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!
The Academy was birthed out of a desire to help resale businesses succeed. Our customers understand buying and selling. Pricing items and knowing a bargain come easily. However, understanding marketing, merchandising, building a sales team, and many other business ideas is another story. Here are just a few Resale Academy takeaways.
Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are consumer anthropologists. Nationally-known speakers in the retail industry, we brought them to the Resale Academy. According to Kizer & Bender, customers seek “information, inspiration, and ideas.” Gone are the days of telling them and they will buy. You need to become a customer advocate. In other words, show your customers you’re on their side. View your business from their perspective. Have the information they need. Give amazing service.
Did you know 50% of your shop is never seen by shoppers? Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender encouraged shop owners to take a closer look at their “Impression Points.” For example, review areas like your front door and front window. Change your speed bumps weekly. In addition, your checkout area should pop with color and signage. Your sightlines must be clear.
The one-time consignment store owner, Angie Houloose, also spoke. She taught about creating a winning culture through leadership. Angie has developed the “OBVI Project.” Through your leadership, the store culture you desire is obtainable. Refine your values and vision for your store.
In marketing, the first moment of truth (MOT) is the moment your customer first interacts with your store. It’s their first impression. You have less than 10 seconds. There are several moments of truth. In fact, there’s even a zero moment of truth.
Imagine a circle. In it, you place everything a resale store needs to operate. For instance, you need an inventory, customers, a cash register, etc. Now, place a larger circle around the first. Add the extras that aren’t necessary, but set you apart from other stores. As you build circles of excellence, customers begin to expect it from you. Therefore, constantly change and build that outer circle to add value and excitement.
The Academy was a resounding success. Attendees said, “It rejuvenated me.” “I needed to be inspired & motivated.” “They knew their stuff.” SimpleConsign users … we’ll be back next year!
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Nearly $9 billion is projected to be spent in 2019 on this special day. Even if your store doesn’t sell costumes, offer add-ins like candles, cards, decorations or accessories. Make sure your store participates in at least one of these consignment store Halloween ideas to get your share of the Halloween pie.
This is the time of year to take advantage of great decorating opportunities. Whether you choose fall leaves, pumpkins or scary ghosts, make sure your shop is festive and fun. Inner Child Fun has an idea using Glad Press ‘n Seal Plastic Wrap on your windows. Tape the plastic wrap to your windows with the sticky side out then attach objects to the wrap. They suggest fall leaves, but you could just as easily decorate with black bats or skeletons. If you prefer not to decorate your entire store, set aside a “spooky” section. Fill this “pop-up shop” with Fall decor, Halloween-themed items or just autumn-colored merchandise.
There are so many fun events that require very little preparation on your part. For instance, sponsor a Halloween Child Safety Seminar. Hand out child safety Tips, give the kids a Halloween coloring page and offer reflective bags or pumpkin containers to those who attend. Or, hold a “Get Ready for the Night” event from 4 pm to 6 pm on October 31st where children receive free face painting and candy while parents receive a special 13% off coupon for a one-day sale event on Saturday, November 1. Remember customer content is always your strongest advertising! Take lots of photos!
Don’t forget to reach out to your loyal shoppers. Send spooky invitations and emails to promote a special sale with really scary prices (say, the unlucky number of 13% off) that is by invitation only. Send your top 25 customers a bewitching gift box filled with candy and a special note that might say, “Fangs a lot” and of course a gift card to your shop. Or, host an evening party where customers are encouraged to dress in costume. Present a fashion show that is all in black or black and orange. Then, make sure you offer appropriate refreshments like witches brew and monster eyes. Give them plenty of notice to prepare.
Shoppers like to frequent businesses where the workers are friendly and fun. Nothing says “fun” more than a salesperson dressed like a beautiful Fairy Princess or Batman. Make sure your employees wear costumes and have plenty of candy to hand out. Choose allergy-friendly candies like Skittles or Life Savers. Offer a drawing for a special prize that makes it easier for employees to interact with shoppers. Get email addresses in exchange for signing up.
Using all of your social media is a must. Host contests on Facebook for the best costume whether it’s people or pets. Create a Halloween Pinterest board with all of the black and orange items in your shop. Use Twitter and Instagram to promote your special event. If you don’t want the hassle of a contest or event, at least take fun photos of your staff in costume to post on Facebook and Twitter. Change your Facebook Cover Image. The Cover Image size is 1200 x 675 pixels. Check and correctly arrange your photo before you publish. Don’t forget to change it on November 1st. No matter which Halloween ideas you choose, by adding a bit of fun, you’ll be building your brand awareness.
Whether it’s the slightly busy thredUP or the more sophisticated The RealReal, online consignment sales are growing. In fact, the US Census Bureau reported that “E-commerce sales made up around 10 percent of total U.S. retail sales in the third quarter of 2018.” Consumers shop online for a variety of reasons. Speed of sale, shipping rates and difficulty getting to the actual store are all top reasons. If you’re currently selling online, make your items look their best. Here’s how.
Camera phones take incredibly beautiful photos. I recently visited the MO Botanical Gardens in St. Louis and couldn’t believe the quality of photos I took with my Samsung Galaxy S9. According to Oberlo, make sure your phone’s lense is clean before taking your first photos. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly wipe it down. Turn off your phone’s flash and don’t use the zoom feature. Crop your finished photos instead. For $20, Amazon even offers a number of lenses that can be used on almost any cell phone.
For quality and consistency, use a tripod for taking pictures. Once again, Amazon, has a great cell phone tripod for under $20. This phone tripod comes with a wireless remote for distance shots or filming. By using a tripod, you can also turn on the HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature for crisper photos too.
Natural light vs. artificial light can make a tremendous difference in the look and feel of your photography. My updated blog post, 10 merchandise photography tips to sell more online, shows the difference between hard light and soft light. Obviously, natural light (sunlight) is the least expensive. However, it’s also the most limiting. The time of day, the position of your store windows and the weather can all affect the outcome.
Almost everyone recommends a plain white backdrop for your online photos. A white background removes distraction, highlights your merchandise and is usually very “light friendly.” Use what’s known as the “Infinity Curve,” a clean white sheet of paper or cloth that gently bends to eliminate a horizon.
Even my little Samsung Gallery has a variety of focus settings. Once my photos are taken, I can still adjust the background for “near focus,” “far focus” and “pan focus.” Often, the only thing you need to do is tap on the area of your photo that you want to be in focus.
As you can see by the graph, consumers today want to see more than 1 or 2 photos of an item. According to Salsify, online shoppers now expect anywhere from 5 to 8 images and/or 2 -5 videos of products. Salsify states, “…nearly 70% of consumers chose a lack of product information as a reason they’ve left a page on a retail site.” Consumers are savvy. By giving them as much information as possible, your chances are better that you’ll make the sale. Nike traditionally posts about 7 images of individual sneakers, along with additional user-generated photos. Read Customer content is the best way to promote yourself to learn about user-generated content.
If you’re interested in learning more, just email Titus at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’ll let you try it for free!
Have you ever seen those hilarious Pinterest Fails? You know, the people who attempt the clever Pinterest DIY ideas and end up with a glob of dough or a completely unrecognizable decoration? That’s me. I, however, have more faith in you. That’s why I’ve put together a collection of 5 DIY consignment store window display ideas. Will yours be a success or failure?
Okay, you have to admit these would be fabulous in your consignment store window, particularly if you had a small fan that kept them moving! This idea comes from Oh Happy Day. Of course, it includes “easy-to-follow” instructions. One of the main design rules for store displays is to draw the eye with big, bold shapes and colors. Repetitive shapes give the eye a way to rest. Incorporate the colors of your logo or brand.
This one, believe or not, I’ve actually done. It’s an easier version of the movable pinwheels, but looks just as stunning on a large scale. Stick them on dowel rods painted green; lay out a section of AstroTurf and you have an instant garden for your store window. The instructions are here.
Summertime consignment store window displays should definitely include maps. Travel is summer’s biggest theme and the bigger the map, the better. The beauty of using old maps and photos is how easy it is to enlarge them. Take them to your nearest Staples store and have them create engineering blueprint size images. By creating only black and white images, you could spend as little as $8 for a 36″ x 48″ photo. Head to Home Depot and purchase MDF sheets. Use spray adhesive to attach the images to the MDF.
Group a number of related photos or maps as a backdrop by hanging them with fishing line from the ceiling. Add props and merchandise to complete the showcase. If you’re at a loss for vintage black and white photos, New Old Stock offers many for free or a very nominal fee. However, visiting your nearest thrift store can also turn up a number of interesting maps and photos as well.
Summer is also about red, white and blue at least in America. Anytime you can use these colors for a summertime display, your windows will pop. Here’s a suggestion just taking old picture frames (something that seems to be in abundance these days) and painting them. You could choose a mono-chromatic color scheme as well if you’re looking for something other than patriotic. These frames are also filled with interesting papers and gels to add an extra punch.
This was another inexpensive and clever idea I found. The designer used pieces of cut plywood and rope as the backdrop for a men’s store. One again, the suitcase helps to give a vacation feel to the window.
An article in All About Japan, titled Tokyo Dirt-Cheap Shopping Tour, states that resale shopping in Japan may offer up some better deals than in other countries. They reason that because closets are so small in most Japanese homes (which are pretty small as well) and residents are so fashion conscious, they’re generally turning their clothes over faster. Therefore, you can buy nearly new clothes for a fraction of the cost all the time. After a little research, I found 2 great examples of resale in Japan.
Don Don Down on Wednesday (affectionately known as D-D-DoW) is a popular resale shop with several dozen locations in Japan. This shop has one of the most unique discounting formulas I’ve seen. The price of items are marked by…fruits and vegetables. Yup, that’s right, fruits and veggies. Each item is assigned a fruit or vegetable tag that corresponds with a given price. The price drops every Wednesday thus explaining their very unique name. TokyoCheapo suggested, “it’s a fascinating The-Price-Is-Right-esque twist on the auction idea.” So, do you wait for your strawberry to become a mushroom, or do you buy now? The receipts are even printed with the appropriate fruits and vegetables. It looks like you’ve been to the grocery store rather than a clothing store.
D-D-DoW uses a very clever merchandising ploy too. They turn all of their mannequins away from the shopper. One reviewer said he kept apologizing as he bumped into what he thought were people in the aisles. This is a fun way to shake up the look of your shop.
New York Joe Exchange is another popular Japanese vintage shop. As you can see, their logo includes the universal recycling emblem. Plus, they’ve capitalized on the craze for all things American with their name and red, white and blue color scheme. This shop is unique because of their willingness to trade or, as we would term it, offer store credit. They buy items outright at 30% of their value or you can receive store credit for 60% of the value. New York Joe Exchange puts one very different twist on the regular trade concept. According to TokyoCheapo, the trade credit is good for that day only. You cannot carry your balance over. That’s one way to make sure your yen stays in one place.
For a thorough list of secondhand shops in Tokyo, take a look here. Or, use this list from Fashionista that comes complete with unique items they found at each store. With names like Peep Cheep, Mad Tea Party and Mouse, who wouldn’t want to shop there? One caveat a particular reviewer mentioned, “Mode-off is for 2nd hand clothes and is a treasure chest of finds…Have in your mind though, Japanese people tend to be rather slim and not too tall!!”
The Urban Dictionary defines the target effect as, “The result of going into a store, intending to buy a few things, and leaving with much more. Frequently happens while shopping at Target.” Admit it. It’s happened to you. You’ve gone into Target for toilet paper and come out with a dozen other just-couldn’t-resist items. I am guilty. You too can create the consignment store target effect. All it takes is a little design strategy.
Why do you think so many Target stores now have a Starbucks located at the front door? You will happily wander the aisles lingering over your frappuccino, that’s why. And, if there isn’t a premiere coffee shop up front, you’ll enjoy some other treat while shopping. The holidays are the perfect time to add a little of this consignment store target effect. Although a little extra cleanup at the end of the day might be required, delight you shoppers with a beverage as they come in. Depending on your location, choose hot apple cider or hot tea and coffee. You can even choose something a little more elegant like champagne.
Target stores are always well-lit and loaded with bright colors. The goal is to make shoppers feel happy. The aisles are wide, the shelves are full but not stuffed and everywhere you look, the colors pop. Part of your consignment store target effect should include the same. Curate your merchandise so that it’s easily within reach. Make sure your aisles are open and definitely avoid the “butt-brush” effect. Use the best store design layout for your space. Read Consignment store design that gets those shoppers buying. Use pops of color throughout your store to draw the eye.
Joe Perdew, Target’s Vice President of Store Design, says Target has “added features like dynamic product vignettes throughout the store that help guests envision how things will fit into their life.” In other words, like Walmart, put the band-aids next to the fishing hooks. People don’t add to their purchase until they see something they didn’t realize they needed to go with it. Help your customers visualize that complete living room or complete outfit by showing them what they need. Build your consignment store target effect by displaying brand new merchandise up front and center. Items on tables sell faster than items on racks.
In response to the target effect, the store has this to say, “Our in-store shopping experience facilitates a sense of inspiration and discovery through visual merchandising and curated product collections, while still making it easy for guests who want to stop in for a quick trip.” Obviously, Target has the funds to hire top-notch designers. They have the ability to test design and product presentation in their Minneapolis test store. Plus, they are currently remodeling over 1,000 of their US locations. But, you have the ability to make those small changes to create your own consignment store target effect. If you don’t show your shoppers what they need, they won’t know they need it. It’s really that simple.
I wish I could tell you, “Paint your store X color and you’ll increase sales by 100%.” Unfortunately, I can’t. Color is elusive. It evokes emotion. Likes and dislikes are determined by culture, gender, upbringing or age. Ask men what color is their favorite and they’ll say “blue,” “green,” or “red.” Ask a woman and she’ll say “teal,” “moss,” or “rose.” Everyone has a different interpretation of color. But, there are ways a secondhand store can use color to encourage shoppers to buy. It’s called the Psychology of Color.
As you can see by this 2014 infographic below, nearly 85% of consumers said color was the primary reason they purchased an item. When shoppers enter your secondhand store, it takes only 90 seconds for them to make a favorable or unfavorable decision about your shop. Plus, over half of shoppers never return to a store based on the look of it alone.
The colors your secondhand store chooses for branding, marketing and store design, do make a difference to the shopper. Choose wisely.
The above infographic shows that 80% of buyers think color increases brand recognition of a product or store. More than choosing the right color for your brand, consider choosing the right color for your target audience. Young adults and teens respond better to bright, bold colors. Older adults prefer subtle, softer colors. In the west, white is the color for purity and weddings. In China, white is the color of death. Read What does your resale store’s visual image communicate? Know your target market and you’ll know the colors to choose for your secondhand store.
Red is the color of action. Add a call-to-action button such as “Buy Now” in red or orange to your emails. Use red for all of your sale signs. On your website, always choose a very light color for the background. According to Small Biz Trends, “Choosing stark, complementary (2 colors on opposite sides of the color wheel) colors, creates an easy-to-read area.” Make sure your merchandise is the brightest element of the overall design.
The color of your secondhand store has the power to keep shoppers in or drive them out. Many stores paint walls pale green or blue to add a calming influence to their interior. A deep, rich green gives a feeling of affluence and quality. Yellow and orange are associated with joy and playfulness making them perfect for children’s stores. However, according to a study by the Journal of Business Research, “Patrons are 15% more likely to return to stores with blue color schemes than to those with orange color schemes.” Pink and rose are excellent choices for clothing stores. Neutral colors such as grey, beige and white offer a lot of opportunities for adding a pop of bolder, brighter colors. Whichever colors you choose make sure they align with your branding and target shopper.
Don’t forget lighting. The type of bulb makes a difference in the warmth and brightness. If you use colored lights, make sure they’re in the same color family as the merchandise your highlighting. Use pink lights for red and soft green for green and blue merchandise.
Sometimes, the day-to-day business of running a shop gets in the way of quality merchandising. Remember, your store’s front windows are the first big impression for shoppers to learn about you. They can set you apart from your competition and make you the most memorable store on your street. Branding isn’t just a logo and a sign. It’s so much more. Here are a few tips to build your brand through your display windows.
The bottom line, you are your store’s brand. As a small business owner, you cannot live, breathe and be something you’re not every day. So, part of building your store’s brand includes defining who you are. Is your personality outgoing and fun? Then your store’s brand should be too. Are you a bit more bohemian and kitschy? What about refined and classic? That’s your brand. Everything about your business, including your display windows, should reflect that. Read 5 sure-fire ways to beef up your shop’s brand identity to get more ideas.
In addition to a seasonal or sales merchandising schedule, keep a brand chart. Include on your store’s chart various props that you have or need for your display windows. Those props help build your brand. For instance, find bolts of fabric with your store’s logo colors. Choose mannequins based on your brand. Keep particular furniture display pieces on hand (but be willing to sell them if asked). Each of these items help highlight your brand. When you get ready to change your displays, you’ll have the tools you need to keep building.
Once again, keep your store’s brand in mind. Everything you do should reinforce who you are. You’re essentially telling a story. The story of you. If your brand is refined luxury, then the theme of your display windows should be luxurious with metal, glass and lights. Then, add your merchandise in around your brand theme, but make sure the way you reveal it builds your brand.
It doesn’t matter how attractive your display windows are. You are only what your customers say you are. Everything about your store communicates your brand message. Your physical location, the employees you’ve hired, the colors you’ve painted your store’s walls and even the smell of your store relay a message. Create an overall environment from the front to the back of your store.
Like all of us, I love to trek through antique malls, thrift shops and consignment stores. It’s all about the hunt for hidden treasure, right? But when I enter a store numerous times and see the same merchandise at the door, I question whether there’s any treasure left. After all, if the same items sit week after week or even month after month in the same spot, no one must be shopping there anymore. Slow-moving consignment inventory hurts more than your sales numbers. If you want your shop to look fresh, busy and popular, you have to keep your merchandise moving. Here are 4 ways to clear it out.
Inventory can become stale if it sits in one place too long. Sometimes, all it takes is moving merchandise to another location for it to even be noticed. If you must keep it in the same place due to size, weight, etc., create new signage, lighting or redesign a backdrop. Anything that brings new attention to old inventory is a must. If possible, shift slow-moving consignment inventory closer to the door for maximum exposure.
No store wants to purposely give product away. However, if you have merchandise that simply isn’t moving, it’s time to pair it with other items. By offering a “Buy 1, Get 1 Free” deal, your sales margins will be lower, but you’ll be moving inventory. Shoppers love the idea of getting something “free” too. Bundle an older item with new merchandise to give it a fresh look. Plus, reduce the price for the package and customers will love you for the deal you gave.
Traditionally, most consignment stores work on a 30, 60 or 90-day pricing period. By the end of a designated time, merchandise is automatically reduced. Sometimes, particularly slow-moving consignment inventory needs special sales incentives. Be sure to randomly schedule special sales so your customers aren’t waiting to make a purchase. Read 17 brilliant ideas for inventory reduction for some fun quick sale ideas. A pop-up or flash sale is exciting, but if you don’t have a strong social media following, it will flop. Be sure you’re prepared with outdoor signage (read Consignment marketing on a tight budget for some guerrilla marketing tactics), social media posts and an email blast when the need for a special sale arises.
When all else fails, it may be necessary to donate slow-moving consignment inventory. If you’ve already marked items down through your existing discount schedule and they still haven’t sold, it’s time to hand it over to a charity. By donating, you’ll not only clear your sales floor, but you’ll receive a tax deduction as well. Be sure you choose an IRS-qualified charity. The amount you can deduct can change according to how you’ve set up your business, so check with your accountant to find out what is available to you. Make sure your rules for donating are clearly stated in your consignment contract.