Managing a group of people who are responsible for keeping your store at its best isn’t easy. Everyone has their own personality and unique circumstance. A lot can easily slip through the cracks and cause issues. To prevent that, I’ve gathered 3 ways to improve your consignment store team.
A good team has to work just like that, like a team. For that to happen, they have to get along well. Encourage your team to get to know each other on a personal level. Here are some ideas:
To have a strong team, everyone has to know what they’re doing. Have you ever had an employee make a lot of mistakes? This may be an indication that they need a refresher on the software. In general, going through training again and asking questions can help any employee feel better. When you’re new and going through training, you haven’t experienced too much. Once you’re out and working, you may run into issues you didn’t think of before. Not everyone is good at asking for help. Similarly, not everyone is good at teaching.
SimpleConsign does free weekly live training, has your employees sign up. We’d love to have them!
It’s important to have an environment where open communication is not only accepted but encouraged. Issues are bound to come up. Ignoring the possibility of them won’t help—better safe than sorry on this one. Have a weekly check-in, or however long you prefer, with your employees to make sure you know what’s going on. The reality is, issues may be happening without your knowledge. If the opportunity doesn’t come up to talk about these issues, they can get increasingly worse when they could have been handled from the beginning. Avoid this, have a happy staff, and keep those employees around longer!
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If you’ve always talked about making changes to your store, this is your sign to make those changes! Use our small changes to make a big difference in your consignment store. With a little bit of organization and adding your own touch to your store, you’ll be closer to having your dream store.
No one likes to see other people’s clutter. Cleaning up clutter can be overwhelming especially when you’re as busy as a store owner. Just pick a place to start and get to it! An easy place is your checkout counter/s, make sure it’s organized, clean and simple. Even though you have lots of items such as cash drawers, scanners, computers, etc. there’s a lot you can do a lot so that it doesn’t feel like a lot. Keeping your area simple makes it that much easier to clean the space.
If you find that your hardware is all over the place, buy or build your own stand so that your monitor can be on top and you can store all your hardware underneath. The example pictured above is from Ugmonk. As you can see, they have lots of different items but just by adding a stand they were able to make it look aesthetically pleasing and organized.
Lighting isn’t only practical, it also elevates the look of your store. Here are some areas in your store that desperately need good lighting.
There are two ways to grab customers from outside your store. Your sign and your window displays.
Your sign should give the customer some insight into what your store is about whether that is with the design or the same itself. Keep your audience in mind when designing this. If you already have a sign, you don’t necessarily have to change it. Use signs or your window display to show what you feel your sign is missing.
Your window display/s should be up to date and informative. By up to date I mean, decorate for the seasons, holidays, or events and change these frequently enough so that you don’t begin to blend in. Your window display is another space where you can show customers what they can expect from your store. Demonstrate what you sell and have the same ambiance in your window display as you do inside.
This entire process is all about creating an aesthetically pleasing space to increase sales and returning customers. To do that, you have to set the scene. Let’s start at the door, you want an open entrance to allow your customers to have a peaceful entrance from the outside. Add some lighting, a rug, and a good view to look at right away no matter what is in front. Follow the steps given before to have an attractive checkout counter. Have your well-lit, clean, and organized shelves. Make sure any clothing racks or merchandise, in general, is presented well.
Aside from those things, you can further set the scene with color, scent, and music. Use your store colors throughout the shop, these should match or go along with your logo and website. It’s an easy way to be consistent and not overwhelm the customer. Make sure your shop has a good scent, don’t go overboard because some people are sensitive to scents. Music can drive customers away just as easily as it can bring them in because everyone has different interests. Choose music that is easy to listen to, not too loud, and creates a relaxing experience for your customers. You can easily find premade playlists on any streaming platform.
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Your store layout makes or breaks your store for multiple reasons, but the most obvious is the physical appeal of a well-decorated store. Shopify goes into more detail about customer flow, but I will focus on giving you four consignment store layout designs for success and their pros and cons.
The free-flow layout is defined in the name. You’re free to create your own pattern. To work best, it should be more of an open space layout to create a peaceful space for your customers. If you have a window display or something similar, this is a great layout for your store. This takes creativity to pull off but try it out and track your results to see the effectiveness.
The loop layout forces customers to go all the way around the store before leaving or checking out. Ideally, the checkout station would be at the very front. A perfect example of this layout is Ikea. They particularly create a controlled loop to encourage you to browse all of their products.
A grid layout is your typical drug or grocery store layout. It’s simple and to the point. If you notice, some retail stores use this, such as Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Tuesday Morning, Goodwill, etc. This gets your merchandise out there; however, the visual appeal isn’t necessarily there.
The spine layout combines the other layout ideas, and it creates an open space, organized areas while effectively creating a good flow. When used correctly, the spine layout encourages customers to make their way through the whole store while they see your featured items.
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Consignment software will make your life a million times easier… if you choose carefully. It’s not surprising to me when a customer calls and says they want to open their shop in a week or two and need software ASAP. This puts them in a position where they feel rushed and don’t take the time to consider what they really need. They often promise they found a software they like better because they have better prices or use their iPad to check out customers. Well, the reality is, for consignment, resale, buy outright, antique malls, etc., the software has to be specific to this. Meaning, a retail software may work for the basics, but when it comes to behind-the-scenes, such as consignment splits, you will find yourself doing a lot of manual work. Because understanding consignment software and why it is so important to choose the right one takes time and research, I’ll save you the trouble and give you 10 questions to ask before buying software.
Within this question, there are many questions. Do they offer night and weekend support hours? What is the average response time? Do they offer email and phone support? They may offer support, but the support gives bad service. It’s better to find out before signing up than after. When you’re on a call with them, ask them this question. Similarly, if they only offer email support, this may take longer to get a response or even communicate clearly. Be sure to find out and know what you’re signing up for. Due to different time zones, there is a low chance every single problem you encounter with the software will happen between the hours of service.
You never want to be tied down, and a huge red flag is a contract. As soon as you have signed that contract, that company may not feel they have to give you as good service as they did before you agreeing. You also want to be able to get out of the contract for any reason, whether you are unsatisfied with the software or have to close your store down. Nevertheless, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Switching to new software or starting with software, in general, is overwhelming. You not only have to worry about your own training but your employees too. It can become even more overwhelming if you don’t have good training offered. Ask if there are training videos, live training and if they are unlimited. You may have it all figured out now, but what if you have new hires? They are going to need training as well.
Owning a business is expensive at any point but especially starting. If the startup costs are too much, you may need to reconsider or prepare if you have enough time. Find out if the potential software is a monthly payment or if you have to pay a huge amount out of pocket right away.
This goes along with startup costs. Hardware can add up. Some necessities are computers, bar code scanners, label printers, etc. Make sure the software company is flexible. If you only have Apple computers and their software doesn’t work for Mac, that’s an issue.
Having multiple terminals is not only smart, but it’s more efficient. It wouldn’t be ideal for getting software that charges per terminal because you may realize you need more terminals in the future as you grow. You may even add terminals specifically for returns, gifts cards, holidays, etc.
When the inevitable happens, such as a natural disaster, a computer virus, or any technical difficulty, you’ll want that data to be backed up. Understand how your data is being backed up with that software.
Make a list of the features you need, such as an online store, a gateway to communicate with your consignors or vendors, dealer remote item entry, etc. Make sure you know the features that you absolutely need. This will help narrow it down for you. Keep these in mind so that you don’t get sucked into the companies that give you rose-colored glasses, promising a ton of features you may not actually need.
This is an important question because it will determine a lot of how your business runs. There is a higher risk with installed software due to the limitations. Cloud software opens many doors such as checking in on your store from anywhere, using any computer, easily adding more terminals, etc.
You have to do your research! The best piece of advice overall is to read reviews from current and past users. Of course, no place is going to have perfect reviews. I’m sure if you look up your favorite restaurant, there will be some bad reviews. Take each review with a grain of salt but notice some of the red flags. These reviews may even help you come up with more questions for your potential software company. You can also join Facebook groups and hear directly from people in the same situation.
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Is your consignment store ready for Mother’s Day? If the answer is no, you need to get to work. As a store owner, you need to be capitalizing on all holidays. Most of your customers have a mother they are close to, or at least a mother figure. Marketing for this day means you have a good chance of getting customers in your shop.
Many people scramble on Mother’s Day to find their mom a special gift. This year, let your customers know your shop has everything they need. Whether they want a bonding shopping trip, buy their mom the clothing pieces, or get their mom the perfect item for their home, your store is the place to go.
Here are some deals you can run:
Mother’s Day sales are great, but your customers have to be aware of this—post at least once daily about your deals. Social media will be your best friend for promoting your store and deals. If you aren’t using social media, don’t let this overwhelm you. Start with one or two social media platforms your audience is more likely to use and focus on those. Create quality content and post often on the days leading up to sales and during sales.
If you want to learn more about digital marketing for your consignment store, click here.
Create a social media giveaway to encourage customer participation and promote your store at the same time. Share your Mother’s Day graphic on social media and write the rules on your post. The idea is to have customers follow your page, tag a friend, and share the post. Social media giveaways allow your customers to promote your shop, naturally fostering social media traction.
Do you promote your store by sending emails? If so, this is the perfect way to announce your Mother’s Day deals. The earlier you start, the better! I already touched on social media, but emails are the best way to keep your customers up-to-date with your store. If you don’t already have an email list, it’s not too late to start working on one. Start collecting emails in different ways, such as asking for emails when checking out, offer a deal to those who give out their email, and share a link for customers to sign up for your email on your social media.
After reading this article, is your consignment store ready for Mother’s Day now?
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“Many small businesses close because at some point the owner didn’t get enough leverage on themselves to change,” says Bob Phibbs in his article How to Avoid the 7 Reasons Small Retail Businesses Fail. As a store owner, there is always the fear of your business failing. The truth is although that is a possibility, you have to remember the 80/20 rule. Meaning, 80% of results will come from just 20% of the action. To keep your store running, you have to put a lot of effort in. Use these 3 ways to improve your consignment store and avoid failing.
If you aren’t marketing for your store, you’re doing it wrong. Start with creating a business profile for your page on all social media platforms. After that, you can focus on posting on the main one your audience would use. Once you get more comfortable with it, start posting on all your pages. You can post the same image with the same caption on each platform. Besides social media marketing, your website’s appearance is just as important as a physical store’s appearance. Make sure your website represents your shop well. If you don’t have an online shop, SimpleConsign has a Shopify plugin. With SimpleConsign, the possibilities are endless.
If you need more digital marketing inspiration, click here.
Your marketing gets customers in the door. After that, you can keep them interested using your merchandise. Starting, if you don’t have your niche decided yet, stock the shelves with all consigned items in good condition. After that, you’ll be able to gather data to decide what items are selling the most. To gather this data, you’ll need a good software system. SimpleConsign offers the best inventory tracking system. Another way to get inventory sold is to change your store’s appearance often. When doing this, customers have to walk the whole floor, increasing the chances of seeing something they like. Changing the appearance also allows items that other clothes may have hidden to be visible. Encouraging customers to buy something right when they see it. Otherwise, it will be gone when they come back is a great strategy as well.
Things will never stay the same, especially not if you plan on keeping your shop open for good. It’s important to accept that you will need to make changes constantly. For example, if your store has been around for a while, you may not have found it necessary to use social media marketing before; however, you will need to adapt and begin social media marketing to stay relevant. Another example is accepting your shop’s growth. Eventually, you will have to move to a bigger or better location. As you grow, you will also need to find ways to make your job easier, such as automating everything you can. Upgrading your software system will be necessary as well.
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Is saving time and money something you’re interested in? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Consignment store inventory management is an excellent way to save time and money. It’s time to stop relying on the ebb and flow of your store and use efficient techniques to manage your inventory.
Consignment store inventory management takes a couple of steps, but you have to decide what sets you apart. What sets you apart can be considered your style. Correspondingly, narrowing down your style can allow you to pick and choose the consigned pieces you need in your shop, rather than accepting anything in good condition. The idea of a consignment store might overwhelm most people who aren’t familiar. If you have a style, it will seem less intimidating. Decide what style is more beneficial based on a few different factors.
The 80/20 rule has been around for a long time and has been used in many different instances. In consignment, this rule represents that 20% of your customers purchase 80% of your product. Using your software program, you can gather data on that 20%. As a result, you can use your newfound data to grow your relationship with that audience. You can develop ways to keep this audience interested, such as creating a shopping incentive program. You can also have special deals on your social media and even email the customers on your email list a sale just for them. If you don’t have any other ideas, ask your customers.
Pop quiz! What is the best place to display marked-down items? The answer is the back of the store! People are used to searching for marked-down items at the back of the store. Additionally, placing sale items in the back means they have to walk through the whole store, increasing the chances of a regular-priced item catching their eye along the way.
Of course, none of the advice mentioned above is easy to follow without a good tracking system. An efficient tracking system allows you to make inventory decisions in the future using data. The sooner you get a tracking system, the sooner you will have raw numbers to make wise inventory decisions. If you need some direction, SimpleConsign offers the best inventory tracking system with our Quick Search feature.
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As a consignment store owner, you probably feel like you’re wearing most of the hats. You’re constantly juggling between all your tasks, and it’s hard to manage your time. Effectively managing your time is hard, but you need to find what works for you. Learning how to manage your time as a consignment store owner takes a lot of trial and error. Here are some ideas to help you get started on your time management journey.
Valuing your time is the first step. This means taking the time to decide what tasks are worth your time. A task that may seem quick may actually take up more of your time than you think it does. It’s important to analyze this so that you can delegate some tasks to other people.
Consider the opportunity cost, which is essentially what you give up (the benefits of the next best alternative) when you make a choice. Take a look at all your tasks for the month and see how many take up too much time. An easy fix is to find ways to automate those tasks. For example, if you’re posting on social media daily, try a scheduling app.
Another option is to decide how much you are worth an hour. Say someone is paying you $20 an hour to complete a task, would you do it for $20 or no? That can help you decide whether a task is worth your time. If it’s not, then you can review the options that benefit you most.
The easiest way to decide whether or not you should be doing something is to look at your motivation. Do you have tasks that you often find yourself procrastinating on? This is something you can probably have someone else do. If you don’t already have people that can help, you can find freelancers online or find apps that will complete those tasks for you.
Use these methods to determine when it’s time to delegate tasks.
Planning has many steps, the first being to get organized. When you organize both your tasks and your workspace, you can have a clear mind. After you get organized, write down all your tasks and decide when they need to be done. If you have recurring tasks, set a specific day of the week for those tasks. Doing so will help free up time for those tasks that come out of nowhere. If you have daily recurring tasks that you have difficulty organizing, create a checklist for yourself to be sure they were completed. Additionally, creating a checklist for the daily opening and closing tasks will reduce any stress or anxiety you may experience.
When you plan, it also frees up the opportunity to get ahead. By that, I mean being as ahead as you can get, whether it’s a week ahead or a month ahead. Getting ahead will help relieve you of stress because when unplanned things come up, that’s all you have to put your energy towards. It can be helpful to find out what time of the day you feel most productive. That may mean waking up early to have extra alone time in the morning or coming in an extra day. Whatever that means for you, do it if it helps you be more productive.
If you feel like you spend too much time on a task or don’t manage your time well, try keeping track of how long certain tasks take. When you were in school, were you ever told not to get stuck on a question for too long? This is similar to that. Getting stuck on a task will not only waste time, but it’s also discouraging. When you feel stuck on a task, maybe switch gears and work on something else. Come back to it later with an energized mind.
Taking breaks is essential when practicing time management. After you complete a task, be sure to take even a couple of minutes to drink water and disconnect for a little. It may also help to do a lap around your store. Working different parts of your brain and body helps us as humans stay energized and motivated.
To sum up, everything that has been stated so far, learning what works for you when learning how to manage your time as a consignment store owner is tricky. I have provided you with some key starting points and ideas. Use these and let us know what worked for you!
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2020 taught us just how unpredictable life is, it’s hard to prepare for the unpredictable but we can sure try. This year, set some new year’s goals that will help you to stay motivated even when the unpredictable hits. I call them goals because resolutions have a negative connotation to them as people normally forget about them after the “honeymoon” phase of the new year. I have come up with a way of setting achievable new year’s goals for your shop in general. I also came up with some specific ideas for your goals in case you need some inspiration.
Creating a vision board is an excellent way to take note of your new year’s goals. You can look at it every day and allow it to ground you. Creating a vision board allows you to visualize your goals, it’s also very fun to look back and see what you’ve accomplished that you may have forgotten about. Athletes actually use visualization and a study says that it is almost as effective as physical practice. Vision boards are confused with mood boards but they’re quite different. You would use a mood board to plan out how you want something to look, not necessarily a goal. That being said, I am sure you can find a way to make your vision board as aesthetically pleasing as a mood board.
To start, jot down your goals. For example, quarterly goals, sales goals, staff goals, and anything else that you’ve been wanting to achieve. Then you can find images to represent those whether you print them off from the internet or cut them out of a magazine. Find the perfect spot for your vision board, it should be a place you are frequently in such as the place where you work from whether it’s an office or an at-home office. Feel free to add new things to the vision board, you can also replace certain things. If you don’t necessarily achieve it all, don’t forget how far you’ve come. Some things take time and you may not achieve them until a later date. Keep all the vision boards you make, write the date on them and it’ll be a fun thing to look back on.
A marketing plan is just as effective and achievable as a vision board, you can most certainly do both this new year. A marketing plan is tricky to put together but your future self with thank you. Your marketing plan, similar to the vision board, can be quarterly. Here are some steps to take to create your best marketing plan.
Creating a marketing plan will allow you to organize and visualize your goals for the year, you may separate it by quarter or plan out a whole year. Separating it would be beneficial to not overwhelm yourself, I feel that’s the mistake most people make when setting goals. Take it one step at a time, that way you see smaller accomplishments more often. By the end of the year, you will see a huge difference. You can achieve the same goals you’d like to, just separate them and tackle them individually. Using an online based POS system will help you feel free to step away from work as well. You can feel connected to your shop while giving yourself the relaxation you deserve.
Don’t overwork yourself, goals are great but don’t forget to take care of yourself and your other responsibilities. Taking time off can be beneficial for your shop, you are able to detach from your shop to come back refreshed. This is even more possible if you are prepared by creating a vision board or a marketing plan. You can step away from work and know that everything is taken care of. When you take time off you allow yourself time to recharge and come back with more energy and inspiration.
If you haven’t set any achievable new Year goals for your shop, here is a list of a few. Don’t feel obligated to set these exact goals but allow this to inspire you.
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Due to the pandemic, this year holiday shoppers were encouraged to shop safe, shop early. Although we stand by that there will always be those few last-minute shoppers and we want to help you get them in your shop. Super Saturday is on Saturday, December 19th and that’s when all the last-minute shoppers will be out shopping. These shoppers need help and direction, it’s time to let them know your shop is here to help. I have gathered the best ideas to attract last-minute shoppers, they are sure to inspire you.
Extending your hours on at least one day will help your business. Super Saturday is an excellent day for that, you can base this around what times your shop is busy. Adding more hours gives people more opportunities to come in. Post on your social media accounts alerting customers about your special hours that day. While you’re doing that, you can also implement the following ideas in your shop:
For any questions regarding SimpleConsign’s gift cards, Cailin gives the best step by step tutorial on all things gift cards. Also, these are the gift cards that work with our software but you can use whichever you prefer, just make sure the barcodes are code 128 or code 39.
Selling online is the best thing to offer this holiday season and the best way to attract last-minute shoppers. Depending on what kind of audience you have, maybe post on social media some potential ideas for gifts. You can include stocking stuffers and bigger items, get creative with it. You’re doing some of the heavy lifting for them by providing inspiration while showing them your shop is the place to do last-minute shopping. Your online inventory can also give customers time to look at the items before coming to your shop. This is helpful since most last-minute shoppers are late because they’re busy, they’ll appreciate any help they can get.
If you haven’t done so yet, open up your own Shopify shop with SimpleConsign’s Shopify plugin. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to discuss your options.
This goes along with all the other ideas, but use your resources! Post on all your socials and send emails encouraging last-minute shoppers to come into your shop. Promote your deals, gift wrapping, gift cards, online shopping, and anything else you offer. Since you are putting effort into helping last-minute shoppers the most important part is that they are aware of this. Ask your community for help by having them share your posts. You can also see what local news outlets such as social media pages can promote your shop’s deals. A way to encourage people to share your post is to come up with a contest for a chance to win an item of your choice. All they have to do is share the post, tag a friend, and must be following your page.
For more holiday ideas click here and to motivate your customers to shop consignment for the holidays click here.