name you’re considering and see if it’s available.
Obviously, research is a major part of choosing your consignment store’s name. Check with your state’s Secretary of State office to see if your name is listed. Although the store may not be in your same city, it can still add to confusion online.
It’s always good to get feedback on your name choice from family, friends, and even strangers. Have 3 to 5 ideas and see what they like best. Ask them why and if they have an idea of what you will be selling.
Your consignment store’s name should comfortably fit you for 2, 5, 10, or even 20 years down the road. Something that’s relevant and a bit edgy today may not even make sense down the road. Think beyond opening day. Consider where you want to be.
Alexandra Watkins, author of Hello My Name Is Awesome: How To Create Brand Names That Stick, invented the SCRATCH test. These are considered the 7 Deadly Sins to Avoid When Creating a Brand Name. S = Spelling-challenged. C = Copycat. R = Restrictive. A = Annoying. T = Tame. C = Curse of Knowledge. H = Hard to Pronounce. Read the article to find out more about each.
When you get ready to choose your POS system, remember SimpleConsign!
The Academy was birthed out of a desire to help resale businesses succeed. Our customers understand buying and selling. Pricing items and knowing a bargain come easily. However, understanding marketing, merchandising, building a sales team, and many other business ideas is another story. Here are just a few Resale Academy takeaways.
Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are consumer anthropologists. Nationally-known speakers in the retail industry, we brought them to the Resale Academy. According to Kizer & Bender, customers seek “information, inspiration, and ideas.” Gone are the days of telling them and they will buy. You need to become a customer advocate. In other words, show your customers you’re on their side. View your business from their perspective. Have the information they need. Give amazing service.
Did you know 50% of your shop is never seen by shoppers? Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender encouraged shop owners to take a closer look at their “Impression Points.” For example, review areas like your front door and front window. Change your speed bumps weekly. In addition, your checkout area should pop with color and signage. Your sightlines must be clear.
The one-time consignment store owner, Angie Houloose, also spoke. She taught about creating a winning culture through leadership. Angie has developed the “OBVI Project.” Through your leadership, the store culture you desire is obtainable. Refine your values and vision for your store.
In marketing, the first moment of truth (MOT) is the moment your customer first interacts with your store. It’s their first impression. You have less than 10 seconds. There are several moments of truth. In fact, there’s even a zero moment of truth.
Imagine a circle. In it, you place everything a resale store needs to operate. For instance, you need an inventory, customers, a cash register, etc. Now, place a larger circle around the first. Add the extras that aren’t necessary, but set you apart from other stores. As you build circles of excellence, customers begin to expect it from you. Therefore, constantly change and build that outer circle to add value and excitement.
The Academy was a resounding success. Attendees said, “It rejuvenated me.” “I needed to be inspired & motivated.” “They knew their stuff.” SimpleConsign users … we’ll be back next year!
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Accenture’s Annual Holiday Shopping Survey lists family, the environment and gift cards as the top concerns for 2019. As topics like “sustainability” and the “circular economy” become popular, so will consignment store shopping. Be sure to have what this year’s shoppers are looking for.
Brick-and-mortar stores are clearly alive and well. Package theft or “porch piracy” is making consumers wary of ordering online. Accenture’s survey reported 78% of respondents were taking steps to avoid becoming a victim. Luckily for small businesses, in-store shopping is one way to combat theft. Furthermore, a full 54% of shoppers stated browsing through stores gives them gift-giving “inspiration.” Delight every customer who comes through your door with the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas. Remember, there is less than a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Experts anticipate the top holiday shopping day for 2019 will be Shop Small Saturday!
Younger consumers care about the carbon footprint of companies. They want the company they purchase from to be transparent. According to the State of Fashion 2019, almost 90% of Generation Z consumers feel companies need to be concerned about the environment and social issues. The survey reported, “Rental, resale and refurbishment models lengthen the product lifecycle while offering the newness consumers desire.” The most sustainable, transparent and eco-friendly business by far is resale. It’s one more reason consignment store shopping is slated to become bigger than fast fashion by 2028. This holiday season, shout your “sustainability” friendliness. Educate shoppers how resale has been a part of the circular economy from the start.
The acceptance of consignment store shopping is here. Accenture stated, “nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they would consider giving second-hand clothing as gifts, and even more—56%—said they would welcome gifts of this kind for themselves.” As in years past, gift cards and clothing hold top spots for holiday gift-giving. Remember, shoppers (especially Millennials) buy for every member of their family, including their pets. As a result, you’d be wise to add a few pet items for the holidays too. For the kids, offer impulse items such as toys, candy and beauty products for stockings. Consignment store shopping isn’t just for others. The average shopper spends over $100 on themselves during the holidays. Provide plenty of small extras for guilt-free personal shopping.
For other holiday ideas, read:
How consignment can run with the big dogs this Christmas
Create consignment store window displays on a budget
I have a love/hate relationship with email. Emails eat up my time. Countless marketing blogs appear by the hour, not day. Retail stats flood my inbox. Tricks of the trade are constant. I never know which ones to read. However, I do know email is the fastest form of communication. It’s the easiest to reach a target market and often the most engaging. This holiday, don’t break up with consignment emails.
You know the drill. Add a new consignor, get an email address. Check out a new customer, ask for an email address. There are countless opportunities to collect email addresses. To make sending consignment emails easier, choose an email marketing service. At Traxia, I’ve used 3 different email providers over the years. We started with iContact. If you have less than 500 contacts, you pay only $14 a month. Less if you pay annually. I can’t remember why we made the switch to Constant Contact. They offer a free trial and monthly payments of $20. Just as I was getting used to it, we switched to Mail Chimp. They offer a completely free version. I wish I could tell you one was better than the other. They all have their quirks, but all do a great job of delivering your message.
I saw this idea on Snap Retail and thought I’d share it with you. If you’re struggling with email ideas, here are 9 different topics to talk about.
I have read about, studied, researched, and stressed over subject lines. According to stats, if you don’t grab the reader’s attention within 5-8 seconds, you can forget about it. Here are some email suggestions from a company called SuperOffice.
Happy emailing this holiday season!
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For a few years, before I came to Traxia, I worked as the Children’s Ministry Director at our church. I headed a team of almost 50 volunteers to teach and nurture the children. Together, we ran everything from weekly lessons to summer Vacation Bible Schools and Christmas pageants. My team ranged from teenagers to 70-year-olds. Because they were volunteers, I felt a special need to be their cheerleader. How well do you know each one of your employees? How do you build a top-notch consignment store team?
I have quirks. It’s hard to believe, I know. Do not expect anything out of me before 10 am, but know I’m still working at 11 pm. I consider myself creative, but I like guidelines. The desire for perfection is my weakness. How well do you know your consignment store team’s personalities? It makes all the difference. Recently, Hubspot published 5 types of Personality Tests to Help You Learn About Your Team. They range from an in-depth Myers-Briggs test to The 5-Minute Personality Test. Making one of these tests a routine part of your hiring process helps you hire the best candidate. For instance, The 5-Minute Personality Test breaks people into either Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers or Beavers. Knowing where your team falls, you’ll discover if you’re running a zoo or a consignment store.
At our quarterly volunteer training meetings, I always added a few team-building games. The very fact that you play games, builds a closer team. Download each of these and give them a try!
Just as there are fun team-building games, there are also fun sales training exercises. Getting your team to practice selling should be a regular habit. Download these exercises and keep them handy the next time you do training.
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