Consignment marketing on a tight budget
April 3, 2015
Squeeze just a little bit more out of your consignment marketing budget
1.) Capitalize first on your loyal customers
You already have a captive audience. They love you, love your merchandise and are eager to tell others. Give them a reason to do so. Set up a killer referral offer that they can’t resist. Or, offer a free item, a free service or membership in a special group that receives exclusive offers. These will do wonders for boosting new customers and making those existing customers feel special. A segmented email list for only your top customers and special hand-written invitations are all you need to add to your consignment marketing.
2.) Host an event or a class
Plan something that will identify you as a leader in a particular area. For furniture consignment shops, feature a furniture painting or a dorm decorating class. For clothing, a Summer accessory fashion show, a how-to-pack-for-a-vacation seminar or an event that promotes local talent will draw a loyal crowd. Print flyers and post them in libraries, coffee shops, schools, etc. Often you can’t post shop advertising, but you can promote a fun event. Consider making it a charitable event and you will have an even greater outlet for marketing opportunities.
3,) Start a blog
If you or someone in your shop has a knack for writing, start a weekly design blog. Post it on your website and Facebook page to get added signups. Make sure your content is relevant and personal. Think about top 10 lists, how-to or instructional posts and funny behind the scenes stories. By all means add photos. Marketing today is all about images and consignment marketing isn’t any different. For tips on merchandise photography, take a look at 10 Merchandise Photography Tips.
4.) Creative business cards
Whether it’s time to reprint business cards or not, why not make yours multi-functional? Vistaprint offers cards for as little as $16 for 100. Be sure to add your Twitter handle and a QR code for a coupon that brings them back to your shop. Or, use them as punch cards for purchases and give them a new card when they fill one up. Hand the cards out to everyone, everywhere.
5.) Stock an effective loss leader
Use the same tactic retailers do. If you have a popular item that you know your customers want, offer it at a deep discount to get them in the door. Or, if you have an abundance of particular merchandise that isn’t moving, let your shoppers know it’s a one-time special deep discount. Often, shoppers will spend much more than what you offered for a special sale. Consignment marketing shouldn’t be about the cheapest merchandise at the cheapest price, but the best price on the best merchandise.
6.) Employ urban marketing tactics
This type of marketing is also called Guerrilla Marketing. Take it to the streets. Buy a box of sidewalk chalk and decorate the side of your building, your parking lot, a chalk sandwich board or the entrance in front of your shop. Add your Twitter handle and make it a contest to find a hidden part of the drawing. Be sure and take pictures so you can post them on Facebook. If you’re bold, try putting together a flash mob and head downtown to show off your latest vintage 60’s fashions while dancing to the Monkees.
7.) Build partnerships
If you’re a clothing store, at the very least you should have a partnership with a dry cleaner, hair and nail salon or a local tearoom. If you consign furniture, consider partnering with a local moving company, cleaning company or interior design firm. Cross promoting each other can work wonders for building referrals. Again, your only investment for this type of consignment marketing would be the cards or flyers you have printed.
I have been a writer for various forms of marketing for over 40 years. I've written my share of radio and TV scripts, magazine and newspaper ads as well as direct mail brochures and newsletters. Currently, as the Marketing Coordinator for Traxia, home of SimpleConsign software, I've moved into blog posts, eBooks and website text. It's been an ever changing and ever challenging journey but I've loved it all along the way.
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