How to improve your resale shop’s inventory with 1 word, okay maybe 2

November 30, 2017

Improving your resale shop’s inventory is an ongoing mission

Are you frustrated that your resale shop’s inventory isn’t moving as quickly as you’d like? Is your “Clearance” section larger than it should be? Does your backroom literally look like someone dumped a big pile of merchandise in the middle of the floor and ran? There’s one word, well actually two, that can change all of that.

Word 1:  Planning

One word can change the state of your resale shop’s inventory…planning. A lot of consignment and buy outright shops focus strictly on acquiring. Concerned about whether they have enough inventory, they accept everything. Your shop needs a definite monthly, seasonal or even annual plan. Successful inventory management requires planning.  However, when you’re relying on others to create your inventory, how can you possibly plan?

     A. Study your market

Keep your target market always in the forefront of your inventory intake. Now’s the time to dig into all of that sales data you have available. What were your top sellers in 2017? Who were your top consignors? Use your sales data to determine the exact type and quality of items you’ll accept for the coming year.

     B. Tally merchandise requests

Regularly communicate with your entire staff about your merchandise. Salespeople should keep detailed notes on the items shoppers ask for. Tally customer requests and review them with everyone. Communication between those on the sales floor and those handling intake is essential.

     C. Plan according to your geographical location

Plan merchandise intake according to your store’s geographical location and change in seasons. Clearly state when your store begins and ends accepting items for each season. Factor in the time it takes to physically replace one season’s inventory with another.

     D. Get customer feedback

Chat regularly with customers to be sure you’re offering what they want. Pay attention to how many shoppers walk out empty handed. If a large number of potential customers leave without buying, it’s time to start asking questions. Find out what your best customers like about your store and merchandise.

Your resale shop's inventory needs planning and organizationWord 2: Organize

In a recent NARTS Facebook discussion, some consignment shops were surprised by the amount of inventory that had been coming through the door. Many store owners remarked about intake growing so rapidly, they didn’t know what to do. Should they take it all? The advice given was, yes accept it all, if you…organize. The goal is to be a place where people can “empty their closets.” Choose how you organize your merchandise wisely. Whether you arrange additional items on shelving, in clear plastic boxes or even in a separate storage unit, make sure everything is clearly marked and accessible. Resist the temptation to create “Mrs. Flinger’s Room.” (A room where you open the door and fling items in to get them out of the way.) Disorganization can bury you quickly.


Need more information on planning and organizing your resale shop’s inventory? Then, Come with me to the Twilight Zone of inventory management.


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