It’s time to break out your most comfortable sweater and fall scented candle, autumn is here. Fall is an exciting time, the weather is changing, the leaves are turning red, and Halloween is right around the corner. With the arrival of a new season, everyone is ready to restock their closet with cardigans, sweaters, and boots. The New York Times‘s Penelope Green wrote the article “The Age of Consignment” highlighting the shortening life spans of items and speaking about the biggest names in consignment. We truly are in the age of consignment. With the rise of Facebook Marketplace and similar stores, consignment is now widely accepted. The global pandemic also played a big part in this realization. This only means it is the perfect time to market on consignment. Here are 3 ways to “pumpkin” spice up your consignment store this fall.
We all love sweaters, whether they’re oversized or fit just right they are the ultimate fall piece. This fall, spice things up with sweater deals such as buy one get one half off. This deal gets me every time, I end up buying more because the deal urges me to seize the opportunity. Take a look at what your competition and surrounding shops are doing as well. You must know what you’re competing against to have a fair fight. Feel free to use this graphic we made!
The beauty of consignment is that every item is unique, not only that it is also fairly priced, unlike most popular stores. Your customers can still find trendy pieces for the fall at consignment shops and they won’t match every other girl or guy in town. This also gives the customer the opportunity to buy more with their money. Remind your customers that there is only one of everything, they can’t go home and think about it because it will be gone by the time they come back.
As I was walking downtown during the weekend I caught myself being drawn to all the stores that decorated for fall in their big windows facing the street. This is such an easy way to attract people, like myself, who love the fall spirit. While you have the customer’s attention with your decor, promote your sales out there as well to complete the summoning of customers. You can find cute decorations anywhere you go, Walmart has many affordable options such as these plaid fabric pumpkins and fall maple leaf string lights that are sure to help your store look festive.
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A busy season is coming up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner. This means it’s time to boost your online consignment store sales! Shopify wrote about the importance of planning ahead for such events. Most of us judge businesses that promote a holiday way too soon but we should actually be learning from them. According to Forbes, last year’s Cyber Monday set a record of $9.4 billion in sales, compare that number to Black Friday’s $7.4 billion and Amazon Prime Day’s $4.2 billion. This means you can be one of the many consignment stores using their online resources to sell more and grow your clientele. In order to boost your online consignment store sales, you must have a presence on social media. Here are some easy ways to grow your store online.
Since we are on our phones all day long, the best way to market is to use your social media. Your posts can be pictures of clothes that can be found in your shop, a current sale, or announcing a new shipment. Get creative with it, the more you post you will start to gain traction. Promote your social media platforms by posting the name you can be found with on social media at the register. This is a time when the customers have nothing else to do except notice their surroundings. On your social media be sure to have valuable information, that will give them a reason to follow. For example, posting sales or coupons.
Speaking of free stuff, have contests, and giveaways on your Instagram frequently. First, you must choose a prize that suits the theme of your shop. Second, have criteria such as must follow your page and tag 3 friends in the comments. Make it interesting by adding that for every extra person tagged when entering they get an extra entry in the contest. Third, post this on your social media including the end date for entries. Doing this may seem silly but it’s a way to buy your customer’s love and form a better connection with your community.
We market ourselves every time we post on our personal social media which means your employees most likely have a good following of friends and family on social media. Have your employees pick out an outfit and go outside your store to have a little photoshoot in the natural light. Encourage your employee to post this on one of their platforms informing their friends of the current sales. This can also be used as a post on your store’s social media. I see this as a win-win, you are creating interesting content and also helping your staff feel more confident in themselves and their job.
Consistency is key when it comes to social media, it may take a while to see any results but get creative with it. You are moving the needle by simply posting. I have noticed that social media has become the new Google when it comes to searching for people and places. They want to see what you have to offer. Take matters into your own hands and make sure that your social media makes people want to come to check out your store!
People love to shop online, having an online option puts you in a great position. SimpleConsign’s Shopify plugin allows you to seamlessly transfer your in-store inventory to your online store. During times like this, it’s important to keep as many avenues open. Building an online platform for your consignment store is one of the strongest methods to stay afloat. Once you have the Shopify plugin you may also sell on Facebook Live; this is a fun way to reach those at home.
If you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy advice on growing a Pinterest account.
I must give credit where credit’s due, National Consignment Day came about because The RealReal established it as an official holiday in 2017. National Consignment Day 2020 is on October 5th, it takes place annually on the first Monday of every October. This holiday is made to bring awareness of our circular economy which is what consignment is all about. I know that 2020 has been a hard year for us all but we should all do our best to adapt.
We all have to wear them, why not have fun with them? For National Consignment Day, your store can have a stand where people can enter the contest. Have them sign a sheet with their contact info, and be sure to take a picture of each contestant. You can encourage each contestant to follow your Instagram or your choice of platform to see the winner. This gives the customer a reason to follow your store which earns you some quick followers. Of course, you must decide on a prize for the winner, I’d suggest a discount or a gift card to your store!
On National Consignment Day have an area in your store designated for, socially distanced, pictures. Have your customers pose for a picture and post them on your social media using the hashtag #NationalConsignmentDay. The background for this image can be your store with a simple sign that says National Consignment Day 2020. You have your community to thank for your shops’ success, show them your appreciation in your post.
National Consignment Day focuses on our circular economy, as a consignment shop you have already played a huge role in helping the circular economy. As a consignment store, you have a duty to share the beauty of the circular economy. By having a donation event, your store will bring awareness to the matter and motivate more people to donate clothes and items they no longer need. Create an event where members of the community to drop off clothing items on National Consignment Day to donate to your favorite place in town. If you need extra hands for this task you can also invite people to volunteer to help. It may seem small but it’s a wonderful way to promote helping the circular economy and bring good attention to your shop.
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With only 1 Saturday left for shopping, you need to make the most of every opportunity. Double up on social media, customer service, and merchandising. Here’s a quick recap of what you should be doing during this last week of a very short resale shopping season.
What’s the one thing shoppers can’t get at a big box store? Personal service. In my 4th Quarter Marketing Tips, I encourage store owners to concentrate on the customer. Shopping mayhem and employee weariness get in the way of phenomenal customer service. Make sure this is still your focus. Encourage your employees to keep smiles on their faces. Remember, even a small gift like pastries in the morning, pizza in the afternoon, or even just a hand-written thank you note can go a long way to cheer up your staff. If not already, be an active participant on your sales floor. Go the extra mile.
Hashtags are the perfect way to get in front of shoppers during this short resale shopping season. Create your own store hashtag as well, this allows for all your posts to be found in one place and can encourage your customers to use it. You can create multiple hashtags with different purposes, such as a hashtag for your sales. Using trending hashtags is an excellent way to gain more followers, this is because Instagram allows you to follow hashtags. Not only do they do that, but they also let the user know when they have liked multiple pictures with the same hashtag to encourage them to follow the hashtag. Finding popular hashtags is the key to growing an Instagram following, here are some popular holiday hashtags.
Your store needs to be spotless during this season. Assign the task of checking on dressing rooms, clearing your cash wrap, and maintaining the racks and shelving throughout the day. Part of excellent customer service includes the organization and look of your store.
Even though this is your busiest season, it’s still the best time to add contact information for new customers. With SimpleConsign, a cashier can add a new customer directly from the Checkout Tab. Every cashier should be asking if a customer wishes to receive notices about special events and sales to gain contact information.
Billions are lost each year to shoplifting. Stay vigilant. Post signs that say “Shoplifters Will Be Prosecuted.” Remind your salespeople what your procedure is when a shoplifter is suspected.
If you enjoyed reading this, here are more holiday ideas.
During my early years as a salesperson, our sales training involved listening to multiple Zig Ziglar tapes. That guy was the cheeriest man I ever listened to. The number one lesson I learned was to always put myself in the customer’s shoes. That person is always thinking, “What’s in it for me?” According to The Retail Doctor Blog, I’ve been asking all the wrong questions during my lengthy years of selling. Have you or your employees asked your consignment shoppers these questions?
Now, when I first read this I thought, “Well, why wouldn’t I ask that question?” The usual response you receive is “fine” which immediately ends the conversation. Plus, The Retail Doctor asked, “Do you really care?” Of course I care. Well, sometimes I care. Okay, so maybe I don’t really care, but what am I supposed to ask instead? The first communication you have with your consignment shoppers sets the tone. Vend suggests having a variety of greetings on hand. Ask, “Are you enjoying your afternoon?” If you recognize the shopper, ask “What brings you in to see us again?” Finally, try and find something you like and genuinely say, “I like your … (shoes, coat, scarf, etc.) Where did you get them/it?” I certainly love it when I’m surprised by a cheery salesperson. Or, when I hear “My pleasure” after I order my chicken sandwich at a Chick-Fil-A. So, it’s time to get more creative as you greet those consignment shoppers coming in the door.
A customer often gives the rote response of, “I’m just looking” and then the conversation is completely dead. As The Retail Doctor points out, not every shopper is looking for something but all shoppers do have a problem. Whether it’s the need to kill 30 minutes of time before a meeting, or they’re looking for the perfect dress for an upcoming event, they have a problem that you need to fix. So what questions should a savvy sales associate ask? For furniture consignment, ask “What room gets a makeover today?” For clothing consignment, ask “What special event are you shopping for today?” A children’s resale shop should ask, “Which color…pink or blue?” Make the shopper give you more than a “yes” or “no” answer to keep the conversation going. If you still get the “I’m just looking” response, try and make another connection. Ask “Would you like a basket?” or “Would you like me to hold your cup of coffee at the counter so you can shop easier?”
Although the intention of connecting with your consignment shoppers is good, you’re starting off with a negative. As Vend writes, “Every interaction should be positive.” Try instead, “Are you managing to stay dry with all this rain?” Or, “Are you enjoying all the sunshine we’ve been having?” Vend also stresses the importance of “reading” your customers. Watch their body language. Are they shy? Then, they will be uncomfortable with too many questions. Pick up on verbal cues. Is their tone angry? Find something to genuinely compliment them about. Always make eye contact.
There are 3 types of consignment store shoppers. The “Treasure Hunter,” the “Econo-Shopper” and the “Eco-Shopper.” You need to market to them differently. So, I’m here to help. I’ve come up with 3 separate consignment store marketing ideas to help you reach each special consignment store shopper.
Stores like T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Tuesday Morning are killing it in the discount retailer’s market. Why? Their inventory changes constantly. Let’s face it, all three stores have overstuffed clothing racks and shelves with candles and housewares spilling over. Shoppers don’t expect amazing personal service. The thrill of the hunt keeps customers coming back. The “Treasure Hunter” consignment store shopper also needs to have that incredible “seek and find” experience. Your store doesn’t need to look like a bursting-at-the-seams Marshalls in order to have shoppers tingling with excitement. However, your marketing should capitalize on the excitement of discovering that one-of-a-kind hidden gem. For one of my kick a** consignment store marketing ideas, here’s a suggested Facebook ad you can download!
This customer has been the lifeblood for the consignment, thrift and resale industries for decades. The “Econo-Shopper” is always looking for a bargain. They want or need to save money. Buying great merchandise at a tremendous discount, gives them the ability to brag about it. The trick is to promote the advantage of consignment store shopping without cheapening your merchandise. Avoid discount sales whenever possible. Add value instead. Read Stop the cycle of discounting. Nowadays, just because someone shops second-hand doesn’t mean they can’t afford to pay full price. Here’s another one of my consignment store marketing ideas that you can download and post on your social media.
Download and use in social media
They’re known as value-driven shoppers. The health of the planet is the “Eco-Shoppers” motivation. Younger generations especially have a passion for the environment and for righting the social wrongs of big industry. According to Sustain Your Style, fast fashion is the second largest polluter in the world. Consignment, whether furniture or fashion, is the ultimate solution. Your consignment store marketing ideas should teach customers to be ethical consumers. By shopping in your store, they’re making a difference in the environment. Let them feel pride in shopping local too. Read The interesting truth about the resale industry. Reprint this infographic for store fliers or use as a special post.
Conventional wisdom says discounting merchandise brings in more sales. Discounting is never a long-term strategy. If you want to attract shoppers for the short term, offer discounts. These customers will leave you sooner rather than later when they’re off to find the next, best deal. To build a solid base of loyal customers, focus on creating value and setting your shop apart. Here are 3 alternatives to stop the cycle of discounting.
A Harvard Business School study determined that people are motivated by 4 different biological drives. Here are the first 2:
Most shops normally focus (without realizing it) on the first 2 drives to gain new customers and make sales. What if instead, you focused on the last 2 drives:
Discounting tends to erode the consumer’s view of your brand value. In other words, if you discount often, you are only viewed as the cheapest place to shop. Instead, charge full price and add an item or service as a bonus. Read 3 sure-fire consignment cross-selling and upselling tips. For a short time, offer a free gift with the purchase of an item. Add free delivery on furniture buys or partner with another business such as a hair salon and offer a special discount. In the mind of the shopper they are getting greater value even when paying full price. Make sure you put a time limit on the offer so that it creates a sense of urgency too.
Today’s consumer is bombarded by messages. If your marketing efforts aren’t segmented to target groups of shoppers, your message will be ignored. Get a better understanding of your key customers by using an online survey (such as SurveyMonkey’s free survey), a printed survey that you use as a bag-stuffer or even your Facebook Insights page to gain in-depth information about your shoppers and fans. Target specific shoppers with specific messages about specific merchandise they want and you’ll not only have a greater chance of making a sale, but you will be building relationship at the same time.
Don’t let the leasing vs. buying question overwhelm you. Take a look at some of the pros and cons. Then, make a decision on which is best for your consignment store property. No matter what you choose, remember it’s always location, location, location!
There’s a lot to consider when deciding between buying or leasing. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll still have store expenses such as insurance, salaries, utilities, display fixtures, hardware, software, labels, signage, etc. Consider these factors when choosing:
Finally, the wisdom that only Dave Ramsey, the financial guru can provide, “…put your business on solid ground, slowly and steadily. Lease your space and use your money to reinvest in your business. Make it grow. Once your business is really rocking, you can consider getting into the real estate business.”
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: