Building Consignment Store Loyalty Through Email

Consignment store loyalty requires personalization

Loyalty isn’t built with lower prices or easier parking. As a business owner, you’ve got to earn trust and respect. Shoppers buy emotionally, not rationally. Earn trust and respect through building relationships. Continue those relationships by personalizing every email you send. Get data (such as name, address, phone and email) from shoppers by offering something in return. Let them sign up for a free drawing, or give them early access to new merchandise. Then, let email foster the consignment store loyalty you want from your customers.

Start with customer satisfaction

First, make sure your customers are satisfied with their shopping experience. They need to know you’re listening and are concerned about them. Kizer and Bender suggest phoning shoppers to strictly thank them for visiting your store. Follow up those calls with  an email question, “How likely are you to recommend us to a friend?” When they answer, be ready with the proper response. Either a hearty thanks or ask, “How can we improve?”

Build intimacy by segmenting customers

Next, divide customers into 3 categories. First, the “promoters.” These customers eagerly tell others about you. They love you. Next, the “passives.” These are satisfied customers. However, they stay quiet about your shop. Finally, there are the “detractors.” They are unhappy customers. These shoppers usually speak louder than the other two. Target your email marketing with specific messages for each. The goal is to move as many as possible into the “promoters” category.

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Give preferential treatment to “promoters”

Loyal customers expect preferential treatment. Frankly, in today’s crowded retail/resale world, can you blame them? Consider an email marketing campaign giving your top customers a special VIP service, invitations to private “members-only” events or extra loyalty points. Read Stop the cycle of discounting to see other ways to reward their loyalty without giving a discount. By using emails to convey these promotions, your best customers become even bigger fans. This is the perfect group to start a bring-a-friend email promotion.

Use emails to turn “passives” into “promoters”

Build customer store loyalty among your favorite customersAll of us know what it’s like to have overflowing email inboxes. You spend an hour merely clicking the “delete” button. To make sure your passive shoppers don’t easily delete your email messages, offer them something of value. A “we miss you” message can offer a special incentive to come back. Add a deadline date to ensure a quick response. Send an informational email that gives them the latest trends or even a survey that asks specific shopping experience questions. All of these build consignment store loyalty.

Reach out to your “detractors” too

It may seem odd to reach out to your detractors, but often they just want to be heard. Nine times out of 10 if you reach out to a negative shopper, they’ll back down. Usually, all bark and no bite. Above all, tell them you are willing to listen and hopefully resolve their issue. Ask for another opportunity.

Include testimonials, reviews and customer photos.

Be sure to give your customers their 15 minutes of fame. By emailing customer photos and sharing great stories or reviews, everyone gets to share in that warm, fuzzy feeling about your store. Create a sense of pride in customers because they’re being smart, savvy, earth-sustaining shoppers. Personalize messages to help them feel important. After awhile, you become a family rather than just another place to shop.

“80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.” Forbes

For more on growing and using your email list:

14 Simple Ways To Build Your Store’s Email List
10 Steps To Improve Consignment Email Marketing
9 Consignment Emails You Should Send This Holiday – Infographic

7 ideas to entice younger consignment shoppers

Adding younger consignment shoppers is your goal

What are the opinions of younger shoppers about consignment and resale? Do they enjoy the treasure hunt as much as other generations? Are they just looking for a good deal? Now’s the time to court younger consignment shoppers. Appeal to them and you’ll have shoppers for many more years to come.

Generation Z

Today’s youngest Americans will be a generation without definition, at least that’s what they’re hoping. Most “experts” agree Generation Z includes anyone born after 1997. As a result, the oldest are just coming into real buying power. Theirs is the most diverse generation our country has ever known. They resent being given labels such as the “social generation” or “digital natives.” It will be interesting to see if they can avoid being lumped into one bucket. What will their incredible diversity mean for their shopping habits? Marketing trends? Or, their interest in social and political events? Only time will truly tell.


Generation Y, also know as Millennials, are well into their 30’s. In fact, older Millennials are close to 40. Unfortunately, they have been lumped into one big ugly bucket. Labels like “Entitled,” “Everybody Gets a Trophy,” or “Boomerangs” (because they return home to live) have been slapped on them. This generation has not fared well. High college debt and job market troubles have caused many to delay big ticket purchases such as cars or homes. They’re value driven, but do they care enough to go out of their way when purchasing? When it’s time to buy, what really motivates them?

Here’s how to entice these younger consignment shoppers

1.) Appeal to their values

A recent Nielsen report concluded younger generations, especially Millennials truly are concerned about preserving the environment.  The survey found “83%  saying it mattered greatly that companies take steps to improve the environment, while 75 percent said they would alter their habits” to patronize a business that was ecologically concerned. In light of the huge amount of textile waste in fast fashion, younger consumers are especially open to shopping consignment and resale.

2.) Take advantage of their digital skills

Generation Z has never known a time without the internet. As a result, everything they do is played out on social media. Whether it’s food they’ve eaten, special activities or purchases they’ve made, they’re telling the world. Tap into that skill. Begin using their own User Generated Content. Let them see themselves in your marketing and social media posts. Recruit an older teen to write a blog for you. According to Inmar Research,  77% of US teens said they liked ads “that show real people in real situations.” It’s not surprising that advice from others would be the greatest purchase influencer of the 18 to 32 crowd because they are among the highest users of most social media. In fact, word of mouth ranked highest for this age group in every category researched, including apparel and big-ticket purchases.

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3.) Shopping is still a social experience

Just because these younger generations have nimble fingers, doesn’t mean they do all of their shopping online. eMarketer reported 73% of Millennials and 75% of Gen Z do use their smartphones for some part of the shopping process. Whether it’s researching a company or their products; learning the latest trends; ordering merchandise or killing time, they’re on their phones. However, the majority still enjoy going to brick and mortar stores for the shopping experience. They love fun, live events. Consider an out-of-the-box partnership with another one of their interests. Sustainable goods, food & beverage, tech gadgets would all make interesting partnerships.

4.) Loyalty is hard to earn and hard to keep. Start now.

Like in every aspect of our lives, loyalty is not easy to come by. It must be earned. Younger consignment shoppers have more options, more information and less patience. Unfortunately, younger consumers are also less forgiving. Once you’ve lost their trust, it’s nearly impossible to gain it back. Authenticity, transparency and consistency are going to gain their following. If they shop you because you’re good for the environment, make sure everything you do reinforces that message. Offer cloth shopping bags and give a discount when shoppers bring them in. Emphasize your efforts to minimize waste. Provide recycling areas.

5.) Appeal to their desire for exclusivity

Younger generations always want to separate themselves from the pack. They typically want first crack at exclusive merchandise and experiences. Of course, they also crave attention, especially in a world where it’s hard to get. Consignment shops can offer these generations the best of both. Give them attention by featuring them in local fashion shows. Offer discounts that give them instant gratification rather than the need to earn points. Get them talking. They love to give feedback and eagerly desire to be a part of the process rather than just the end user.

6.) Find them where they are

Younger consignment shoppers are not on FBIf you want to reach this market, forget Facebook. Gen Z and Millennials are searching Snapchat, Instagram and YouTube. Communicate with them in short, quick announcements. Use emojis as part of your marketing. Look for ways to personalize and add emotion to the message. Definitely use video whenever possible. Generation Z is also extremely entrepreneurial. Many have already found ways to monetize their obsession with social media by creating online businesses, Instagram personalities and YouTube tutorial videos.

7.) Dollar-conscious shoppers

Generation Z tends to be financially conservative. They’ve seen the troubles their older siblings and parents have had with unbridled debt. As a result, they’re looking to save money. According to Forbes, “roughly 55% of the Gen Z population is increasing the amount of time spent in dollar stores…about 40% say they’re spending more time in consignment shops.” According to Total Retail, because Gen Z is “price sensitive” be sure you’re offering “incentives to encourage larger orders, such as “packages” or deals.” Your salespeople need to be experts at cross-selling.

The best way to understand these 2 up and coming generations is to hire them to work in your shops. Get them involved with the process and enlist them to be brand ambassadors. Your future success may depend on it.

How to update your outdated consignment rewards program

Breathe new life into your consignment store rewards program

Younger generations love a rewards program. In fact, studies show 70% of Millennials are members of some type of loyalty program. Likewise, 82% of Gen X is active in at least one or more loyalty plans. Many retail stores are revamping and updating their membership clubs. Today, shoppers are looking for personalized programs that offer immediate benefits. If you don’t have an established rewards program, now’s the time to create one. If you already have one, take a look at some of these ideas. It may be time to update.

Macy’s creates the Star Rewards tiered program

  • With their plan, Macy’s credit cardholders are automatically enrolled in one of three rewards levels, “Silver,” “Gold” or “Platinum.” Non-Cardholders are placed in the “Bronze” level.
  • To get into the “Platinum” tier, customers must spend $1,200 or more with Macy’s annually. Those customers receive special coupons and earn 5% back in rewards on every purchase they make. Plus, these customers receive free shipping with no minimum purchase. Those in the “Gold” tier must spend $500 to $1,199 annually. They receive special coupons, as well as the free shipping, but not the 5% rewards points on every purchase. Customers in the “Silver” category must spend up to $499 a year and only earn coupons.
  • As special incentives, Macy’s may occasionally offer cardholders any Star Rewards status and non-cardholders various opportunities to earn additional points. During Star Money Days, “Bronze,” “Silver” and “Gold” members earn points on qualifying purchases (1,000 points = $10 in Star Money). “Platinum” members earn even more points.

Wayfair does it “My Way”

  • “MyWay” is Wayfair’s new membership program with an annual fee of $29.99.
  • MyWay members in the lower 48 states receive free shipping with no minimum purchase. (A few exclusions do apply.) They also receive 25% off in-home services such as assembly and upgraded delivery options; access to exclusive content and insider sales, plus free 1-day shipping for certain items.
  • The program’s benefits can be used at Joss & Main, AllModern and Birch Lane.
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Nordstrom revamps The Nordy Club rewards program

  • The Nordy Club is free to join. Members earn 1 point per dollar spent. However, Nordstrom Credit Card holders earn 3x more than non-cardholders. Points accrue based on how much you spend. For instance, shoppers receive a $20 Nordstrom Note for every 2,000 points earned.
  • In a bid to offer a more personalized experience, shoppers can create a “Nordy Portrait,” very similar to consignor access.
  • Like Macy’s Star Rewards, Nordy Club customers earn a “status” based on how much they spend. Obviously, the higher your status, the more rewards you get. The 4 levels are “Member,” “Insider,” “Influencer” and  “Ambassador.” Benefits range from free alterations to invite-only events.

A special card for your Rewards Program

Score big with the Score Card from Dick’s Sporting Goods

  • Score Card membership is free. Members receive 1 point for every dollar spent on a qualified purchase at Dick’s, Golf Galaxy and Field & Stream.
  • There are several ways for shoppers to earn extra points. For instance, just downloading and logging into your account through Dick’s Sporting Goods mobile app earns bonus points. Plus, redeeming Bonus Point coupons and opting into eRewards earns extra points too.
  • Score Card members receive a $10 reward for every 300 points they earn, plus exclusive discount coupons.

Other ideas for your Rewards Program

  • Free birthday rewards (Starbucks and JC Penney)
  • Club members earn a coupon for 20% off their next purchase (Big Lots)
  • Earn 10 points for every dollar spent, double points for purchases of $100 or more (A.C. Moore)
  • Buy 5 and get the 6th free (HoneyBaked Ham)
  • Earn points or discounts for donations or recycling items (Recyclebank)
  • Rewards for military personnel and/or seniors for shopping on particular days (Goodwill and Bass Pro Shops)

SimpleConsign, Traxia’s web based software program, offers a built-in Rewards Program. You set the value for points and we keep track of the rest!

How to create a customer loyalty program and increase sales

Parts of this post were originally published in October of 2015

Have you begun a customer loyalty program? Should you?

Last year, Restoration Hardware announced a new customer loyalty program. For an annual fee, members of their loyalty program received a variety of benefits. They included set discounts on purchases, free interior design services, special financing terms and early access to their large annual sales. Unfortunately, Restoration Hardware stock prices dropped immediately. Experts said it was a big mistake. Was it? The store reported less than stellar sales in the 3rd quarter of last year. Nevertheless, more than 90% of sales were coming from customer loyalty program members. RH believes with renewals from last year and new sign-ups, the program will be a huge success in 2017.

Women like to be in the know

According to Bridget Brennan in Why She Buys, women love customer loyalty programs. They love to feel special, valued and a source of good information. Women need assurance up front that your company will be responsive to their needs, so a loyalty program is a natural fit. Brennan says, “To ingratiate women to your company, let them feel like insiders.” Establishing a loyalty or rewards program, is essential if women are your target demographic (which is probably most of you).

Customer experiences that build loyalty

Having a pre-paid membership such as Restoration Hardware, Sam’s Club or Costco isn’t the only way to implement a loyalty program. There are other customer experiences that studies have shown build loyalty in your customers.

Let customers pick their own sale item –

A study in 2015 found that 42% of customers find this a valuable shopping feature. Customers love to feel they have some control over when and how they save. This helps them to “personalize” the shopping experience. Hobby Lobby offers a weekly online coupon where you save 40% off one regularly priced item. I’m a fan. I love the feeling that I’ve saved on the items I choose, not that Hobby Lobby chooses for me.

Hassle-free returns build loyalty – 

This was noted by 41% of respondents as important. Their favorite benefits included no time limit, no need for a receipt and free postage on returns. Many consignment, thrift and antique stores do not allow returns. I must admit I have a problem with no time limit or receipt. These services were started by some of the biggest chain department stores such as J C Penney’s, Sears and Macy’s (Note: all 3 of them are currently experiencing financial problems). To apply this service to a smaller resale shop seems very difficult. However, offering a “buyer’s remorse” time period such as a set 14- day return policy, is possible to build customer loyalty.

No coupons needed to get the sale price –

Let’s face it, the days of clipping coupons are gone. Nearly 40% of survey participants want the lowest price automatically without having to clip coupons. Like Hobby Lobby, shoppers want to receive deals on their smartphones and many of the larger stores are beginning to use “beacons.” A beacon will target a customer in a particular department of a store. Then, it immediately sends a message about a special price on the item they’re currently viewing. I,  find that creepy, but Millennials love it.

A Rewards Points Program – 

Ranked by 33% of shoppers as an important benefit, rewards points are still a strong loyalty builder. Often a solid Rewards Points program can lead them to spend more with the shop when rewards are easy to accumulate and redeem. Many POS systems such as SimpleConsign have a built-in Rewards Points program that you can easily implement without the use of punch cards, etc.

Loyalty begins with service

In the same study quoted above, 73% of shoppers at apparel stores said they’d shop more often if there were attentive, helpful sales associates. Remember, the success of brick and mortar stores is the quality of the customer experience. Reward your shoppers at every turn. Make them feel valued and special. They, in turn, will reward you with steady sales.

What drives customer loyalty for your consignment shop?

Think about what makes you loyal to a particular shop. Is it the convenience of their location? Is it the friendliness of the employees? Has the store created a fun shopping experience with merchandising and unique items? Price is always key for most consumers, but in a study released in September by Synchrony Financial titled “The Retail Customer Experience“, certain actions by a shop were found to improve the customer loyalty. Here are those 4 key customer experiences that will build loyalty in shoppers. I have to preface this particular post by saying I don’t agree with two of them, but who am I to question a scientific study?

Build customer loyalty by letting them pick their own sale item

According to Synchrony this ranked highest in the survey, with 42% of customers finding this a valuable shopping feature. Customers love to feel they have some control over when and how they save. They also feel this helps to “personalize” the shopping experience. Hobby Lobby offers a weekly online coupon where you can save 40% off one regularly priced item and I’ve always been a sucker for it. I love the feeling that I’ve saved on the items I choose not that Hobby Lobby chooses for me.

Hassle-free returns builds loyalty

This was noted by 41% of respondents as important. Their favorite benefits included no time limit, no need for a receipt and free postage on returns. Many consignment, thrift and antique stores do not allow returns and I must admit I have a problem with no time limit or receipt. These services were started by some of the biggest chain department stores such as J C Penney’s, Sears and Macy’s. To apply this service to a smaller resale shop seems very difficult. However, offering a “buyer’s remorse” time period or a set 14- day return policy is possible to help build customer loyalty.

No coupons needed to always get the sale price

Let’s face it, the days of clipping coupons are dwindling. Nearly 40% of survey participants automatically wanted the lowest price without having to clip or find discounts listed elsewhere. Like the Hobby Lobby coupon listed above, shoppers want to receive deals on their smartphones and many of the larger stores are beginning to use “beacons.” A beacon will target a customer in a particular department of a store and immediately send a message about a special price on an item they’re currently viewing. I, for one, find that creepy but Millennials are all about it. This would be the second experience in the study I have a problem with especially as a marketer. Often I suggest using coupons to draw customers back in to the shop. Perhaps it’s because I’m a Boomer and I still love a coupon.

hands holding Earn points to redeem for extra savings

Ranked by 33% of shoppers as an important benefit, rewards points are still a strong loyalty builder. Often a solid Rewards Points program can lead them to spend more with the shop when rewards are easy to accumulate and redeem. Many POS systems such as SimpleConsign have a built-in Rewards Points program that you can easily implement without the use of punch cards, etc.

A final point of the survey also worth mentioning is that 73% of shoppers at apparel stores will shop more often as a result of helpful, attentive associates; clothes they like and a variety of merchandise; and good value and prices. I suppose 2 out of 4 ain’t bad when it comes to agreeing with this particular survey.

If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy, “Why your shoppers leave empty-handed

The interesting truth about the resale industry

The resale industry needs to teach younger shoppers

In my day, the only footprint we talked about was Bigfoot’s. Today, the buzz is about our “carbon footprint.” As a lazy Boomer, I have to admit I have no idea what my carbon footprint looks like. However, many consumers ages 16 to 49 do. In fact, to the majority of younger shoppers, the environment and greenhouse gas emissions are of major concern. Rightfully so, they are the ones that will deal with it in the future.

What the resale industry has to offer

As the ultimate “go green” industries, consignment, resale and antique dealers need to begin capitalizing on your environmentally-friendly merchandise. Studies show that if you are socially and environmentally conscious, younger shoppers (those 35 and under) will purposefully patronize your store.

Everyday is Earth Day

Earth Day may only come once a year, but our industry is king when it comes to loving “Mother Earth.” Promote that fact particularly to Millennials (Age 20 to 34). This age group is very socially conscious. They need to know you’re in the business of helping the environment. Although studies suggest Millennials are concerned about the earth, others suggest they are often so cash poor they can’t turn beliefs into action. As a result, they’re looking to retailers to do the good work for them. Enter…consignment, resale and antiques!

Grab the IKEA Generation

Let’s face it, shopping at an IKEA store is just downright fun. It’s an adventure. It feeds that Millennial philosophy of “I gotta have it now.” Many younger consumers don’t want the carefully-collected antiques of their Boomer parents. As a result, 20-something college grads fill their apartments with cheap furnishings. However, Millennials want to set themselves apart. Whether it’s unique vintage clothing or furnishings, they have a “yearning for yesteryear.” (which for them is the early 90’s) Many companies are turning to “nostalgia marketing” and the resale industry should too. It’s the job of today’s consignment, resale and antique shops to prove to those younger consumers they can have it all and they can start now.

Jump on the eco-friendly craze

How do you convince the younger generations that purchasing another’s treasures is the ultimate sustainable, earth-friendly choice? You talk about it in everything you do. Draw on the “yearning for yesteryear” with “vintage” merchandise. Add a tagline to your logo that connects your business to the recycling craze. Choose a week when you promote every item in your store that’s green. Have your salespeople wear green T-shirts that say, “Everyday is earth day at …” Look for a variety of ways to promote the value you place on sustainability. Use bags made from recycled paper or have bags made with your own logo. Offer a small discount every time shoppers use that bag in your store. Create a “Friends of the Earth” shopper’s club. Everybody likes to be part of a club, right? Turn it into a loyalty program that rewards customers every time they choose resale over retail.

It’s our time

However you choose to do it, make sure you begin to promote this powerful aspect of the resale industry. It’s important to the upcoming generations so we need to start educating them now!

Would you like to receive more consignment and resale tips? Sign up for “Raising the Resale Bar” here.


4 factors that reveal resale’s future is rosy

Resale’s future is rosy

The industry of retail and therefore consignment and resale, is changing. Shoppers are becoming more educated; the demographics of consumers are shifting and the use of social media is always changing and growing. What should you be watching and preparing for as this new year approaches? There are 4 main factors that will help determine where shoppers spend their hard-earned money. Take heart, resale’s future is rosy.

Changing demographics

One of the factors that will lead to your success is the changing demographics of today’s consumer. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), as the Baby Boomers age, the next generation (Gen Y) is hoping to “emulate the lifestyle that their Baby Boomer parents have.” This means they want to continue that wonderful lifestyle they’re used to. PWC stresses, “Gen Y is a more diverse group in how they shop, where they shop and how they spend their money.” This makes this group a harder marketing target. The best way to reach them is by building relationships. The good news for consignment and resale is Gen Y “consumers will increase their focus on purchasing products from socially responsible and ‘greenfriendly’ manufacturers and retailers.”

Stronger online presence

Another one of the factors is how you appear online. In an article titled, “Retail in 2015: The Age of Uncertainty”, Retail Customer Experience stressed, “Most shoppers (86%) said that a retailer having an online presence is ‘important,’ ‘very important’ or ‘critical.'” With Millennials and many of those from Generation X, how you present yourself online totally represents you. It can be the determining factor for shoppers to even consider entering your store. Whether it’s a website, your Facebook page or an e-commerce site, make sure they clearly convey who you are (branding) and what merchandise you carry.

Make shopping an event

Increasingly, the upcoming generation of shoppers is looking for an experience, not just merchandise. It’s no longer about the transaction. It’s about the interaction. Bookshops are selling coffee and coffee shops are selling music. More than ever, shops have to become interactive and engaging. Providing classes, a lounge area, community events and contests are all ways to engage your shoppers.

Increased loyalty programs

Since 2013, loyalty programs have been on the rise. The smarter the store is about their shoppers, the better the loyalty program. Knowing when they buy, what they buy and how much they spend helps a store tailor their rewards program and keeps customers coming back for more.