With only 1 Saturday left for shopping, you need to make the most of every opportunity. Double up on social media, customer service, and merchandising. Here’s a quick recap of what you should be doing during this last week of a very short resale shopping season.
What’s the one thing shoppers can’t get at a big box store? Personal service. In my 4th Quarter Marketing Tips, I encourage store owners to concentrate on the customer. Shopping mayhem and employee weariness get in the way of phenomenal customer service. Make sure this is still your focus. Encourage your employees to keep smiles on their faces. Remember, even a small gift like pastries in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, or even just a hand-written thank you note can go a long way to cheer up your staff. If not already, be an active participant on your sales floor. Go the extra mile.
Hashtags are the perfect way to get in front of shoppers during this short resale shopping season. Create your own store hashtag as well, this allows for all your posts to be found in one place and can encourage your customers to use it. You can create multiple hashtags with different purposes, such as a hashtag for your sales. Using trending hashtags is an excellent way to gain more followers, this is because Instagram allows you to follow hashtags. Not only do they do that, but they also let the user know when they have liked multiple pictures with the same hashtag to encourage them to follow the hashtag. Finding popular hashtags is the key to growing an Instagram following, here are some popular holiday hashtags.
Your store needs to be spotless during this season. Assign the task of checking on dressing rooms, clearing your cash wrap, and maintaining the racks and shelving throughout the day. Part of excellent customer service includes the organization and look of your store.
Even though this is your busiest season, it’s still the best time to add contact information for new customers. With SimpleConsign, a cashier can add a new customer directly from the Checkout Tab. Every cashier should be asking if a customer wishes to receive notices about special events and sales to gain contact information.
Billions are lost each year to shoplifting. Stay vigilant. Post signs that say “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted.” Remind your salespeople what your procedure is when a shoplifter is suspected.
If you enjoyed reading this, here are more holiday ideas.
Did you see the article from Bloomberg? The headline reads, “Used Stuff Is the Next Big Trend in Christmas Shopping.” Now, that’s exciting! Tell your shoppers this holiday to make it a consignment Christmas. Here are a few ideas.
The stress is building. The longer a shopper’s list and the less shopping days available equals panic. With only a few weeks of shopping left, invite shoppers to bring you their list. Use your website and social media to stress the quantity and quality of unique, one-of-a-kind gifts when shoppers make it a consignment Christmas.
Getting the right gift during the holidays is foremost in every shopper’s mind. When you add in the possibility of giving a unique, luxury gift for less, the bargain is even better! Consider marking down your seasonal items the week of December 9. As Whizbang Training suggests, “take a smaller markdown now (maybe 25% or 30%) when people are actually buying rather than the massive markdown you’ll need to move it after Christmas (50+%).” Furthermore, add a price point table such as “All Gifts On This Table Under $20.” Have a variety of items for men, women and children. Print attractive signs, but don’t tape them to the table! Purchase sign holders. Make sure you have a variety of last-minute stocking stuffer items too. Remember, stocking stuffers don’t have to be cheap. They just have to be small.
It goes without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway… keep your shop and your staff merry and bright. By this point, your holiday planning is finished. Now, it’s time to focus on selling. Motivate your sales team. Remind them of those traits that make a salesperson truly successful. In addition, coach them to cross-sell. Energize your team with a fun contest. Encourage them to wear Santa hats and hand out candy canes. As I stated in our 4th quarter marketing tips, now’s the time to be shopper and consignor focused. Personal service is what sets you apart from the other stores in your area. Friendly, welcoming smiles go a long way right now!
Highlight different merchandise daily on your social media. Stress that only one is available to build a sense of urgency. Ask every shopper to give you an email or sign up for your rewards program. Download a copy of our holiday hashtags. Use them with every post. I’ve added special ones strictly to promote resale. Advertise your uniqueness, your amazing prices and your friendly service. By all means, enjoy this season. When the store owner is happy, the employees, shoppers and consignors are usually happy too!
Hashtags are a thing of the present, if you’re posting on Instagram and not using hashtags you’re doing it wrong. Hashtags have endless benefits such as increasing engagement, joining trending topics, content categorization, and reach new audiences. On Instagram, a lot of hashtags are encouraged, the optimal amount per post is 11. Although the actual max is 30 there is no need to use that many. Now that I have stated the importance of hashtags, here are 15 holiday hashtags for your consignment store:
#thanksgiving (20 million)
#blackfriday (17 million)
#smallbusinessaturday (2 million)
#cybermonday (2 million)
#givingtuesday (1 million)
#holidays (69 million)
#holidayseason (8 million)
#holidayshopping (1 million)
#happyholidays (16 million)
#merrychristmas (50 million)
#happychristmas (2 million)
#christmasgifts (6 million)
#boxingday (2 million)
#happynewyear (47 million)
#nye (10 million)
There are a ton of hashtags you can use, however the ones I rounded up are the biggest hashtags. Use those 15 holiday hashtags for your consignment store this holiday season and add more. Take a look at the hashtags your competitors or other similar stores use to keep track of hashtags that are trending. You can also do your own research, start searching hashtags and see how big they are. Even if they aren’t very popular they can help you reach your audience. There is no harm in trying out new hashtags, explore and play around with them.
If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more.
Accenture’s Annual Holiday Shopping Survey lists family, the environment and gift cards as the top concerns for 2019. As topics like “sustainability” and the “circular economy” become popular, so will consignment store shopping. Be sure to have what this year’s shoppers are looking for.
Brick-and-mortar stores are clearly alive and well. Package theft or “porch piracy” is making consumers wary of ordering online. Accenture’s survey reported 78% of respondents were taking steps to avoid becoming a victim. Luckily for small businesses, in-store shopping is one way to combat theft. Furthermore, a full 54% of shoppers stated browsing through stores gives them gift-giving “inspiration.” Delight every customer who comes through your door with the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas. Remember, there is less than a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Experts anticipate the top holiday shopping day for 2019 will be Shop Small Saturday!
Younger consumers care about the carbon footprint of companies. They want the company they purchase from to be transparent. According to the State of Fashion 2019, almost 90% of Generation Z consumers feel companies need to be concerned about the environment and social issues. The survey reported, “Rental, resale and refurbishment models lengthen the product lifecycle while offering the newness consumers desire.” The most sustainable, transparent and eco-friendly business by far is resale. It’s one more reason consignment store shopping is slated to become bigger than fast fashion by 2028. This holiday season, shout your “sustainability” friendliness. Educate shoppers how resale has been a part of the circular economy from the start.
The acceptance of consignment store shopping is here. Accenture stated, “nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they would consider giving second-hand clothing as gifts, and even more—56%—said they would welcome gifts of this kind for themselves.” As in years past, gift cards and clothing hold top spots for holiday gift-giving. Remember, shoppers (especially Millennials) buy for every member of their family, including their pets. As a result, you’d be wise to add a few pet items for the holidays too. For the kids, offer impulse items such as toys, candy and beauty products for stockings. Consignment store shopping isn’t just for others. The average shopper spends over $100 on themselves during the holidays. Provide plenty of small extras for guilt-free personal shopping.
For other holiday ideas, read:
I have a love/hate relationship with email. Emails eat up my time. Countless marketing blogs appear by the hour, not day. Retail stats flood my inbox. Tricks of the trade are constant. I never know which ones to read. However, I do know email is the fastest form of communication. It’s the easiest to reach a target market and often the most engaging. This holiday, don’t break up with consignment emails.
You know the drill. Add a new consignor, get an email address. Check out a new customer, ask for an email address. There are countless opportunities to collect email addresses. To make sending consignment emails easier, choose an email marketing service. At Traxia, I’ve used 3 different email providers over the years. We started with iContact. If you have less than 500 contacts, you pay only $14 a month. Less if you pay annually. I can’t remember why we made the switch to Constant Contact. They offer a free trial and monthly payments of $20. Just as I was getting used to it, we switched to Mail Chimp. They offer a completely free version. I wish I could tell you one was better than the other. They all have their quirks, but all do a great job of delivering your message.
I saw this idea on Snap Retail and thought I’d share it with you. If you’re struggling with email ideas, here are 9 different topics to talk about.
I have read about, studied, researched, and stressed over subject lines. According to stats, if you don’t grab the reader’s attention within 5-8 seconds, you can forget about it. Here are some email suggestions from a company called SuperOffice.
Happy emailing this holiday season!
If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more.
For several years now, I’ve put together a 4th quarter consignment marketing plan to keep you on track for this important season. I’ve updated it for 2019. This year I’ve added special hashtags and made suggestions for specific dates. The following is the beginning of your 16-week consignment marketing plan. Be sure to print off copies now and review them with your staff.
Inventory reduction/ National Gratitude Day
By now, your store should be filled with Fall decor. Clear out all summer, back-to-school, and any other merchandise that’s now seasonally outdated. Read 17 brilliant ideas for consignment inventory reduction. Once Labor Day is over, fall has arrived. Sit down with the calendar in hand and your staff. Map out your strategy for the 4th quarter. Plan to participate in any special fall festivals happening in your community. Especially promote local school events as much as possible. Use national as well as local hashtags to build recognition for your store. Consider celebrating #GratitudeDay on Saturday, September 21. Treat your customers and staff to a special day of thanks! Set out a plate of cookies; offer additional reward points, take photos of customers, and post them on Instagram with a “We’re grateful for you!” message.
There are 7 weeks until Halloween. Your windows and shop interior are completely decorated with fall colors and Halloween merchandise. Planning should be underway if you’re hosting a Halloween event. Read 5 consignment store Halloween Ideas to Draw Shoppers in. Your consignment marketing plan should include a special event. Consider a “Trick or Treats for Grownups” evening, a Halloween coloring page contest for the kids, or a photo contest featuring costumes or home decor created with items from your shop. Remember, user-generated content makes the biggest impact. Encourage participants to post or tweet photos using your store’s special #hashtag and #Halloween19. By now, I’m sure you’ve been brainstorming for this year’s Christmas theme. Think outside the box rather than just a simple red and green decor.
First Day of Fall/Shop Small
Autumn officially begins on Monday, September 23. Use #FirstDayOfFall, #Fall or #Autumn in all of your promotions. Take this time to review your internal processes as you plan for the holiday shopping season. How can you improve? Read 13 ways to improve your consignment shop cash wrap because slow lines at check out are a killer. What about your intake process? Make sure you’re able to handle the influx of shoppers and the need for seasonal merchandise. When was the last time you took a serious look at your shop? Clean dressing rooms, bathrooms, floors, and windows make a big impression. Sign up now to participate in Shop Small Saturday on Saturday, November 30. Encourage other shops around you to participate. Download their checklist and determine the type of specials you’ll offer on that day.
National Consignment Day
Preparations for your Fall or Halloween event should be finalized. Print flyers to promote your event and hang signs in your front window. Map out your email campaign and all of your social media. Create incentives to bring shoppers back with coupons, additional reward points, or invitations to future events. An excellent opportunity to promote consignment is National Consignment Day. Started by The RealReal, #NationalConsignmentDay is Monday, October 7th. Promote sustainable living and the many benefits of consignment shopping. In addition, watch your inbox for free prepared ads from Traxia to use in your social media. Plus, now’s the time to order gift cards and print gift certificates shoppers can use as Christmas gifts. Order small, holiday impulse-buy items for your register too. Finalize your Christmas theme and window decor ideas. Keep in mind; there are only 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.
Our consignment marketing plan continues. Slip those Halloween event flyers into every shopper’s bag and start emailing customers. Because employees are walking, talking billboards for your store, run a fun employee competition. Let them choose clever costumes they’ll wear during the week of Halloween. Have shoppers vote for their favorite and give a gift card to the winning employee. It’s time to really focus on Christmas and begin advertising and interviewing seasonal help. Read The ultimate guide for hiring the best part-time employees. Bob Negan of WhizBang! offers these tips: “Focus on hiring people who are quick learners … enjoy a fast-paced environment, willing to do any work…and are extremely friendly.” Discuss with other shops the possibility of a shop crawl, sidewalk sale, or treasure hunt during ShopSmall Saturday, November 30. Download your #NationalConsignmentDay ads too!
It’s time to focus on November. The Thanksgiving season is another perfect time for community involvement. Read 5 tips for a Successful Consignment Store Event for some quick planning ideas. Similarly, you generate goodwill by having a canned food drive for your local food bank. On the other hand, a winter coat, hat, and mittens drive are excellent for a homeless shelter. Blankets, towels, and animal toy donations are perfect for your local humane society. In addition, children’s shops could collect toys and clothing for your local pregnancy center’s baby store. Many charities even provide a donation container for you.
Plan for the transition from Halloween to Fall decorating to Christmas decor. How will you change your in-store signage and your front window? Capitalize on any local events such as your town’s football team, homecoming dances, Veteran’s Day parades, or fall festivals. In addition, use this consignment marketing plan to get your shop’s Christmas events on a calendar. List specific events, additional employees, food and beverages, special merchandise, and prizes. Begin formulating your Christmas message. Plan emails and social media posts about upcoming events, special surprises, and extended shopping hours.
This week, take lots of pictures of costumed employees handing out candy and post them on social media. Promote the winner of your in-store costume contest too. Remember, there are only 4 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Begin gathering and storing your Christmas window decor items. It’s time to finalize your Shop Small Saturday and/or Christmas event. Whether you choose a one-time event or something as simple as offering Christmas cookies and hot cider throughout the month, complete your planning. After that, contact a local high school, Girl Scout Troop, or senior citizen group to see if they’ll offer free holiday gift wrapping in return for a charitable donation. Create and print special holiday signage, flyers, and invitations. Arrange for the food you’ll serve at the event.
With bedrock stores like Sears filing for Chapter 11, many others are running scared. Some analysts suggest the rise in online shopping means physical stores will become a thing of the past. However, according to recent reports, over 70% of shoppers still like to see a product in store before they buy it. As a result, retailers are fighting back and changing the way they do business. Consignment stores should too. Here are 7 tips on how to take on your store’s holiday competition and win!
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, wrote an article titled, How should independents prepare for Black Friday? He suggested shops gather items throughout the store that have been there awhile and slash prices. For consignment stores, choose the “I’m-not-sure-my-customers-will-like-it-but-I’ll-consign-it-anyway” items and gather merchandise that has converted to store inventory. Discount those items heavily and add them to a special sale section in the back. If Black Friday shoppers are looking for bargains, you’ll have them.
Black Friday was made for the deal. It’s designed to bring in a crowd with a loss leader and count on them spending more. Instead of emphasizing your merchandise, create an event. MarTechSeries, a marketing tech company, says 60% of consumers are willing to attend a store event, but only 23% have ever been invited. Events are your “secret weapon” against your store’s holiday competition. Consider these dates:
Of course, you can always create your own holiday too. Publicize the event on your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and in-store. Also, assign someone the special task of photographing for additional publicity.
Every person that enters your store is a gift. With the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar will only thrive if they offer what online can’t…personal service. Your shop should look, feel and smell like the holidays. Here’s a few ideas to boost your service and your bottom line.
These days, it’s all about the experience. Create a relaxed atmosphere. Show shoppers how they can get the best without spending the most. Have your sales team read, 10 customer service tips your sales team needs to adopt today.
Nowadays, video is the medium of choice. From Facebook live to short, animated videos, start using them. I wouldn’t watch a video of someone making an Amazon buy, but I would enjoy seeing fun, behind-the scenes antics of your store. If you do furniture consignment, create vignettes with your merchandise and video shoppers enjoying them. Highlight your salespeople and tell a funny fact about each one. Poke fun at the owner or manager. Show a shopper entering the dressing room. Then, cut immediately to her appearing in her new outfit. Make videos that are short, light-hearted and fun. Even something as simple as Ripl, can dramatically increase engagement in your Facebook posts.
Who’s looking for a fun contest idea that draws shoppers into your store and builds your brand? (This is where you raise your hand.) I mentioned ShortStack in an earlier post. Head over and see the many free contest templates they offer. Choose from a quiz, photo contest, giveaway or any of the other templates they provide. As always, add a store-specific hashtag and promote the heck out of it.
You and your employees are ultimately the biggest asset to your consignment business. Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley, quoted her father as once saying, “In business, you sell yourself first, your business second and the product third.” As I shared in, 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, you are your business. Invest in relationships. Take care of yourself and your employees. It will ultimately show on the sales floor. Even the smallest gesture of kindness will reap great rewards. At Vera Bradley, employees receive a $50 bill in their birthday card each year. As the company has grown, the payroll department asked if they could just put extra money in an employee’s paycheck. Baekgaard refused. She feels that cash is more personal and much more tangible. I would agree.
The only way to take on your store’s holiday competition is to face the #1 reason shoppers don’t buy secondhand. They’re uncomfortable buying items previously used by someone else. As one potential customer put it, “All of this belonged to dead people.” To combat that image, make sure your shop is as clean as it can possibly be. Curate your merchandise and purge the junk. Be diligent about the way your store smells. Make it clear, you only accept items that are in perfect condition. If necessary, tie-in with a local dry cleaner. Let customers know your clothing is cleaned and ready to wear. Often, some consignment and resale shops are their own worst enemies. Remember, it isn’t just about your store, it’s about the perception of resale overall. Let’s work together and we can win out over your store’s holiday competition.
For a couple of years now, I’ve put together a 4th quarter holiday marketing calendar to keep you on track for this important season. I’ve updated it for 2018. Be sure to print off a copy to review with your staff. The link is at the bottom of this page.
Inventory reduction. Clear out all summer, back-to-school or any other merchandise that’s now seasonally outdated. Read 17 brilliant ideas for inventory reduction. Once Labor Day is here, so is fall. If you haven’t done it already, sit down with staff and calendar in hand to map out your strategy. Take note of any special fall activities happening in your community. Plan to participate in a Fall Festival, Oktoberfest, local football weekends or any other autumn community event. Build your email list before the holidays hit by placing a sign-up sheet by your register. Read 14 simple ways to build your store’s email list.
Halloween spooktacular. Your windows and shop interior are completely decorated with fall colors and Halloween merchandise. Planning should be under way if you’re hosting a Halloween event. Read 5 Halloween Ideas to Draw Shoppers in. Consider a “Trick or Treats for Grownups” evening; a Halloween coloring page contest for the kids or a photo contest featuring costumes or home decor created with items from your shop. Remember, user-generated content makes the biggest impact. So encourage participants to post, tweet or pin photos of themselves at your events. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself. Check all of your online listings too. Encourage shoppers to leave a review if you feel they had a great experience.
Shop Small. Autumn officially begins on Saturday, September 22. Now’s the time to review your internal processes as you plan for the holiday shopping season. Slow lines at checkout are a killer. How can you improve? Read 13 ways to improve your consignment shop cash wrap. What about your intake process? Make sure you’re able to handle the influx of shoppers as well as the need for seasonal merchandise. When was the last time you took a serious look at your shop? Clean dressing rooms, bathrooms, floors and windows can make a big impression. Sign up now to participate in Shop Small Saturday on Saturday, November 24. Contact the other shops around you to see if they’re participating. Determine the type of specials you’ll offer on that day too.
Mobile marketing. Preparations for your Halloween event should be well under way. Print bag stuffers to promote your event and hang signs in your front window. Map out your email campaign and how you will promote the event on all of your social media. Read Are you sure your business is mobile friendly? Make sure your emails are optimized for viewing on mobile phones. You’ll also want to create incentives to bring shoppers back with coupons, additional rewards points or future events. Consider offering a deal if items are bought before Wednesday, November 22. Order any gift cards or gift certificates shoppers can use as Christmas gifts. Be sure to purchase small, holiday impulse-buy items for your register too. Now’s the time to finalize your Christmas window decor.
Seasonal employees. Our holiday marketing calendar continues. Slip those Halloween event flyers into every shopper’s bag and get your email campaign under way. Because employees are walking, talking billboards for your store, run a fun in-store competition. Let your employees choose clever costumes they’ll wear during the week of Halloween. Have customers secretly vote for their favorite. Offer a gift card to the winner. Now’s the time to also interview for seasonal help. Read The ultimate guide for hiring the best part-time employees. Bob Negan of WhizBang! offers these tips: “Focus on hiring people who are quick learners … who enjoy a fast-paced environment, who are willing to do any kind of work…and who are extremely friendly.” Hopefully, you’re locating other shops in your area who are participating in the Shop Small event. Discuss with them the possibility of a shop crawl, sidewalk sale or treasure hunt.
Showing thanks. It’s time to put Halloween aside and focus on November. The Thanksgiving season is a perfect time for community involvement and generating goodwill. Read 5 tips for a Successful Store Event for some quick planning ideas. Consider having a canned food drive for your local food bank. A winter coat, hat and mittens drive for a homeless shelter. Blankets, towels and animal toy donations are wonderful for your local humane society. Children’s shops could collect toys and clothing for your local pregnancy center’s baby store. Many charities even provide a donation container for you. Arrange to have the organization pick up donations afterwards. Finalize with other shops how you plan to market Shop Small Saturday.
Community involvement. Evaluate what needs to be changed from Halloween to Thanksgiving decor. How will you change your in-store signage and your front window? Can you capitalize on any local events such as your town’s football team, homecoming dances, Veteran’s Day parades or fall festivals? Use this holiday marketing calendar to begin planning your shop’s Christmas event. Outline a calendar for additional employees, food and beverages, special merchandise and prizes. Your exciting and fun Halloween event should take place next week unless you’re actually holding it on Halloween. Begin teasing Christmas with emails about upcoming merchandise, special surprises and extended shopping hours. Read Squeeze more out of your holiday marketing budget.
Christmas promotions. This week, your employees should have fun wearing a variety of costumes, handing out candy and promoting your Halloween event. Take lots of pictures to post on social media. Be prepared to name the winner of your in-store costume contest and post their photo everywhere. Christmas is 8 weeks away. Begin gathering and storing your Christmas window decor items. Read Holiday window displays on a budget. It’s time to determine your Christmas promotions past Black Friday and/or Shop Small Saturday. Whether you choose a one-time event or something as simple as offering Christmas cookies and hot cider throughout the month, start planning. Contact a local high school or senior citizen group to see if they will offer free holiday gift wrapping in return for a charitable donation. If you’re participating in a local Thanksgiving donation drive, create your social media schedule, bag stuffers and signage now.
Sales Training. If your consignment or resale shop is open on Mondays, you may see some last-minute costume shoppers. As far as you’re concerned, Halloween is over and you’re headed full steam ahead to the biggest shopping season of the year. Set up definitive times for sales training for your employees and review policies for such things as shoplifting. Read Be Prepared for Shoplifters. Make sure they’re familiar with the current brands of merchandise you offer and how to cross sell products. If you’re going to add extended hours for the holidays, now is the time to begin promoting those. Your Shop Small and holiday hours signage should be in your window. Stay steady on all of your social media. If you’re struggling for ideas, post pics of new employees, tweet photos from a different angle of items that haven’t sold yet or take a funny team selfie.
Exceptional customer service. Begin your donation drive this week. Be sure your staff is thankful and recognizes everyone who takes the opportunity to donate. Take photos of your staff with shoppers who are donating. If you have chosen not to do a donation drive, have your staff tie in with the season of thanks in a special way. For instance, they can hand out “Thank You” cards with return incentives. Read 3 sure fire consignment cross-selling and upselling tips. Schedule team sales goals, holiday parties and sales rewards for recognizing exceptional customer service during the Christmas holiday. In-store holiday signage that gives clear instructions should be ready to be put up in a week. Determine your top 25 – 50 customers and send them a special invitation for holiday shopping. All of your Shop Small Saturday plans should be finalized and clearly explained to your staff.
Holiday magic. The holiday marketing calendar moves into week 6. It’s time to transition to Christmas decor with Thanksgiving one week away. Holiday signage indoors and out should be in place. Your Shop Small and/or Black Friday event marketing is under way. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas should fill your shop. Remember, your front window is your biggest billboard. Create Christmas windows that are magical, drawing customers in. They must reinforce the quality of merchandise shoppers will find inside. Your staff, including those part-timers you’ve added, should know their holiday schedules, especially what’s required of them for Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday. Read How to nurture your best and most motivated employees. Your donation drive ends later this week.
Review policies. Thanksgiving week is a huge transition. You, your staff and your shop completely transform from fall to Christmas. It’s time to set the stage for the holidays. Review store policies for such things as layaways, rewards points and wish lists. Inform your staff of any new merchandise that has come in the store. Double check that the flow for shopping and final check-out is clearly marked. Now’s the time to begin thinking like your shoppers. Their mindset has changed. They’re no longer shopping for themselves, but for others. Change the conversation to, “Who are you buying for this year?” Read Increase store traffic with these holiday ideas. Thursday, November 22 is Thanksgiving. Friday, November 23 is Black Friday and Saturday, November 24 is Shop Small Saturday. Looking ahead, Sunday and Monday the 25th and 26th are Cyber holidays.
Digital greetings. I feel a bit like Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 with my holiday marketing calendar countdown, but we are now just one month away. Tuesday, November 27 is “Giving Tuesday” so be sure to share lots of photos of your charity donations. Your holiday hours and special shopping incentives should be promoted regularly through social media and emails. Don’t send too many emails. During this busy holiday season, customers start deleting more out of stress. Send email messages that are relevant and fun. Read Send clever, digital greetings this holiday to get some ideas for Christmas greetings to send to your customers. Planning for inventory reduction and winter decor after the first of the year should start now.
Go the extra mile. Continue to energize your staff. Encourage them to wear Santa hats or ugly Christmas sweaters and hand out candy canes to everyone who comes in the door. Give them a reason to interact with each shopper. Read 6 simple strategies to snag a savvy shopper. Shift your merchandise to make your store look fresh and new, so customers will want to return. If you’re in an area where weather is an issue, make sure your outside is as clean as the inside of the store. Your freebies should also begin…free gift wrap, free concierge or free delivery. Next Monday is known as Green Monday. If you do online sales, this is the time to begin pushing your holiday merchandise online. Check out SimpleConsign’s Simple AdKiosks.
Lead the charge. As Bob Negen says, “There’s a time to work ‘on‘ your business and a time to work ‘in’ your business.” Be on the sales floor interacting with staff and shoppers. Who doesn’t like to be personally assisted by the owner of the company? Use your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to heighten excitement about new merchandise arriving. Our seasonal countdown wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t talk about the coming New Year. Be thinking and planning for changes and additions you would like to see in your shop in 2019. Friday, December 14 is known as Free Shipping Day. If shipping is at all part of your business, try to offer it free.
Brand Ambassadors. By now, shoppers and staff are frazzled. This is a key week to create brand ambassadors for your store. If you and your staff can show patience, kindness and an extra willingness to be helpful, you will have customers for life. Doing extra things for your staff this week can go a long way too. Bring cookies, fruit or pastries in the morning; give special handwritten thank you notes and sincere compliments to boost morale and attitudes. Read 4 incentive ideas to energize employees. Take care of yourself too. Read How to beat the resale business owner blues. Sign up to receive Your Consignment Business Check Up.
Whew! You survived. Congratulations! I hope this checklist made your life just a little easier. If you’d like to download a copy of the 4th Quarter Marketing Calendar to share with your staff, do so here. Merry Christmas from all of us at Traxia!
As I write this, I am back fresh and rejuvenated from the NARTS Fall Seminar in Houston. It was wonderful to spend time with old friends and make new connections. The hotel, restaurants and southern hospitality were to die for. I loved getting the pink calculator out and talking numbers, and learning about “Going Live” was truly AhaMAZING. Recharged and focused, my team and I are ready to kick butt as we race for the end of the year.
That’s right, the year isn’t over yet! We still have 31 days ’til the ball drops and that means 31 opportunities to sizzle in December. You can definitely end the year on a HIGH note. This is not the time to stick with what you are comfortable doing, but to push comfort to the wind, make this the $ea$on for CHANGE.
To make the most of what’s left of 2017, make it a game. Each day, do something different to push yourself, your team and your store forward to the finish line. No effort is too small.
Maybe you will…
You see how quick it is to come up with some sizzling ideas. They not only push you out of your comfort zone, they make you laugh. Hopefully, they’ll make your customers $mile and $pend! Remember, YOU can decide to sit and let the year fizzle out. Or, you can take the last 31 chances of 2017 to make it $izzle.
Keep on $elling,
It’s not too late to create memorable events at your store. Here are a few sizzling ideas to add to Neil’s. Read, Squeeze more out of your holiday marketing budget or Increase store traffic with these holiday ideas. Generate excitement about your store during this busy shopping season. When 2018 rolls around, you won’t regret it.
Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about the impending “doom” of brick and mortar stores. Some analysts are suggesting the rise in online shopping means physical stores will become a thing of the past. However, according to recent reports, over 70% of shoppers still like to see a product in the store before they buy it. As a result, retailers are fighting back and changing the way they do business. Consignment stores should too. Here are 7 tips for consignment stores to run with the big dogs this Christmas.
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, recently wrote an article titled, How should independents prepare for Black Friday? He suggested shops gather items throughout the store that have been there awhile and then slash prices. For consignment stores, choose the “I’m-not-sure-my-customers-will-like-it-but-I’ll-consign-it-anyway” items and gather merchandise that has converted to store inventory. Discount those items heavily and add them to a special sale section in the back. If Black Friday shoppers are looking for bargains, you’ll have them.
Black Friday was built around the deal. It is designed to bring the crowd in with a loss leader and count on them spending more. Instead of emphasizing the merchandise, concentrate on the events. There are several opportunities to take advantage of.
Of course, you can always create your own holiday too. A few years ago, a group of small retailers came up with the idea of Plaid Friday. Make sure, whatever you do, your event is well publicized on your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and in-store. Assign someone the special task of photographing for additional publicity. Be sure everyone has lots of fun!
Consider every person that enters your store a gift. With the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar will only thrive if they offer what online can’t…personal service. Your shop should look, feel and smell like the holidays. Adding a couple of these ideas will boost your image and your bottom line.
These days, it’s all about the experience. Create a relaxed atmosphere that’s a breath of fresh air from the hassle of holiday shopping. Show shoppers how they can get the best without spending the most.
Nowadays, video is the medium of choice. From Facebook live to short, animated videos, start using them. I wouldn’t watch a video of someone making an Amazon buy, but show me fun aspects of your shop behind the scenes and I’m hooked. If you do furniture consignment, create vignettes with your merchandise and video shoppers enjoying them. Highlight your salespeople and tell a funny fact about each one. Poke fun at the owner or manager. Show a shopper entering the dressing room then cut immediately to her appearing in her new outfit. Make videos that are short, light-hearted and fun. Even something as simple as Ripl, can dramatically increase the engagement in your Facebook posts.
Who’s looking for a fun contest idea that draws shoppers into your store and builds your brand? (This is where you raise your hand.) Try a Pinterest contest. Retailer, TopShop created a wonderful Christmas contest using “moodboards” that would be perfect for any consignment store. Encourage shoppers to create a Pinterest board that is specific to your store. Pick a theme such as My Perfect Christmas Morning or A Special Christmas Dinner (for furniture and decor shops). Shoppers either re-pin from your site or come into your store to photograph and pin items they’d wish to have. Participants email their board to you and one “pinner” receives a very special prize. Be sure to create a store-specific hashtag that can be added.
You and your employees are ultimately the biggest asset to your consignment business. Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley, quoted her father as once saying, “In business, you sell yourself first, your business second and the product third.” As I shared in, 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, you are your business. Invest in relationships. Take care of yourself and your employees. It will ultimately show on the sales floor. Even the smallest gesture of kindness will reap great rewards. At Vera Bradley, employees receive a $50 bill in their birthday card each year. As the company has grown, the payroll department asked if they could just put extra money in an employee’s paycheck. Baekgaard refused. She feels that cash is more personal and so much more tangible. I would agree.
The only way consignment and resale shops will thrive is to face the #1 reason shoppers do not buy secondhand. They’re uncomfortable buying merchandise previously used by someone else. As one potential customer put it, “All of this belonged to dead people.” Combat that image by making sure your shop is as clean as it can possibly be. Curate your merchandise and purge the junk. Be diligent about the way your store smells. Let shoppers know that you only accept items that are in perfect condition. If necessary, tie-in with a local dry cleaner and let customers know your clothing is cleaned and ready to wear. Often, some consignment and resale shops can be the worst enemies of the consignment industry as a whole. Remember, it isn’t just about your store, it’s about the perception of resale overall. Let’s work together and we truly can “run with the big dogs.”