Accenture’s Annual Holiday Shopping Survey lists family, the environment and gift cards as the top concerns for 2019. As topics like “sustainability” and the “circular economy” become popular, so will consignment store shopping. Be sure to have what this year’s shoppers are looking for.
Brick-and-mortar stores are clearly alive and well. Package theft or “porch piracy” is making consumers wary of ordering online. Accenture’s survey reported 78% of respondents were taking steps to avoid becoming a victim. Luckily for small businesses, in-store shopping is one way to combat theft. Furthermore, a full 54% of shoppers stated browsing through stores gives them gift-giving “inspiration.” Delight every customer who comes through your door with the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas. Remember, there is less than a month from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Experts anticipate the top holiday shopping day for 2019 will be Shop Small Saturday!
Younger consumers care about the carbon footprint of companies. They want the company they purchase from to be transparent. According to the State of Fashion 2019, almost 90% of Generation Z consumers feel companies need to be concerned about the environment and social issues. The survey reported, “Rental, resale and refurbishment models lengthen the product lifecycle while offering the newness consumers desire.” The most sustainable, transparent and eco-friendly business by far is resale. It’s one more reason consignment store shopping is slated to become bigger than fast fashion by 2028. This holiday season, shout your “sustainability” friendliness. Educate shoppers how resale has been a part of the circular economy from the start.
The acceptance of consignment store shopping is here. Accenture stated, “nearly half (48%) of survey respondents said they would consider giving second-hand clothing as gifts, and even more—56%—said they would welcome gifts of this kind for themselves.” As in years past, gift cards and clothing hold top spots for holiday gift-giving. Remember, shoppers (especially Millennials) buy for every member of their family, including their pets. As a result, you’d be wise to add a few pet items for the holidays too. For the kids, offer impulse items such as toys, candy and beauty products for stockings. Consignment store shopping isn’t just for others. The average shopper spends over $100 on themselves during the holidays. Provide plenty of small extras for guilt-free personal shopping.
For other holiday ideas, read:
I have a love/hate relationship with email. Emails eat up my time. Countless marketing blogs appear by the hour, not day. Retail stats flood my inbox. Tricks of the trade are constant. I never know which ones to read. However, I do know email is the fastest form of communication. It’s the easiest to reach a target market and often the most engaging. This holiday, don’t break up with consignment emails.
You know the drill. Add a new consignor, get an email address. Check out a new customer, ask for an email address. There are countless opportunities to collect email addresses. To make sending consignment emails easier, choose an email marketing service. At Traxia, I’ve used 3 different email providers over the years. We started with iContact. If you have less than 500 contacts, you pay only $14 a month. Less if you pay annually. I can’t remember why we made the switch to Constant Contact. They offer a free trial and monthly payments of $20. Just as I was getting used to it, we switched to Mail Chimp. They offer a completely free version. I wish I could tell you one was better than the other. They all have their quirks, but all do a great job of delivering your message.
I saw this idea on Snap Retail and thought I’d share it with you. If you’re struggling with email ideas, here are 9 different topics to talk about.
I have read about, studied, researched, and stressed over subject lines. According to stats, if you don’t grab the reader’s attention within 5-8 seconds, you can forget about it. Here are some email suggestions from a company called SuperOffice.
Happy emailing this holiday season!
If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more.
For a few years, before I came to Traxia, I worked as the Children’s Ministry Director at our church. I headed a team of almost 50 volunteers to teach and nurture the children. Together, we ran everything from weekly lessons to summer Vacation Bible Schools and Christmas pageants. My team ranged from teenagers to 70-year-olds. Because they were volunteers, I felt a special need to be their cheerleader. How well do you know each one of your employees? How do you build a top-notch consignment store team?
I have quirks. It’s hard to believe, I know. Do not expect anything out of me before 10 am, but know I’m still working at 11 pm. I consider myself creative, but I like guidelines. The desire for perfection is my weakness. How well do you know your consignment store team’s personalities? It makes all the difference. Recently, Hubspot published 5 types of Personality Tests to Help You Learn About Your Team. They range from an in-depth Myers-Briggs test to The 5-Minute Personality Test. Making one of these tests a routine part of your hiring process helps you hire the best candidate. For instance, The 5-Minute Personality Test breaks people into either Lions, Otters, Golden Retrievers or Beavers. Knowing where your team falls, you’ll discover if you’re running a zoo or a consignment store.
At our quarterly volunteer training meetings, I always added a few team-building games. The very fact that you play games, builds a closer team. Download each of these and give them a try!
Just as there are fun team-building games, there are also fun sales training exercises. Getting your team to practice selling should be a regular habit. Download these exercises and keep them handy the next time you do training.
If you enjoyed reading this, click here for more.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com. He’ll let you try it for free!
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