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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Back to school is an expensive time; it all adds up quickly from buying school supplies, clothes, or even dorm decor for your college students. Your store can provide customers great merchandise for a reasonable price. This year is significant because, according to the NRF, families plan to spend an average of $848.90 on school items, which is $59 more than 2020. Use this time to bring customers in for back-to-school consignment shopping and save them a huge chunk of money.
Tax-free weekends are an excellent way to save even more money than your customers are already saving by choosing consignment. Make sure your customers know you will be participating. Here are the 2021 tax-free weekends.
Start by gathering the merchandise that seems fitting for back-to-school time. People love the convenience of knowing exactly where to go, notice how big stores do this for back-to-school and every other important time in retail. Once you have all your merchandise gathered, start figuring out what items should have sales—for example, a discount on jeans.
If your store sells furniture or decor, college students are your main target during this time. Market directly to that audience using your social media accounts and emailing customers. You can also reach out to the institutions, news, or any local way to reach that audience. You can also create a section dedicated to students or discount items students need, such as desks, organizers, chairs, etc.
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It’s important to have a good consignment acceptance policy to have a successful store. When you accept any item from a consignor, your store isn’t represented well. Instead, it’s better to be particular. Select your items carefully to not drive away customers with a cluttered and stale inventory.
Make your policy something that you are comfortable with and can be easily translated. Keep in mind your store’s mission. Declare what your store will sell: size, gender, age group, designer, seasonal, etc.
Here are some ways you can manage the items you accept:
Your consignors should know your split, such as 60/40. Some stores also choose to have exceptions for items that are more expensive or are more valuable. This can encourage your consignors to bring those items as they can make more money from them. You can also add a Buyer’s Fee that will influence their total.
If you are doing a sliding scale program, you have to be sure you’re communicating with your consignors. You can come up with models for the terms, which can all look different. One example is a consignment period that lasts 90 days, with a 25 percent markdown after 30 days and a 50 percent discount after 60 days. On top of that, declare the store split.
I’m sure there are things that consignors do that bother you. Set some expectations for them to follow. Take time to think about some expectations that can eliminate difficulties. Some expectations can be related to obvious things such as tears, rips, stains, missing pieces, scent, etc. Or whether you prefer items to be brought in hangers, organized in a way that makes sense, etc. As well as not allowing certain items. These can help you develop a list of items you won’t accept and weed out those terrible items you don’t need to dig through.
Consignor Access will come in handy for communicating anything with your consignors, but especially your terms. Using consignor access, your consignors can have direct access to the agreement they signed. Not only that, but depending on what rights you give them, they can be up to date on what’s going on in-store with their items. Consignor Access is also good for your own peace of mind. You can easily communicate with your consignors this way. Using Consignor Access will make it easier to work on your consignment acceptance policy since you’ll have the perfect way to communicate that.
As a side note, you need personal information from your consignors. Require a driver’s license, contact information, mail, and email address.
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There’s plenty of ways to make money from your consignment fees or even have certain features pay for themselves. There’s a lot of opportunities to make money from your features. You just have to know the consignment fees and how to use them.
Consignor Access allows consignors to have online access to their accounts. You decide the information they see. Consignor Access will help you have easy communication with your consignors and keep them updated. Since this is something extra you offer for the convenience of your consignors, you should charge them a fee. Your consignors who had at least one item would be charged on the last day of the month. It’s easy to make a good amount of extra money just by charging each consignor $1.
If you are paying your consignors with checks, you really should be charging them a fee. It’s a great opportunity to charge a fee since checks aren’t free. This wouldn’t make you more money, but it would cover the cost of your checks, which can add up really quickly. The consignor will be charged at the time of sending the payout check.
If you’re already charging for checks, you might as well charge for ACH payouts or SimplePay. You are already paying for this feature, and if you charge your consignors, instead of eating the cost, use this as another opportunity to use consignment fees.
A credit card processing fee only makes sense, considering you are already paying a fee for that. Reimburse your business by adding a certain percentage to earn for every credit card transaction.
A buyer’s fee can be either a fixed dollar amount or a percentage. The marked price would show the total amount, including the buyer’s fee, but the system will say the price excluding the buyer’s fee. The consignor would then get their part which depends on what the system says. For example, if an item is priced at $10 and you charge a $1 buyer’s fee, the price tag will say $11, but you keep the extra dollar with the store split when they check out.
An item fee works similarly. The item fee is taken out of the consignor’s split after an item sells. If you price an item at $10 and the split is 50/50, and you have a $1 item fee, the store receives $5 the consignor gets $5 minus the $1 item fee.
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Being a small business owner is a lot of pressure. It can feel overwhelming, and when not managed correctly, it can lead to failure. This is our advice on avoiding failing as a consignment shop owner after seeing many successful and unsuccessful stores.
Owning a business is hard enough, don’t add more pressure by doing all the jobs. Having too much on your plate will cause you to become too busy, and you’ll lose sight of your vision. To avoid this, you can do two easy things. Hire someone to help take some tasks off your hands. You can also get a POS system to track your sales to help you run your business the best you can.
Location is everything, as any realtor can tell you that. Although a more affordable location seems like the obvious choice, you may end up regretting that decision. An inconvenient location means missing out on the money you could be making at a better location. Even though a good location is more expensive, the money, you make balances out.
To run a successful small business, you need an understanding of the financial side of things. If this isn’t your area of expertise, you can hire someone to handle it for you. It’s wise to handle your finances accordingly to avoid failing.
As the store owner, your responsibility is to build the perfect team to take care of your store and its customers. If you create a team, you can trust you can spend more time on your other priorities, such as family and friends. It is even easier to leave your shop when you still feel connected. Using the right POS system, you can stay connected to your shop at all times so that even when you’re not there, you know how things are going.
Finding the right merchandise to fill your store with takes some time. Using a POS system, you can track over time how well certain items do. Once you learn what your audience likes, you can specifically pick out items you know will do well.
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If your consignment store isn’t doing as well as you think it should, there are some consignment store mistakes you might be making. Here’s a few of them.
Choosing the right location can be tricky. You don’t want to pay too much, but it may be a location that affects your business if you go with a cheaper option. It’s natural to think about price at first, but really you should focus on the surrounding areas. Is parking easy or convenient? Are there successful businesses nearby? Asking these questions will give you a good idea about whether that is a good location for your store or not.
Now you have a great location, and customers are coming in, but your merchandise is what will seal the deal. It can be hard to figure merchandise out, but it takes a little bit of experimenting before you perfect this skill. First of all, you need the right amount. Remember, quality over quantity. A store that looks empty doesn’t represent your shop well, but a store with too many items will also drive away customers. Customers don’t want to step into unorganized chaos. They want shopping to be straightforward. Second, you have to get the right merchandise. This is where you have to experiment a little. Using SimpleConsign, you can track the progress of your sales to see what is selling best. This information will tell you what your audience wants from you. It may take a while, but it will help you in the long run.
Now that you have the perfect location and merchandise, the next step is price. Your items have to be reasonably priced, or your customers won’t see a reason to come into your store as often. Your prices should have them feeling good about their purchase. The general rule for consignment is to price an item 30% less than the original retail price. This goes for any item, used or not. Another general rule is to end the price with a 9.
A written policy for your consignors is vital for clear communication. Make sure your consignors know when and how they will get paid. They should also know how long an item will be on the sales floor before the price goes down and the protocol if an item doesn’t sell within a certain amount of time. Create an intake sheet that your consignors have to sign, meaning they have read and agreed. Your policies should be understood by your employees as well.
Lastly, while opening a consignment store is a fun adventure, you have to be practical. You have to save a lot of money and come up with a good business plan. You may be great at one aspect of the business, but you’re not or the other way around when it comes to finances. If this is the case, get some help from an outside resource to ensure your business is successful. A good business plan and being smart about finances are essential to run a good business.
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Do you have too much clutter in your store? It’s time to use your creativity to get rid of those items that have been around for too long. Using our consignment inventory reduction strategies you can clean out your shop and make some customers very happy.
If you don’t want to have a sale but you want to get rid of some items, give your shop a makeover. This tactic is one many stores use as I’m sure you’ve noticed. It helps customers become lost leading them to find new areas they never knew existed. So take a look at your store and find a way to make a new, more efficient layout. It’ll also give you and your employees something different to look at.
Get some bags and sell them for a set price, anything the customers can fit into the bag is theirs for that set price. Depending on how far you want to go, this can be a marketing opportunity. Get some bags with your store’s name or logo on them and your customers will do some free marketing for you.
This is similar to the bag sale but in this case, they don’t know what they’re getting. Gather the items that won’t sell along with some better items and sell them in a bag or box for a set price.
If you take a look at National Today you’ll see we have a lot of holidays. If you’re feeling festive, find a random holiday you want to celebrate and have a sale.
Give your loyal customers a sale! If you have an email list, send them a specific sale graphic that only they have access to. Use whatever form of communication you have with your customers to give them a special sale.
Find a day of the week to have a sale, similar to how restaurants have deals on certain days of the week. Customers enjoy repetitiveness because it makes it easy to keep track of. Look at your stats and find your busiest day of the week, this may be the best day.
For any type of store, clothing, furniture, etc, you can gather items that go well together to give your customers inspiration. A difficult part of the shopping experience in a resale or consignment store is not having the creativity to see the potential of certain items since typical chain stores will have styles that go well together. Fix this problem for your customers by creating scenes for them that they will feel they need in their life.
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