3 Ways to Improve Your Consignment Store Team

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.

1 Team bonding

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:

  • Depending on their age and interests, take them to get drinks or ice cream
  • Have a monthly or quarterly team lunch or dinner
  • Take the team out to go bowling or to play laser tag

2 Training, training

3 Ways to Improve Your Consignment Store Team

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!

Cashier training

Manager training

3 Weekly check-ins

3 Ways to Improve Your Consignment Store Team

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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How to Open a Consignment Store — The Complete Guide

Being an entrepreneur can seem overwhelming but don’t let that stop you from doing what you love. There are many resources out there to guide you in the right direction to help you open a consignment store correctly. The most important thing is to be prepared and this blog is a great place to start. Here is the complete guide on how to open a consignment store.

Business plan

How to Open a Consignment Store

I am sure that you have been told you need a business plan to open a consignment store; however, this really depends on your situation. Forbes recommends that if you aren’t looking to raise money, a loan, or bringing in partners then a business plan isn’t necessary. Brian Cheesy, the founder of Airbnb, only had a one-page business plan which he is well known for because we have seen how Airbnb did. If you are looking for funding or loans then you need to know what that specific audience needs in order to feel comfortable. Forbes also covers the recommended business plan contents:

  • Prototypes
  • 12-month expense projections
  • Marketing plans
  • Customer acquisition costs
  • Customer value
  • Results of testing (i.e. a dashboard of KPIs)
  • Proof of consistent improvement
  • Knowing your burn rate, and never falling below 6 months of cash

To save you time, Alejandro Cremades created a pitch deck template for entrepreneurs. A pitch deck is helpful when presenting your business plan. Use these helpful tools to come up with your business plan for your consignment store. You may also get help from us because you’re not in this alone. SimpleConsign wants to help you reach your goals and continue to help once you’ve gotten started.


You have a couple of options, in-store consignment, online consignment or you can have the best of both worlds and have both. More than ever, online shopping has grown which means that if you are opening a local store some people may still choose to shop online. Demographics also play a part in this, certain people may be further from your shop. For a physical shop, you’ll have to take those demographics into account. You need to learn who your audience is, you can offer many things but you may want to specialize in one or two of those categories. Take a look at what is needed in the area, is it a plus-sized store? Is it a store for teens? Figure out what that is and make it your niche. If you plan on opening a furniture consignment store you can also figure out the style of the people around you so that you can attract that target audience. 

Bring that audience into your shop by having an event where you speak about consignment. Teach them about the importance of consigning and the effect it has on the circular economy. Have drinks and snacks for your visitors.

Your grand opening

How to Open a Consignment Store

When you open your consignment store have a grand opening and let everyone know about it. Reach out to all the local channels that can help spread the word of your grand opening. Get on local Facebook groups, reach out to radio stations, post about it, and sponsor those posts. You can also create a newsletter for everyone on your contact list, after that you can start to grow your contact list to have a regularly scheduled newsletter for your audience. Create business accounts on all social media platforms and start a posting schedule to create consistency. Share this page on your personal social media accounts to have your friends help you spread the word. Even if you are starting an online store only, you can use these methods to encourage visits to your online shop. You have more room to work with at that point because you can go beyond the people in your area.

For the actual grand opening day, have fun with it. Offer anything you feel comfortable with such as drinks, snacks, and create an environment you and your community can enjoy. Of course, this is harder to do during a global pandemic, at that point, you can still offer all of these things but socially distanced. Follow the guidelines set for your community and work around it. For example, if you can only have a number of people visit at a time, you can allow those people to come in and let others in as others leave. Another idea is to have a sign-up sheet, as people sign up with their email you can email them the time they can visit your shop and have them show it at the entrance. This can also be a creative way to get people’s emails for your newsletters.

Marketing plan

How to Open a Consignment Store

The biggest part of marketing right now is social media, be sure to be active and get programs that allow you to schedule your posts. Start a blog where you can create an online following to gain customers for your online shop. Schedule weekly emails to inform your customers about new inventory, deals, coupons, and updates in general. We are living in a strange and new time, read our FAQ’s of Marketing During a Recession to get some ideas.

A fun idea for an online shop is to include extra things in your orders that have your store’s logo on them, such as stickers, a pen, a tape measure, or anything that makes sense for your shop. Use this as a way to have your customers do some free marketing for you. It also helps the customer feel as if they had a more personal experience since they didn’t get the face to face interaction they would in-store. Another way to give them a better experience is to write a little thank you note to your customer. Thank them for supporting a small business and you hope to hear from them soon. Add your socials on there and encourage them to share pictures and tag your shop.

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How to choose your consignment store’s name

Choose your consignment store’s name carefully

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.

Step 1. The KISS Rule

Your consignment store’s name should always be short, easy to remember, and easy to pronounce. Follow the KISS Rule. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Step 2. Communicate a message

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.

Step 3. Is the Domain Name available?

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.

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Step 4. Is your consignment store’s name being used in your state?

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.

Step 5. Test your name

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.

Step 6. Think of your future

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.

Step 7. Take the SCRATCH Test

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!

17 brilliant ideas for consignment inventory reduction

This post was updated from January 2016

Make your next consignment inventory reduction sale memorable

When it’s time for your shop to change seasons, take a look at some of these inventory reduction ideas. Although you don’t want to make drastic sales a regular habit, a twice or 3 times a year clearance sale is very acceptable. I’ve put together a list of 17 brilliant ideas for consignment inventory reduction. Okay, I can say they’re brilliant because I put the list together. Pick one or two and clear out the old to bring in the new.

1.) The non-sale switcheroo 

This is your best non-sale idea for consignment inventory reduction. Try totally redesigning the look of your shop. Move racks, rounders, shelving units or anything else that will make your shop look and feel completely different. It’s amazing how just moving merchandise from one end of the shop to the other can make it more attractive to a buyer.

2.) Buy-the-Bag event

Hand out a grocery bag, laundry bag or a specially printed store bag to every customer that comes that day. Sell your merchandise at one price for the entire bag or bring in a scale and sell it by the pound.

3.) Find a new holiday 

Did you know that January 13 is Make Your Dream Come True Day or that April 7th is No Housework Day? The internet is filled with websites that list crazy, fun “holidays” that can be celebrated with a special sale or a whole event. Take one of the really crazy ones like Hoodie Hoo Day (Feb. 20th) and any shopper who comes in and says, “Hoodie Hoo” receive a special discount.

4.) A Dutch Auction 

Reduce the price of your merchandise weekly or even daily so that by the end, whatever you have left is down to the lowest possible price. I encourage you to discount deeply the first time around. If the idea is to move merchandise quickly, start the “auction” at 40 or 50% off.

5.) Preferred Customer Savings Event 

Invite only your best customers to shop the night before the regular sales event begins. Provide beverages and snacks; teach a class on furniture painting or scarf tying and offer them a deeper discount on all sale merchandise for that evening only. It’s a great way to reward faithful shoppers and take care of consignment inventory reduction.

6.) DIY idea night 

Collect a bevy of DIY ideas and offer them along with merchandise at a discount. For instance, offer DIY ideas/classes for turning a mirror into a tray; sweaters into mittens and leggings or jars into a decorative craft caddy.  There are literally hundreds of ideas to use secondhand items for upcycling. Make a night of it and help your customers see the potential.

7.) Daily deals or weekly specials

Each week from now through the end of the season, choose particular items that receive an extra discount. For instance, every sweater or lamp is an extra 25% off. This is especially good when you want to avoid the idea of a clearance sale. Getting a deal sounds much better than buying an item during an Inventory Reduction Sale.

8.) Bundle! 

Sometimes customers just can’t see the potential in putting separate items together. Showcase merchandise in a tableau creating an instantly warm and cozy feel. Whether it’s a chair, table, lamp and ottoman or a sweater, scarf, boots and hat…help your customers envision the whole not just the individual. Then offer a special deal when they purchase the entire group of items.

9.) Mystery boxes  

Use attractive boxes or baskets and put together fun surprise packages. Don’t completely fill them with all of your unwanted items though. Be sure to add vintage knick knacks, colorful scarves, fuzzy mittens or unusual serving pieces. Put together all red or pink items and make mystery Valentine’s Day baskets. With lots of paper shred for filler and a cellophane wrapper, customers can see a little of what they’re getting, but not all.

10.) A BOGO sale 

There’s no better way to double your inventory reduction than by offering a Buy One Get One Free or Buy One Get One 1/2 off Sale. It’s a great way to move particular merchandise fast. Use a BOGO sale to move slow-moving sizes, colors, overstocks and even totally unrelated items.

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11.) The bargain bin

Some customers just like to dig (I’m one of them). They like nothing more than to dig into a huge basket, tub, bin or box for the remaining items that are deeply discounted. Often, shops will have a special area in the back for sale items, but for an inventory reduction sale, make sure it’s right out front.

12.) Let the weather decide 

In seasons such as winter and summer, the weather can often be extreme. Choose a measuring point (i.e. any day below freezing, snow over 6″, sunny Sundays or windy Wednesdays) and then offer a discount accordingly. For instance, discount any item in your shop by an additional 10% for every 5 degrees below freezing. On a 20° day, customers would receive an extra 20% off.

13.) End cap contest

The end cap or space at the end of an aisle is some of the most valuable real estate in your shop. Let each of your employees take an end cap and merchandise it with items that need to move quickly. At the end of the week, see which employee’s end cap sold the most merchandise and offer the winner a prize.

14.) Special price coupons

Give your sales staff the ability to give special discounts to shoppers during a specific week. Print up coupons that say “You choose your sale price up to X amount.” Of course, the customer will choose the X price but that was the discount you were prepared to offer anyway. It provides an incentive for an immediate sale (make sure the coupon has a place for the end date) and it gives your employees a chance to build relationships with customers.

15.) 60 in 60 sale 

Advertise a 60% off for 60 minutes one day only. Clearly state the day, hour (i.e. 11 am to 12 noon) and the 60% savings in all of your marketing. Make sure you print posters for your windows too. Close the store for the morning of the sale so that a crowd potentially builds outside your store. On the hour, open the door and let the sales begin!

16.) Fishbowl discounts 

Create slips of paper with a variety of discounts on them. Let customers choose a slip of paper at the register which will determine the discount they’ll receive. Punch up the excitement by putting one slip in the fishbowl with the word FREE on it.

17.) Donating 

Donating excess inventory to a charitable organization can offer some stores certain tax benefits. If you’re not able to take advantage of the tax write-off, consider donating your items to an event that might also offer additional marketing opportunities in exchange for your merchandise. No matter what, the community goodwill that is generated from donations is always a plus.

Overall cleaning your store of outdated merchandise is a must, read 6 tips for consignment shop spring cleaning.

Need help managing your inventory? Let SimpleConsign show you how easy it can be. 

Stop the cycle of consignment discounting

Are you on the roller coaster of consignment discounting?

Conventional wisdom says discounting merchandise brings in more sales. Discounting is never a long-term strategy. If you want to attract shoppers for the short term, offer discounts. These customers will leave you sooner rather than later when they’re off to find the next, best deal. To build a solid base of loyal customers, focus on creating value and setting your shop apart. Here are 3 alternatives to stop the cycle of discounting.

Build loyal customers by looking at what motivates them.

A Harvard Business School study determined that people are motivated by 4 different biological drives. Here are the first 2:

  • The first is the Drive to Acquire (many discounting programs feed this desire). These are customers looking for either status or the ability to just buy stuff. They want to own as much as possible.
  • The second is the Drive to Defend (loyalty programs encourage this). These customers feel the need to earn rewards points to maintain a special status. They want to be part of a club. SimpleConsign has an excellent rewards point system

Most shops normally focus (without realizing it) on the first 2 drives to gain new customers and make sales. What if instead, you focused on the last 2 drives:

  • The Drive to Bond  is a clear motivator particularly for women. Your shop can build relationships and a sense of belonging. Create a special group, celebrate milestones or ask customers for feedback. The goal is to make them feel a part of your business.
  • Finally, the Drive to Create is especially important for the younger Millennial shoppers. Use classes and events as a way to build these loyal customers.
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Add value rather than consignment discounting

Discounting tends to erode the consumer’s view of your brand value. In other words, if you discount often, you are only viewed as the cheapest place to shop. Instead, charge full price and add an item or service as a bonus. Read 3 sure-fire consignment cross-selling and upselling tips. For a short time, offer a free gift with the purchase of an item. Add free delivery on furniture buys or partner with another business such as a hair salon and offer a special discount. In the mind of the shopper they are getting greater value even when paying full price. Make sure you put a time limit on the offer so that it creates a sense of urgency too.

Contact loyal customers with specific messages

Target your customers with the right message to avoid consignment discountingToday’s consumer is bombarded by messages. If your marketing efforts aren’t segmented to target groups of shoppers, your message will be ignored. Get a better understanding of your key customers by using an online survey (such as SurveyMonkey’s free survey), a printed survey that you use as a bag-stuffer or even your Facebook Insights page to gain in-depth information about your shoppers and fans. Target specific shoppers with specific messages about specific merchandise they want and you’ll not only have a greater chance of making a sale, but you will be building relationship at the same time.

Which is best? Buying vs. leasing consignment store property

Don’t let the leasing vs. buying question overwhelm you. Take a look at some of the pros and cons. Then, make a decision on which is best for your consignment store property. No matter what you choose, remember it’s always location, location, location!

Making the right choice

Pros of buying consignment store propertyPros to buying

  • More control. Since the building is yours, you control changes or improvements. The stability of owning vs. leasing means you’re not at the whim of others.
  • Equity.  Use the building as collateral for a line of credit or other financing.
  • Sublet.  Add revenue by leasing unused space in the building.
  • Tax Deductions. Deduct your interest and annual depreciation expense, as well as other non-mortgage related expenses.
  • No Surprises. Never receive a rent increase or eviction notice.
  • Resale Value. If you’ve chosen your location wisely, selling your building should net you a profit. In regions where land values are appreciating, investing in real estate can be good for the future of your business.

Pros to leasing

  • More Liquidity. No high upfront costs are needed. When you invest less in the location, you have more money to devote toward business operations. In addition, with a lower debt to income ratio, you may be able to obtain a small business loan if needed.
  • Tax Deductions. Your monthly rental fee is tax deductible.
  • Greater Flexibility. Freedom to change locations due to growth or down sizing is much easier.
  • Less Responsibility. More time and money to build your business.
  • No Market Value Worries. Regardless of the changes in the commercial real estate market, you are safe.
  • Shorter Terms. Most contracts only last a few years. If you’re unhappy with your location, you’re free to move on.
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There are cons to buying or leasing your store property

Cons to Buying

  • Ties up Capital. In addition to your down payment, your initial cash outlay includes a building appraisal and inspection fees, closing costs and possible repair expenses. Often, those costs are difficult to budget ahead of time.
  • You are the Landlord. You are responsible for ongoing repairs, maintenance, property taxes and all operating expenses.
  • Capital Loss. If you haven’t chosen your location wisely, your property may actually decrease in value.
  • Longer Terms. Mortgage contracts generally range from 15 to 30 years.
  • Legal Risks. Being the owner, you are responsible for the safety and security of your customers as well as anyone who sublets space from you.

Cons to Leasing

  • Expensive. A rental lease comes with a security deposit, payment of the first month’s rent in advance, pre-lease inspection and a utilities security deposit. Depending on your location, there may also be an advance payment for the shopping center’s or strip mall’s operating expenses and property taxes. Rental rates rarely decrease.
  • Possible Surprises. Leasing gives you no control over the building or the landlord. Selling the property, raising rates or forcing you to move are always possibilities.
  • Zero Equity. There’s no additional income potential.

Making the final decision on your consignment store property

There’s a lot to consider when deciding between buying or leasing. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll still have store expenses such as insurance, salaries, utilities, display fixtures, hardware, software, labels, signage, etc. Consider these factors when choosing:

  • How long you’ve been in business. If you are just launching your consignment or resale shop, it’s best to leave some room for growth. Leasing can usually provide that room better than purchasing. Sign up for our Getting Started Success Kit if you’re just starting out. It’s filled with great ideas for opening a consignment business. A well-established consignment shop that has no expansion plans is in a good position to buy their property.
  • Growth Opportunities. When leasing, look for a building that allows for expansion opportunities if your business takes off. If it is within your financial means and expertise, consider buying a building that offers more space than you need. You can rent out the extra space, helping you diversify your income streams.
  • Your vision for your business. Know the direction you want to take your business upfront. If you’re opening your shop while your kids are still at home, but plan to close after they’ve moved out, by all means rent. If this is a career move for a long-term business, consider buying.
  • Stability vs. Flexibility. Which is more important to you? A mortgage with a set monthly fee can be comforting. However, the freedom to change, plus the additional cash flow offers stress-free flexibility too.
  • The real estate market in your area. Some areas are seeing a real boon in real estate pricing. Knowing whether it’s a bubble waiting to burst or a steady upward trend is difficult. As in housing, you never want to own the most expensive building on the block. Determine the market for your store. Research neighborhoods. Choose your consignment store property based on reaching your target demographic.
  • A cash-flow analysis. Bizfilings offers a great tool to analyze cash flow. Although difficult to determine in a consignment business, it’s still a necessary analysis.

Some final advice

Finally, the wisdom that only Dave Ramsey, the financial guru can provide, “…put your business on solid ground, slowly and steadily. Lease your space and use your money to reinvest in your business. Make it grow. Once your business is really rocking, you can consider getting into the real estate business.”

8 Consignment Fees To Boost Your Bottom Line

Updated on 4/12/2021

Adding consignment fees will make a difference

A wise consignment shop owner sees the value in covering their costs with added consignment fees. Many times, adding various fees is the difference between being in the black or in the dreaded red. Never be uncomfortable with the idea of added fees. As long as you openly and honestly state how you use them in your consignment agreement, everyone will accept them. Your business belongs to you, not your consignors or customers. After all, adding consignment fees is merely part of smart business ownership.

The following are fees SimpleConsign provides. Check with your software provider to see what they offer.

1.) Buyer’s Fee

Let’s face it, overhead is costly. You need to recoup some of those expenses. This fee is added on and paid by the customer at the time of sale. A Buyer’s Fee is set either by a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage. You determine how much you want to add. Let’s say you decide all merchandise priced between $20 and $50 will receive a $1 Buyer’s Fee. A new item is entered in the system for $20. This is the price the consignor sees and the price your reports show. However, when the item is tagged and placed on the sales floor, it shows a price of $21. If your consignor split is 50%, the consignor receives $10 and you receive $10, plus the $1 Buyer’s Fee.

2.) Item Fee

Consignors have the privilege of selling their items in your shop vs. having strangers trudge through their homes. When floor space is at a premium, you need to add a fee for taking up that space. Unlike the Buyer’s Fee however, an Item Fee is taken off the consignor split. Once again, you set the Item Fee range. Let’s say you want to add a $0.50 fee to every item sold in your shop. A new item is entered into the system and tagged for $20. If your shop has a 50-50 split, the consignor would receive $9.50 and the shop would receive $9.50, plus the additional $0.50 fee at the time of sale.

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3.) Credit Card Processing Fee (%)

Shops no longer need to “eat” credit card processing fees simply because it’s the “price of doing business.” SimpleConsign especially wants to help our customers recover some of these costs. A percentage is set by the shop owner and taken from every credit card transaction. Let’s say you have set a 3% fee. A customer makes a purchase of $100 and uses their credit card to pay. The 3% fee of $3 is automatically removed off the top of the purchase leaving $97 as the amount to be split. If your shop has a 50-50 split, the consignor would receive $48.50 and the shop would receive $48.50. Essentially, both the consignor and the shop are sharing in the “price of doing business.” It then becomes a true 50-50 split.

4.) Check Fee

It’s the little things that add up. When you are printing and mailing individual checks to consignors, you can easily spend $0.50 to $1.55 depending on the number of consignors you pay out. This isn’t an area where you want to make money. Recoup at least some of that cost with a nominal check fee. The fee will be deducted from a consignor’s account when it’s time to send the payout check.

5.) Consignor Access Fee

Many consignment shops offer their consignors online access to view their accounts. Consignor access saves time for the busy shop owner who can’t constantly answer calls or emails from consignors wanting to know if their items sold. When offering this special feature, why not also charge for the privilege? A Consignor Access Fee is charged the last day of the month to all consignors that have had at least one item on consignment for that month. You determine the fee and with SimpleConsign, you also determine how much information you want the consignor to see in their account. If you set the fee for $1 and have 200 active consignors for that month, you will automatically add $200 to your bottom line.

6.) Online Transaction Fee

As the Consignment industry continues to venture more and more into the realm of online sales, SimpleConsign offers a fee for all online transactions. Combined with the SimpleConsign Shopify Plugin that allows for stores to seamlessly sell online, this fee allows for the transition to be effortless and more importantly, painless. Often times stores have to spend more time preparing online items to ship, this fee helps a shop mitigate the costs.

7.) Monthly Fee

This is a fee that works differently than Consignor Access fees. It’s a fee that unlike the Consignor Access fee, charges regardless of a consignor having active inventory/consignor access permissions. If a store rents out space, such as a vendor mall, this is the perfect tool for that store. This can also be used as a way to add a premium price to be a consignor at your store.

8.) ACH Payout/SimplePay Fee

This works exactly the same as a check fee, except quicker and without the headache of printing checks. Often times ACH payments have a cost attached, and while most stores see that cost as a necessary measure to save time, and just eat the charge, some feel as though this is a luxury to their consignors. For people in the latter group, the ACH Payout fee allows for a shop owner to charge their consignor for the “luxury” of being able to paid out effortlessly.

consignment fees that will boost your bottom lineBeing honest

As you can see, consignment fees can make an incredible difference. If you aren’t using them but want to add them, start by drafting a new consignment agreement. Add a line to your contract stating how the consignment fees will be added or subtracted from a consignor’s account. Make sure they understand clearly who is responsible for paying the fees. Auntie Kate, in her book Too Good To Be Threw writes, “Do not delineate exactly what amount this fee is, so you have the flexibility of raising or lowering it in the future. But if a consignor asks, tell. It’s easiest to say something general like ‘It ranges from fifty cents to five dollars depending on the price, but mostly it’s fifty cents or a dollar.'”

7 harsh realities of not having a consignment POS system

Your consignment POS system can make or break you

A couple of years ago, our son moved into an apartment of his own. Since he was about 700 miles away, I wasn’t able to pawn off old dishes, furniture and towels. He needed to start fresh. So, we headed to a furniture consignment store close to him. It was huge. Shoppers wandered everywhere. He found a couch and TV table. I found a great picture. At the sales counter, the young woman took out a Sales Receipt Book to total up our purchases. Unfortunately, she made a mistake. She scratched through the final price and made the corrections which we could barely read. I mentioned SimpleConsign, but the boss was “old school” and didn’t want a Point-Of-Sale system. I think that will change when his son takes over the business. Nowadays, a consignment POS system is not only convenient, it’s essential. Here are 7 reasons why.

1.) Can you guarantee accuracy?

Any shop owner that invests in a consignment POS system, printers and barcode scanners is automatically assured of accuracy at the time of sale. There are no “fat finger” mistakes. Scan the barcode on the tag and the information is immediately entered into the system. You can keep track of daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly sales knowing the figures are correct. Checkout is faster, reliable and you can even give a printed receipt. Plus, as one industry leader reminded me, your customers and consignors can rest easy knowing you’re charging the right amount.

2.) Are you able to track inventory?

A good consignment POS system will provide you with a ton of reports to track your inventory, consignors and customers. With SimpleConsign, you can easily see sales statistics, track trends and view either automated and/or customized reports. Conveniently separate new and used inventory, plus distinguish between consigned and store-owned. Use the data you receive to determine which brands are most popular and which consignors bring in the best merchandise.

Instead of writing everything by hand, invest in a consignment POS system3.) Would you like to speed up checkout?

With the advent of the internet, our world is spinning faster. Shoppers are impatient. I’ve even received a sigh of frustration for writing a check in the checkout line. If you can speed up the process, do it. A consignment POS system offers faster and more efficient transactions.

4.) Is theft something you’re currently dealing with?

It’s the sad reality of owning a business. Theft. Whether it’s employees or customers, consignment shops are particularly vulnerable to theft. Why? Without a consignment POS system, you can’t accurately track your intake process, a consignor’s individual account or a given employee’s sales. Many an employee theft has been discovered because of SimpleConsign’s system. Plus, employees who know inventory is being tracked are less likely to help themselves.

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5.) Would you like to earn money without adding customers or inventory?

The cost of doing business is higher than ever and only going to go up. With SimpleConsign, you can easily share credit card processing fees, add buyer’s or item fees, plus charge consignor access fees. You set them up and we’ll take care of the rest.

6.) Could you use a little more time?

A business owner’s productivity automatically increases with a consignment POS system. The tedious job of adding information to spread sheets is over. Even your CPA will have more time. Plus, choosing a web based system means you can access all of your information from anywhere you can access the internet. Need to be home with the kids? No problem. Taking a much-needed vacation? Log in and see what’s happening at the store. Details like knowing how much money is in the cash drawer is available to you at any given time.

7.) Are you easily marketing to your customers?

Again, the data that is available to you in a consignment POS system is invaluable. Enter a customer’s name, address, phone and email quickly. You can even add special notes about their preferences, purchases and personality quirks. Then, take that information and segment your list for more personal emails.


Once you’ve chosen a system, be sure to use it to its fullest. Otherwise, you only have a glorified cash register. Make sure you get all of the features that are important for running your store. If not, you’ll have to create work-arounds. You will also want to choose a system that is capable of growing with you. Be sure your staff is fully trained and remember, with SimpleConsign, training is on the house. Read 13 questions to ask before buying consignment software.

How to make your consignment intake policy rock solid

This article has been updated from a previous article posted 8/14

Make your consignment intake policy as clear as possible

In your eagerness to build inventory, it’s tempting to accept every item that a consignor brings to your store. Be selective about the merchandise you accept. Don’t end up with a cluttered showroom and stagnant inventory. Both of these will drive away customers. It’s crucial to create a rock solid consignment intake policy. The merchandise you accept, determines your success.

Where to begin

Everything begins with your store’s branding. Who are you?  You need a complete understanding of your local market, potential customer base and competition to determine the merchandise you offer. Remember, you are your store’s brand. Is it time to do a little re-branding? Read Get back on track by re-branding your consignment store. Determine the type of store you are. Then, you’ll know the items you need to accept. Bear in mind, your consignment intake policy doesn’t require legal mumbo jumbo to be considered a legal and binding contract. Make your policies and your consignor contract as easy as possible for all parties to understand and put everything in writing.

Reviewing merchandise

No two consignment shops are exactly alike which increases the thrill of the hunt for the shopper. That being said, there are no industry standards for a merchandise intake procedure. The process can be handled in a number of different ways.

a.) Limit Items Many consignment stores place a limit on the number of items they accept from each consignor. Between 15 and 30 items is a reasonable number. Read Come with me to the Twilight Zone of inventory management to learn the dangers of too much inventory.

b.) Drop & Run  This consignment intake policy allows the consignor to leave their items giving the shop a longer time to review and price. Setting an item limit with this system is also helpful. Order a packet from Too Good To be Threw to promote this policy here.

c.) Designate a Time and Person Establishing a set appointment to meet with a particular salesperson is another way of streamlining your review of items. This method is excellent for high-end stores with extremely curated inventory.

d.) Concierge Service Again, this process requires an appointment. Review merchandise at the consignor’s home and accept only what appeals to your customers.

Regardless of your procedure, be clear about whether you require designer labels, trendy styles or seasonal merchandise. State if you’re looking for particular sizes or items for a specific gender or age group. Above all, explain to consignors that your customers drive your guidelines. Therefore, you must be particular about the items you accept.

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The consignment period and terms

If you have implemented a sliding scale program, let consignors know up front. One model may look like this: “The consignment period lasts 90 days, with a 25 percent markdown after 30 days and a 50 percent discount after 60 days.” This is also the place to note your pickup and donation policy of unsold items.

Clearly state your consignment terms. A 60/40 store split is the most common. However, there can be exceptions to the rule for more expensive or truly rare items. Read How to write Consignor Contracts aka don’t get bats in your bathroom for more information. Some consignment shops add an Item or Buyer’s Fee which they either do or don’t disclose to their consignors. With Memo Pricing, a set price is established ahead of the item reaching the sales floor. Easily add these fees in your POS system like SimpleConsign.

Instructions for bringing items

Don't let this be your consignment intake processClothes should be brought in on hangers. This allows you to quickly inspect the garments. Outline your expectations that items must be free of tears, stains, missing buttons and odors. Be sure to outline in your acceptance policy what you won’t accept too.

For furniture stores, give clear guidelines for when and where items can be received. State your terms clearly if you offer a pickup service. If you only accept items based on photos submitted first, make sure prospective consignors understand the rules.

Require an ID

Although it rarely happens, you must protect your business from selling stolen items. Along with extensive contact information, including home and cell phone numbers, mailing address and email address, you should also photocopy the consignor’s driver license or other form of ID. Finally, get a signature on everything. This will help to make your acceptance policy as airtight as possible.

Consignment Store Design That Gets Those Shoppers Buying!

A Few Changes To Your Consignment Store Design Can Make All The Difference

A fresh look. Sometimes that’s all it takes. By making a few quick changes to your consignment store design, you could increase sales.

Minimalism Should Be A Resale Trend

Often resale and consignment store design errs on the side of cluttered and overwhelming. Because you receive one of every item, displays tend to look jumbled and disorganized. People’s lives are filled with noise and distraction. Don’t overload their senses with your consignment store design. Group merchandise by color, style or category to simplify the overall look of your store. To make items appear more exclusive and curated, limit merchandise on racks and shelves. Make sure there’s plenty of room within the aisles. Read Avoid the “butt-brush” effect with these store layout designs.

Signage Needs To Talk

Barbara Crowhurst from Retail Makeover asks a key question, “Can prospective customers look at your store’s signage and tell exactly what you sell?” She added that changing the name of your shop isn’t what’s necessary. If shoppers can’t tell what you sell by your name, add a 5 – 7 word tagline that quickly identifies you. Never write signs by hand. Don’t make some signs in color and others in black and white. Be sure your signage is consistent on the inside and outside of your store. Read How to make the most of your signage – Infographic.

Shopping Involves All 5 Senses

It’s one thing to minimize inventory and easily guide shoppers through your store. Are you engaging all 5 of their senses in the shopping experience? Just as grocery stores use brightly colored produce in the front of their stores, you need to engage shoppers through pops of color and special lighting. Use a simple, familiar scent that matches your store’s surroundings and branding. Play ambient music geared to your target demographic to keep them in the store longer. Plus, brick & mortar stores survive because they let shoppers easily touch items. Whenever possible, let your customers enjoy a treat from you too.

Lighting Is The #1 Sales Influencer

Successful consignment store design includes dramatic lightingWant to make more sales? Improve your store lighting:

  • Illuminate every corner of your shop
  • Create focal points. Repsly encourages use of incandescent lamps because “they’re sharper and brighter.” Dim the areas around the merchandise you’re highlighting to focus attention. If you’re using colored lights, “match the colors of your packaging or product to a light in the same color family.”
  • Light each shelf carefully
  • Brighten your cash wrap
  • Pay particular attention to your front window. A dedicated light track is perfect for drawing attention to your displays.

A Hidden Branding Spot

​Don’t let the wall behind your cash counter be underutilized. Change the color of the wall to draw greater attention. If you’re renting, add color by buying canvasses or canvas drop cloths from your local discount or dollar store and paint them the latest popular color. For better branding, enlarge your logo image and place it on the wall behind your POS. Read 13 ways to improve your consignment shop cash wrap. Use this area as a focal point for impulse buying or marketing purposes. Most importantly, the register should never be a place for the staff to “just hang out.”

Be Sure To Look Up And Down

Believe it or not, your floor and ceiling speak volumes about the safety of your shop and your professionalism. Is your carpet worn and dirty? Does it lay flat? Is the ceiling clean and fresh or are you missing ceiling tiles? If so, negotiations with the landlord are a must for your success. Read 3 steps to avoid “Consignment Tunnel Vision.”

For more design tips:

How To Design Your Resale Store To Attract The Next Generation
6 Quick And Easy Changes That Will Improve Store Design
Choose One Of These 4 Store Layout Designs