On the heels of #SecondHandSeptember comes #NationalConsignmentDay. Started by the online resale store The RealReal, National Consignment Day is celebrated the first Monday in October. This is the third year to observe this important day. According to Julie Wainwright, CEO and Founder of The RealReal, National Consignment Day “allows us to raise awareness about the circular economy, especially as it applies to the luxury market.”
An Instagram contest is extremely easy to run. This year, The RealReal gave away 2 Louis Vuitton bags using an Instagram contest. See The RealReal’s contest page here.
In order to run a similar contest, first, decide your giveaway theme. Obviously, include the hashtag #NationalConsignmentDay as part of your theme. Create an exclusive hashtag using your store’s name too. Next, decide how people enter your contest. Have them follow your Instagram page, like the post, tag friends, leave a comment, or even repost the contest. To enter The RealReal’s contest, participants had to follow @therealreal on Instagram, like the post added on May 4th between 7 am and 12 pm, and tag 3 friends in 3 separate comments. Set a deadline for your contest. Choose your prize. When you post, list the legal jargon. It’s as simple as that!
After all, who doesn’t love a reason to celebrate? Since the day honors you, decorate like crazy. Balloons, streamers, banners, cookies, and punch required. Offer drawings for a variety of giveaways. Consider partnering with other consignment stores in your area. Create a consignment crawl. The shopper who visits all stores involved gets their name thrown in a hat to win a grand prize. Or, teach a class, “Designing with Consignment.” Whether you’re a furniture or clothing store, show customers how to use your one-of-a-kind items to create something fabulous. If possible, run a fun price contest. Choose any one of the Price is Right games. For instance, play Bonkers. Purchase 3 or 4 flip-chart-style presentation books. Amazon offers these for $11 each. Print the numbers 0 – 9 on letter-size sheets of paper. Arrange the books in random order and give customers 30 seconds to guess the correct price of the item you’re promoting. They can rearrange the numbers in any combination. You tell them whether they’re too high or too low. At the end of 30 seconds, see how close they come to the actual price. Offer a prize based on their final answer.
Since you’re promoting the “circular” economy, create a circle day. For instance, see how long someone can hula hoop. Play a “Draw the Circle” game. Print a giant sheet of paper with as many circles as possible. Invite shoppers to draw a picture using the circles. No two drawings can be the same. Or, create a giant spinning wheel to earn prizes or discounts. In addition, decorate a selfie wall. Draw a huge circle and add the words, “I am making a difference by shopping at STORE’S NAME. #NationalConsignmentDay.” Give away bracelets, rings, or anything circular.
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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.
When my kids were younger, back to school shopping was big. I mean REALLY big. Whether it was supplies and clothes in grade school; technology and clothes in high school or dorm decor and clothes for college, shopping didn’t come cheap. It was expected that shiny new notebooks and brand new sneakers were the order of the day. It’s no different today. However, in spite of the uptick in the economy, families are struggling. Today’s back to school consumers are looking for bargains. To see their money go farther, they need a little back to school consignment shopping. Now’s the time to show them what you offer.
Not every state offers tax-free weekends, but for those that do, be sure to let back-to-school consignment shoppers know you participate. Here’s a list of the states and their tax-free weekends courtesy of The Krazy Coupon Lady. Unfortunately, the Krazy Coupon Lady doesn’t mention that consignment shops are one of the best places to find back-to-school clothes.
States like Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon are always tax-free states.
This is one of the best times of the year to create User Generated Content (UGC). With UGC, your customers are marketing for you. Furthermore, you’re gaining credibility when shoppers see others purchasing back to school items from you. Here are a couple of promotional ideas that I came up with for any age group.
Just slapping some sale stickers on and putting a sign in your shop window isn’t enough to build the excitement your hoping for. A successful consignment store event requires planning. Start with one very important question. What’s the purpose of your event? Clear out inventory? Grow your customer base? Drive sales? Once you answer that question, create a lasting impression in the minds of your shoppers with a truly memorable consignment store event.
Pick a theme and begin sending out teaser announcements 3 to 4 weeks before the event. Use social media, emails, in-store signage and bag stuffers to build expectation. Create a unique event hashtag.
2 weeks before the event, send out special invitations, especially to your very best customers. Use an online email invitation company such as Smilebox or create your own. Include the invitation on all your social media sites too. By all means use compelling graphics and give potential shoppers all the information they’ll need to attend.
Reminders need to be sent multiple times. Start 2 to 3 days prior to the event and even the morning of. Once again, use social media, emails, in-store flyers and signage as special reminders.
Immediately following the event, keep your followers updated with fun photos of your crowded shop. Include a thank you to those who participated and pictures of any prize winners. Ask customers to tag themselves in your photos or encourage them to post photos of their own from your store event. Read Consignment customer content is the best way to promote yourself.
Get as much feedback as you possibly can. Don’t be afraid to ask if shoppers liked the prizes, discounts, food, entertainment, etc. Find out as much as you possibly can so your next store event will be even more of a success.
For other sales tips check here:
After July 4th, but before “Back-to-School” sales, comes the “Dog Days” of summer. It’s that time of year when everyone is tired of the heat, worn out by the lack of routine and basically done with summer. There is very little to capitalize on for marketing inspiration. Stir up a little excitement and boost summer sales with an event that’s both fun and memorable.
Did you know Sunday, August 4th is Friendship Day? It’s the perfect opportunity to boost summer sales. A lot of consignment and resale stores are normally closed on Sunday. For this one day only, create a special “Be-a-friend-and-bring-a-friend” event. Choose your top 20% highest-spending customers and make it a special “invitation only” afternoon. Give customers access to exclusive merchandise that’s been reserved for this day. Offer a discount, prize drawing or interesting giveaways. If Friendship Day doesn’t interest you, go to Holiday Insights. Pick a fun holiday and make a memory!
July is the time to host an in-store workshop. Whether you’ve done live Facebook sales or video chats, an in-store event is completely different. This time, it’s all about your customers. What do they want to learn? If you’re in an area with a large number of snowbirds who head south for the winter, teach a class on wardrobe planning or how to pack your suitcase. When your best shoppers are young, host a do-it-yourself class on turning a dresser into a shabby chic buffet. It’s important to find what appeals to the demographics of your customers.
Often charities see a lag in donations during the summer. This would be a perfect time to highlight a local charity such as a food bank, women’s shelter or humane society. Be sure to tie a discount to the donation of canned goods, clothing or other specified items. The organization you choose may even provide a collection bin. Choose National Underwear Day (Monday, August 5th) created by Freshpair and collect underwear items to give to charity. There are many creative ways to give back to your local community.
Dress your staff in Santa hats; decorate your shop with red and green; play Christmas music and add the scent of evergreen. Consider renting a snow-cone machine to serve red and green “snow balls” or invite Santa to the shop in his Bermuda shorts. Make it a fun summer sales event for all ages.
Put together a special 4-week sale that builds anticipation for the shopper and helps you clear out summer merchandise. During the first week, offer 25% off all summer clearance items. The second week, offer 50% off and the third week offer a 75% discount. End the promotion with a “Buy-the-Bag” sale or “Everything’s a $1” sale.
Last Friday, most of Team Traxia headed to Harrisburg, MO. This little town is where you’ll find Coyote Hill Children’s Home. For almost 3 decades, Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home has given abused and neglected children “A Safe Place To Be A Child.” Through licensed counselors and full-time Home Parents, the children of Coyote Hill are ensured a safe and healthy place to grow, learn, laugh and love. Team Traxia was honored to be a part of the Hill’s Easter celebration.
With over 1,000 eggs to hide, we had our work cut out for us. We divided into teams to hide eggs for the different age groups. Children as young as 4 up to 16 year-old teens were egg hunting.
We hid them in fields, on top of a dirt mound and in an enormous brush pile. Coyote Hill will be finding Easter eggs for months to come!
The day was chilly and very breezy. Easter eggs blew out of trees and off of logs. No telling where they wound up. It took our Team over an hour to hide them all.
Once everyone gathered, the hunt began. Kids ran everywhere! It was so fun to hear them yell, “I found an egg!” Bags bulging with Easter eggs, the children ran back to show their Home Parents.
Team Traxia treated everyone to hot dogs and hamburgers after the hunt. Our Founder, Joe, was the master griller. It was wonderful to be a blessing to such an amazing ministry.
If you’d like to know more about Coyote Hill Christian Children’s Home, we invite you to take a closer look.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved planning events. As a little girl, I planned fashion shows and elaborate weddings for my Barbie dolls. Helping plan my daughter’s wedding was especially exciting. Although our budget was comparatively small, we squeezed every penny to create a beautiful, memorable day. Nowadays, it isn’t enough to slap a few homemade signs in the window and call it an event. A successful consignment store event takes some serious planning and a whole lot of buy-in from your staff.
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of store events that happen without proper planning. Yes, you have a purpose. Whether it’s to build your brand, reward customers or celebrate a holiday, you still need a plan. Sit down with a calendar. Pick a date. Choose a theme. Create a budget. Decide your marketing ahead of time. Read How to make shoppers happy with simple resale-tainment. Ideally, you should have a 30/60/90-day planning timeline that you can give your sales team and managers.
If your sales staff isn’t committed to the success of the event, give it up. Make them a part of the planning process. Brainstorm with them. Consider a contest for individual employees or your staff as a whole. If the event is a success, they’ll reap some benefits too. A truly memorable consignment store event includes enthusiastic salespeople who are having as much fun as your shoppers.
Setting your budget at the beginning keeps everything in perspective. Factor in employees, marketing, refreshments, decorations, special giveaways, etc. If you’re hosting the event at a time you’re not usually open, consider additional items such as heat/air conditioning, lights, trash and plumbing. Don’t skimp on your event budget. Customers know the difference between a well-budgeted event vs. a cheap one. Do it right or don’t do it at all.
Now’s the time to clean, paint and reorganize your store. Always “put your best foot forward” when hosting a consignment store event. Clear out the cobwebs. Dust the light fixtures. Remove the sticky notes from your cash register. Make sure your store is clean from the inside out. By reorganizing, your store becomes a whole new destination.
Building anticipation will keep your event front and center in the minds of your shoppers. Tease with emails giving hints of what’s to come. Create a pre-event contest and announce the winner on event day. Tie in with a local celebrity. Give shoppers hands-on activities to do. Let customers see the exciting merchandise you’ll be giving away.
In addition to sending emails and stuffing shopper’s bags with flyers, get creative. Build a landing page on your website with a countdown calendar. Choose your #1 customer and reward them with a photo shoot that promotes the event. Add some curbside extras like sandwich board signs or chalk art. Buy your staff T-shirts with the event logo on them. Create Instagram Stories that give behind-the-scene preparations for the big event. Create a special hashtag. Read Are you using consignment store hashtags correctly?
Even though your event should get attendees shopping, refrain from pushing merchandise. Look at your event as an investment in future customers. The goal for your staff is to become a friend rather than being a salesperson. Enjoy the day. Mingle with event goers. Gather as much information as possible on everyone who attends. Hire a photographer. Use music, food and activities to create a fun atmosphere. People will remember you for the experience not the great deal that got on a sweater.
Immediately following the event, keep your attendees updated with fun photos of your crowded shop. Include a thank you to those who participated and pictures of any prize winners. Ask customers to tag themselves in your photos or encourage them to post photos of their own from your store event. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself. Get as much feedback as you possibly can. Don’t be afraid to ask if shoppers liked the prizes, discounts, food, entertainment, etc. Find out as much as you possibly can so your next consignment store event will be even more memorable.
For more on store events check out these links
In 2014, I shared survey results from Time Trade about shopping habits. See, Why your shoppers leave empty handed. In that survey, 90% of indecisive shoppers left a store empty handed because they couldn’t find a knowledgeable sales associate. Four years later, your sales reps are clearly paying more attention, but new information suggests other ways you can boost holiday sales. Here’s what the 2018 survey said.
Although it’s the busy holidays, setting aside time to meet personally with your very best customers will go a long way to boosting holiday sales. Clearly, shoppers today are looking for a personal connection. Could it be because so many of us have our heads stuck in our phones? They want engagement. It could be online, on the phone or in person, but they will loyally shop with the store that gives them this type of attention. Consider adding Reserve with Google. You will be given a list of a number of companies that do automatic appointment booking for you. Prices vary, but one, Appointy offers a free version.
The holidays are a perfect time to hold an event. As you can see, nearly 80% of customers want to attend events or classes. According to Time Trade, “Buyers are also more likely to buy, or buy more, if a brand offers events or classes relating to the product.” Sweeten holiday sales with a special Christmas event. Read Relax! Your 4th quarter marketing calendar is done to get ideas and tips for the last 4 weeks before Christmas.
According to Time Trade, 90% of survey respondents say they search online “frequently” or “all the time” to find stores and products. Now more than ever, you’ve got to be on your game when it comes to social media. Post and tweet often. I’ve even given you a list of daily holiday hashtags in 24 days of holiday hashtags beginning December 1st. Show new products. Highlight store employees and capture shopper’s attention with quizzes or surveys. Whenever possible, use GIFs and video to make a greater impact. Encourage customers to post their selfies with your merchandise. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself.
Although down to 74% from 90%, shoppers are still searching for knowledgeable sales reps. The more you train your sales staff, the more they’ll be able to sell. How training changes everything in sales gives you lots of ideas to improve your sales staff’s effectiveness. Don’t skimp on training even during the busy holidays. Lead by example. The holidays are a time to work in your business not on.
After a long, often dreary winter, your customers are ready for a fun challenge. Why not build your brand, sell merchandise and add some excitement at the same time? Choose one of these 6 ideas to bump up you spring consignment promotions.
Okay, I really do want to challenge someone out there to do this. Personally, I don’t have the nerve to cut into one of my old sweaters. It’s not because they’re worth something, but because I wouldn’t have a clue what to do next. But I see all of these adorable winter sweater crafts and it got me thinking, “I’d go to your dead-of-winter-end-of-February-get-rid-of-all-those-sweaters DIY class if there was one near me.” So the challenge is on. Is anyone willing to host a winter DIY sweater-cutting party as part of your consignment winter clearance? If you do, I’d love to feature your store and the event in a special blog post! Hey, I’d even buy the snacks for the party!
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an exciting post (yes, I know. they’re all so exciting) titled, How consignment stores can learn from retail in 2018. One of the actions retail is currently taking to hold back the Amazon wave is to partner up with other retailers. This consignment winter clearance event would be an excellent way to begin that relationship. Let’s say you’re a furniture store with lots of room, but no sweaters. Hustle over to your nearest clothing consignment shop and work a deal. Perhaps you have a truck load of sweaters to unleash scissors on, but don’t have anyone qualified to teach the class. See if another women’s consignment shop does. Go on. Working together will NOT kill your business.
Pick a chilly night or late afternoon. Make sure you have an abundance of work space so workers aren’t crowded like sardines. Charge a fee for the class that will include the sweater (or even sweatshirt, for that matter) of their choice, whatever is needed to complete the project in one sitting and a healthy dose of beverages and snacks. Make sure you have enough sharp scissors on hand for everyone to use. (I recommend putting an age limit on your classes for that very reason.) Create a cozy, well-lit area that is incredibly inviting. Include some aromatherapy and bathe the room in pine tree and cinnamon.
As you can see from the list above, you could do some serious consignment winter clearance damage with the list of project possibilities. Be sure you pick ones that are complimentary to your business. If you’re a furniture consignment shop, make pillows, coffee mug cozies or wreaths. If you specialize in children’s wear, make stuffed animals, booties or headbands. Of course, the skies the limit for women’s and men’s clothing consignment stores. Perhaps you’d rather pick a cause and invite the community in to help you make a difference. Sweater pet beds would be a boon to your local animal shelter. Mittens would be wonderful for a homeless shelter or baby blankets for a crisis pregnancy center. If you do chose a community project let your local media know that you (and another local shop) and the community are working together to make a difference.
If your store is really considering hosting a DIY sweater-making-something class, I would love to feature it in a blog post. Plus, I really will purchase the snacks for your event. Just be the first shop to email me with the date and type of event you’re hosting and we’ll work out the snack details.
Happy consignment winter clearance!