How to photograph for online consignment sales

Online consignment sales are becoming big business

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.

1.) Use your camera phone

Online consignment sales can be done using your cell phone for photos

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.

2.) Keep it steady

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.

3.) The importance of lighting

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.

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4.) Your backdrop

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.

5.) Change the focus

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.

6.) The number of photos

The number of photos expected by age for online consignment sales

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.

Make taking and uploading photos a breeze

SimpleConsign's photo app makes adding photos to your site a breeze

SimpleConsign web based consignment software has our very own integrated photo app. Taking photos and posting them for online sales is incredibly easy.

  • Select photos from your phone’s gallery and instantly upload 1 or more to SimpleConsign.
  • Choose the primary image using your phone.
  • Keep working while photos upload in the background.
  • Pair your device using a QR code (available in SimpleConsign settings).
  • The item list now shows the consignor’s ID.
  • Compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android.
  • Images optimized for both desktop and mobile.

If you’re interested in learning more, just email Titus at He’ll let you try it for free!

Let’s look at the future of resale in 2017

What is the future of resale?

What does 2017 have in store for you? For some of you, you’re fearful. For others, your view of the future looks strong. Regardless of your personal outlook, resale’s future (consignment, thrift or buy outright) is looking better and brighter. Consumers are smarter than ever and resale needs to keep up. Take a look in my crystal ball and see into the future of resale.

Going Mobile is in the future of resale

Everything is going mobile. DeviceAtlas says 87% of smartphone owners keep their phones by their side at all times. Resale must become completely mobile in 2017. Currently, over 90% of smartphone users start their shopping journey on their phone. Your website or e-commerce site has to be “responsive” or mobile-friendly. Check to see what it looks like on a variety of desktops and phones by viewing it on Responsive Design Checker. Believe it or not, it’s not essential for you to do online sales. Your shop just needs to be found online. Statistics show that 3 out of 4 shoppers are more likely to visit a local shop if they’ve successfully found information they’re searching for online. Read Shopify’s article,”7 Ways to Make Your Brick and Mortar Store Mobile Friendly.” In the future, shops will need to provide mobile payment solutions, in-store WiFi connections and digital receipts.

Becoming Data Savvy is in the future of resale

Look closely at the data that’s available about your customers, consignors, inventory and sales. Today’s shoppers want a personalized shopping experience. To woo them into your store, you better have what they’re looking for. Remember, understanding your shoppers buying habits has never been more important. Your POS system should show you a customer’s buying history as well as your top and bottom consignors for any given time period. think with Google reports, “Shoppers want stores to provide experiences tailored just for them; 85% say they’d be more likely to shop in places that offer personalized coupons and exclusive offers in-store.” Collecting all types of data is key to your shop’s growth.

Capitalizing on our Size is in the future of resale

The resale industry is primed for growth in 2017. As shoppers increasingly turn to smaller stores and avoid the big “box” stores, resale is in a good position. Shoppers aren’t willing to wander down aisle after aisle looking for an item. They’ll visit a smaller store or purchase online for convenience sake. After all, it’s trendier to visit that small little boutique rather than a department store. For example, Target announced this past fall that it plans to open hundreds of smaller stores. They’re recognizing that the smaller the shop, the easier it is to fit into urban areas which opens a whole new audience. Plus, the smaller the shop, the quicker a shopper can get in and out making visiting a shop vs. buying online more attractive.

Making the most of our Purpose is in the future of resale

trends suggests that specialty stores will “win” in the coming year. Their inventory is limited, making their items more desirable. In addition, they’re viewed as providing more personalized service. Stores that are good for the environment will get the most attention. Sustainability and eco-friendliness are a Millennials best friends. They’re not interested in just making a purchase. They want to invest in companies that make a difference in the world around them.

Words to look for in 2017

“Personalization” Although it’s been around awhile, personalization refers to making a personal connection between the shopper and store.

“Retailtainment”  This term will be used as stores increasingly build an in-store experience around shopping. Read How to make shoppers happy with simple resale-tainment.

“Cognitive Commerce” A big hairy term for looking at your data to make decisions for your business.

4 retail stats consignment and resale needs to watch

Consignment and resale must keep an eye on these shopping trends

I’m not good with statistics. In fact, the word “statistics” alone can cause a flush of nervousness. Sometimes, I have to hush the inner math-challenged me and take a closer look. So, I read The National Retail Federation’s  “Spotlight on Modern Retail 2015.” It’s a compilation of statistics on a number of different subjects affecting retail. There are some interesting insights that consignment and resale can glean from the results too. Unfortunately, there was a lot more to it, but I have included only 4…the 4 I could understand.

1.) 44% of consumers regularly research purchases online before going to a store

Being found online is no longer an added feature to your shop. It’s a necessity. Research found “4 out of every 5 consumers look for advice before they make a purchase, and they’re often turning to social media.” You need to have a Facebook page for your shop. Also, make sure you’re listed on sites such as Yelp, Yahoo Local and Merchant Circle. Regularly check shopper’s reviews and reply kindly to the ones who make negative comments

2.)  One in five holiday shoppers were influenced by email advertising

That may not seem like a lot at first, but when you think about the size of your email list, that can be the difference between an average holiday shopping season and a phenomenal one. Email is still a strong purchasing influencer. If you can target particular shoppers with offers they are specifically interested in, it makes a huge difference.

3.)  Use of coupon websites grew dramatically

The Federation’s research found that the rise in using coupon sites grew from only 1.8% in 2013 to over 6% in 2014 holiday shopping. More than ever before, consumers are looking for a bargain and our industry needs to capitalize on that fact. By promoting “great prices without a coupon” or offering actual coupons on your Facebook page or in emails, you can increase a shopper’s likelihood of buying from you.

4.) Mobile sales grew by 87%

At one time, there was a separation between a shop that was online and a shop that had a physical location. Now, more than ever, stores are finding ways to implement both. The concept of mobile sales is changing rapidly. From purchasing online to purchasing with your phone, technology is taking over how today’s consumers shop.
For SimpleConsign customers, we offer an eCommerce solution that’s perfect for expanding to online sales.