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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
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.
With bedrock stores like Sears filing for Chapter 11, many others are running scared. Some analysts suggest the rise in online shopping means physical stores will become a thing of the past. However, according to recent reports, over 70% of shoppers still like to see a product in store before they buy it. As a result, retailers are fighting back and changing the way they do business. Consignment stores should too. Here are 7 tips on how to take on your store’s holiday competition and win!
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, wrote an article titled, How should independents prepare for Black Friday? He suggested shops gather items throughout the store that have been there awhile and slash prices. For consignment stores, choose the “I’m-not-sure-my-customers-will-like-it-but-I’ll-consign-it-anyway” items and gather merchandise that has converted to store inventory. Discount those items heavily and add them to a special sale section in the back. If Black Friday shoppers are looking for bargains, you’ll have them.
Black Friday was made for the deal. It’s designed to bring in a crowd with a loss leader and count on them spending more. Instead of emphasizing your merchandise, create an event. MarTechSeries, a marketing tech company, says 60% of consumers are willing to attend a store event, but only 23% have ever been invited. Events are your “secret weapon” against your store’s holiday competition. Consider these dates:
Of course, you can always create your own holiday too. Publicize the event on your website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and in-store. Also, assign someone the special task of photographing for additional publicity.
Every person that enters your store is a gift. With the rise of online shopping, brick and mortar will only thrive if they offer what online can’t…personal service. Your shop should look, feel and smell like the holidays. Here’s a few ideas to boost your service and your bottom line.
These days, it’s all about the experience. Create a relaxed atmosphere. Show shoppers how they can get the best without spending the most. Have your sales team read, 10 customer service tips your sales team needs to adopt today.
Nowadays, video is the medium of choice. From Facebook live to short, animated videos, start using them. I wouldn’t watch a video of someone making an Amazon buy, but I would enjoy seeing fun, behind-the scenes antics of your store. If you do furniture consignment, create vignettes with your merchandise and video shoppers enjoying them. Highlight your salespeople and tell a funny fact about each one. Poke fun at the owner or manager. Show a shopper entering the dressing room. Then, cut immediately to her appearing in her new outfit. Make videos that are short, light-hearted and fun. Even something as simple as Ripl, can dramatically increase engagement in your Facebook posts.
Who’s looking for a fun contest idea that draws shoppers into your store and builds your brand? (This is where you raise your hand.) I mentioned ShortStack in an earlier post. Head over and see the many free contest templates they offer. Choose from a quiz, photo contest, giveaway or any of the other templates they provide. As always, add a store-specific hashtag and promote the heck out of it.
You and your employees are ultimately the biggest asset to your consignment business. Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-founder of Vera Bradley, quoted her father as once saying, “In business, you sell yourself first, your business second and the product third.” As I shared in, 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand, you are your business. Invest in relationships. Take care of yourself and your employees. It will ultimately show on the sales floor. Even the smallest gesture of kindness will reap great rewards. At Vera Bradley, employees receive a $50 bill in their birthday card each year. As the company has grown, the payroll department asked if they could just put extra money in an employee’s paycheck. Baekgaard refused. She feels that cash is more personal and much more tangible. I would agree.
The only way to take on your store’s holiday competition is to face the #1 reason shoppers don’t buy secondhand. They’re uncomfortable buying items previously used by someone else. As one potential customer put it, “All of this belonged to dead people.” To combat that image, make sure your shop is as clean as it can possibly be. Curate your merchandise and purge the junk. Be diligent about the way your store smells. Make it clear, you only accept items that are in perfect condition. If necessary, tie-in with a local dry cleaner. Let customers know your clothing is cleaned and ready to wear. Often, some consignment and resale shops are their own worst enemies. Remember, it isn’t just about your store, it’s about the perception of resale overall. Let’s work together and we can win out over your store’s holiday competition.
When your resale store has a strong brand, you become much easier to remember. Think about Target or Walmart. You know what to expect from them. The look of their stores, their marketing materials and the type of products they offer are consistent around the world. Building your resale brand requires consistency too. See if you can answer “Yes” to these 8 questions.
Establishing a solid brand identity gives your resale store the parameters it needs for all aspects of your business. When you place a Facebook ad, consider a new employee or change the color of your store, you can ask yourself, “Does this fit our brand?” Plus, having a consistent resale brand automatically raises the perception of your store in the eyes of consumers. It helps our industry as a whole too. Take the time. Start building your resale brand today. To learn more about branding and see how Traxia builds our brand, read 6 tips to build your secondhand store’s brand.
The terms “Brand” and “Branding” are widely used in marketing. To “brand” means to set your product apart by putting your identifying mark on it. According to Entrepreneur, your brand is derived from “who you are, who you want to be and who people perceive you to be.” Our goal at Traxia is to be a partner for those in the secondhand industries. We work hard at encouraging. Because the life of a secondhand shop owner is incredibly stressful, we also believe in spreading a little joy. Do our photos convey that image?
Here are 6 easy steps to build your secondhand store’s brand identity.
To define your secondhand store’s special brand, ask yourself these important questions:
What makes my store unique? List specific benefits and features of your store.
What do my current and potential shoppers already think about my store? Is their perception positive?
How can I build upon my existing image or change it to create a better one?
Shoppers identify with people, not logos or buildings. When creating your secondhand store’s brand, you want to build an emotional bond, a relationship. The Traxia Team is extremely family oriented. Our offices include a separate playroom set aside for the many children who stop by to visit their daddies or grandpas. It’s not uncommon to have kids wandering (more like running) from office to office. Because we emphasize family within our organization, we want to create that same “brand” with our customers. We truly see them as family, as a part of our Team. Who are you? If you’re lighthearted and funny, make sure your store conveys that. If you’re sophisticated, your brand should be too. Remember, you are building an emotional bond.
Your secondhand store’s brand foundation is your logo. You need a solid, easy-to-read image that can be instantly recognized as you. Whether it’s your name in a particular typeface and color, or an actual design image, make sure you use it consistently. This is the first impression a shopper may have of you. Splash it across everything. Over the years, Traxia has gone through a number of logos until we settled on our current one. I refer to them as “the happy people.” Once again, we’re conveying our image. One of our main goals is to be a support tool for the consignment, resale and antique mall industries. SimpleConsign, our web based software, is just one aspect. We’re constantly growing from the wisdom of these 3 types of secondhand businesses.
Although obvious, some shop’s forget that your profile photo is the picture that appears in a Facebook news feed comment, a reply or a retweet. Your profile picture should always be your logo. However, sizes vary for profile photos. What works for Facebook may not work for Pinterest, Instagram or other media sites. If your name and/or logo is a different shape or ratio than the standard size, consider recreating it into a square format. Never cut off any text or part of your logo design. Here are the latest social media image sizes according to Constant Contact.
Looking for a great way to communicate who you are and what you sell? Take advantage of the larger space on your Facebook and Twitter cover images. Don’t be afraid to change it up, and regularly. If you’re looking for customers to return time and time again, you have to give them something new and different. Use bold images and graphics. Facebook now allows you to use video as your cover image too. Check out SimpleConsign’s here. Make sure the typeface remains consistent through all of your headlines and subheads. As followers scroll through your Twitter and Facebook feeds, they should get a consistent feel for your business and your brand identity not only by what they read, but also by what they see.
Consistency is the key to a solid secondhand store’s brand identity. If you want to be known as the expert in consignment, resale or antiques then you need to communicate it. If you want to be viewed as a trend maker or the friendliest shop in town, then make that clear in every piece of advertising that goes out of your store. Choose your purpose. Then, come up with a slogan or tagline for your shop that matches. Reading our customer’s testimonials, you will quickly realize that the friendliness and helpfulness of our team is what most remember. That is what Traxia’s brand is and we’re working hard to maintain it.
This article has been updated from the original posted on 02/13/15
This post has been revised from a blog post originally written on June 25, 2014
Generally speaking, summer is the time for families to change up their routine and kick back a little. It’s also a great time to reach shoppers through social media. Make sure this summer you have a fun summer marketing event that reminds your shoppers why they love you.
Pick a theme for this summer marketing event. A clothing consignment shop can highlight favorite outfits customers have bought to wear on a special summer date. Or, outfits to wear at the beach. If you’re a children’s shop, consider a photo contest of kids in outfits for summer play. A furniture consignment shop could feature “rooms where I do my summer reading” or “my favorite spot on lazy summer days.” Of course, all of these ideas must feature merchandise purchased in your shop. Customers submit their photos matching your theme with your special contest hashtag. Draw a winner randomly or have visitors to your Facebook page vote for their favorite. Your prize must be worthy of the time required to take and upload a photo. Consider a tie-in with a local restaurant for dinner, tickets for a family outing or merchandise giveaways. Read Why you should use Facebook contests.
I always take those surveys such as “What sports car are you most like” or “Which world leader do you most closely resemble.” They’re fun and a great way to build new leads. Set up your survey around your merchandise. Ask questions about different styles of clothing or design. Most stores can ask, “Do you consider your style casual or sophisticated?” Pose a variety of questions and give customers 4 answers to choose from. At the end of the survey, show the respondent items from your shop that fit their answers. Design your quiz on Interact. They offer a free version that’s extremely easy to set up. However, you don’t receive email leads from the free trial. Sign up for the annual plan and create as many fun quizzes as you like. Here’s mine, Find out which resale-loving celebrity is just like you.
Did you know August 1st is National Girlfriends Day or August 6th is Friendship Day? Both of those are a perfect time to host a summer marketing event encouraging customers to bring a friend to shop. Serve punch and cookies, offer special discounts or a grand prize giveaway. Be sure to collect the email addresses of everyone who attends. Holiday Insights lists unusual holidays for every month of the year. Pick an odd one like July 27 which is Take Your Pants for a Walk Day and offer a special price on every pair of pants in the store.
Every resale shop should be celebrating this special holiday on August 17. Even though it’s on a Thursday this year, this summer marketing event should be a big one. Take time to promote the 3 Rs…Recycle, Reuse and Reduce. Read How to be a leader for Generation Z consignors to get some great ideas for younger shoppers. This holiday is a perfect day to clear out summer merchandise and get ready for fall. Create a special Clearance Countdown over a 4-week period. Start the week of July 16 offering a 25% off discount on all summer merchandise. The second week, offer 50% off and the third week offer a 75% discount. End the promotion on National Thriftshop Day with a “Buy-the-Bag” sale.
Get your customers shopping early. 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 a memory for all ages.
It’s no surprise, consumers are changing the way they shop. Now, more than ever, shoppers are searching online and then heading to the actual brick and mortar store to buy. Therefore, the information you put online is more important than ever. You have to be found online daily with unique photos, fun quotes and engaging questions. First, determine which social media site is right for your business. Marketing experts say it’s best to focus on no more than 3, but how do you know which 3? Here’s some demographic information I gleaned from SocialMedia Today to help you decide.
Facebook is the most widely used social media site, especially in the resale industry. Currently, there are 1.9 billion (yes, with a “b”) unique monthly users. Demographics are 83% of online women and 75% of online men. More than 9 out of 10 US Millennials (ages 18-34) are regular Facebook users. Plus, Generation X (ages 35-49) loves Facebook when it comes to their smart phones. Interestingly, 75% of users spend 20 minutes or more on Facebook every day. It’s viewed almost everywhere…at work, home, on a phone or on a desktop. Contrary to popular opinion, there is no “best” day or time to post. Use their analytics to figure out the best time for your shop. Make sure your cover image is 820 x 312, your profile photo is 170 x 170, your link image size is 1230 x 627 and a shared image should be 1200 x 630. Read 8 Facebook failures you don’t want to make before you dive in.
Twitter is strongest among 18 to 29 year olds. It’s popularity is slightly greater among males over females. Interestingly, over half of Twitter users never post any updates. Users only spend an average of 2.7 minutes on Twitter per day. Twitter is also used everywhere and at all times, but more often during down times such as lunch or breaks. A photo that is either square or landscape in format should always be used.
Pinterest is a social media site dominated by women and its followers are fairly evenly distributed between the generations. They tend to have a middle to higher income average. You’ll find the highest activity on Pinterest is in the evening. Shoppers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to make a purchase on eCommerce than users of other social sites. Thumbnail photos placed on your boards should be 222 x 150. Your regular pin can be 600 x any dimension.
Instagram is extremely popular and the fastest growing site. Predominately female, over 90% of Instagram users are under the age of 35. They also tend to live in urban areas. About half of US adult Instagram users access it daily and over half of them use it to follow brands. Square images on Instagram need to be 1080 x 1080. Vertical images need to be 1080 x 1350 and horizontal images need to be 1080 x 566.
LinkedIn is a very different type of social media site. It has always been strongest among men and with the more affluent. Interestingly, LinkedIn users are slightly less likely to use other social networks. Run timely articles about your products and industry to appeal to its users.
Excellent photos are vital to your success on social media. These are 2 fun, easy apps I really enjoy using to make my photos more interesting.
PicMonkey is free to use and offers a myriad of options from adding filters, to text to frames. They even let you touch up such things as wrinkles and skin tones (something I’m particularly fond of). PicMonkey Royale is only $33 a year and I think it’s well worth the price to get the added features.
Canva is also free and provides a lot of different design options from Facebook cover photos to posters to invitations. They also supply excellent tutorials on how to use the Canva service.
Post a photo of:
Young Women’s Clothing Consignment
Women’s Upscale Clothing Consignment
My job involves marketing SimpleConsign on social media. In addition, I watch the Facebook pages of our customers and potential customers too. Facebook is the window into a shop’s soul. It shows how vibrant, busy and successful a shop is. Likewise, Facebook failures reveal how unorganized, unconcerned and unsuccessful a shop can be. Each one of the examples shown below is from a completely different shop, in a completely different part of the country. All of them are currently open for business. What does your Facebook page tell about you?
1. The question asked in August of 2015, “Do you still have a storefront?” Obviously, this shop isn’t doing a good job of looking open and busy. Plus, their business hours either aren’t posted or aren’t being regularly kept.
2. Over a month later, a similar question is asked, “Did you all move or just close?” Notice this question is being asked at 4:07 pm which is a perfectly reasonable time to assume the shop would be open.
Not answering questions or comments has to be the number 1 Facebook failure. After all, Facebook is about building community and a social relationship with your fans. Answer every question that’s asked on your Facebook page immediately. Because 2 people who were eager to shop didn’t know if the shop was even open, they lost potential income. Remove older questions after a certain amount of time. There’s no reason to still be seeing questions that were asked almost 2 years ago. Especially if they weren’t even answered.
3. Not only do you need to know the correct size for a Facebook Cover Image, you need to be selective about the photo you choose too. A picture of the front of your shop is perfect for your Cover Image. Before posting though, take a good look at the photo. Preferably, the only sign you want to see is your business sign and never a “Closed” sign.
Constant Contact provides a great cheat sheet on all of the sizes you should use on social media.
Facebook lets you test the look of your image before you post it. Take the time to view it beforehand and make sure it conveys the correct message.
4. Once again the question is, “Are you still in business?” Asked at 1:16 pm, so there is absolutely no reason for this Facebook failure.
5. Almost a year ago, another person asked about merchandise. There are no new photos. In fact, the photo at the top is of a chair that was featured in 2013. Either that chair has zero chance in he** it will be sold or someone isn’t updating their Facebook with photos of new merchandise.
6. When your shop goes online with social media, potential shoppers can view your merchandise at any time of the day or night. This customer was obviously browsing into the wee hours of the morning, a perfect time to look for a new couch or dress. By posting in all caps, she’s a bit peeved about the lack of attention too.
7. It’s been over 3 years since the last photo of new merchandise was added. This Facebook failure is why customers are wondering if this shop is even open.
8. A Facebook page may already exist for your business even if you didn’t create it. Facebook gives a number of reasons why a page gets created. You need to check Google to see if an “unofficial” page is sitting out there. If it is and you haven’t set one up for your shop yet, be sure to claim it.
I have a lot more examples of Facebook failures that I’ll share with you in the future. For help in keeping up with your Facebook page, read another blog post titled, 3 steps to add some Facebook TLC.
A number of business owners we speak with will decide to open a consignment shop purely because they like thrift shopping. They know a good bargain when they see one. In fact, their basement is filled with them. They mistakenly believe this translates into becoming a business owner. The #1 way to be a successful consignment shop owner is to acknowledge you’ve opened a business, not enlarged a hobby.
Many shop owners say opening a consignment shop had been a dream they had had for years. Entrepreneurs in the resale industry often think it’s easier to open this type of shop because there’s no inventory to purchase. They quickly learn the truth. Even more than a dream, you need a solid business plan. Research the industry. Know your product. Study the competition. Read Starting a Consignment Business – Step 1. Remember, it’s never too late to revisit or create a solid business plan.
A phone conversation goes like this, “Hi, I want to ask about your software.” “Sure, tell me about your business.” “We’re signing the lease for the basement area under my sister’s hair salon. I’ve borrowed a computer from my cousin and I’ve handwritten all of our tags. Once we start making money, I’ll add an actual cash drawer.” I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to scream in the phone, “Please, please don’t open a business!” A successful consignment shop owner makes an investment. Not just an investment in time, but in money too. Purchase reputable software. Invest in quality hardware. Have reserve funds to tap into during the slow times. Create an attractive shop with in-demand merchandise in the best location possible. If you can’t do these things, perhaps now isn’t the time to open your shop.
A successful consignment shop owner understands that you can’t go it alone. You need a solid support system. Take time to hire top-notch full and part-time employees. Invest time in training them so you can trust them to work independently. Build a network with other shop owners either in your community or across the country. Find a mentor to counsel with for business and personal needs.
What is the saying? “If you build it, they will come.” Well, not when it comes to owning a store. In order to be a successful consignment shop owner, you have to recognize that advertising has to be a top priority. If you don’t have the skills or the time to market your shop correctly, find someone who can. There’s no excuse. You must have a vibrant, active social media presence. By golly, it’s free! Many younger aged students fully grasp the power of successful Facebook and Pinterest pages or Twitter and Instagram accounts. They would be happy to assist you for a small wage or even store credit. The other saying? “Get ‘er done.”
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read a Yelp review of a consignment shop and the reviewer states, “No one even spoke to me the entire time I was in the store.” Or, “This store is dingy and smells bad.” Or, my personal favorite, “When are you open? You never seem to be open when I come!” Details, details, details. These are simple ideas, but you would be surprised at the number of consignment shop owners who do not pay attention to the details.
It’s the old “which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” discussion. Did you chose your location and then determine your merchandise based on the location’s demographics? Or, did you decide your merchandise and then find a location with the people who want to buy what you offer? However you chose to begin, knowing who your customers are is the difference between being an unsuccessful vs. a successful consignment shop owner. Study the neighborhoods around your shop. Survey your existing customers to get better acquainted and find unique ways to get involved with your community.
A member of our staff once visited a consignment shop in another state. The shop owner was disparaging the fact that business was so poor. She said no one wanted to buy her clothes, but they constantly asked about her display pieces that were clearly marked with “Not For Sale” signs. Our staff member looked her square in the face and told her she obviously wasn’t selling the right merchandise. “Get out of the clothing business and get into the used furniture business!” A successful consignment shop owner knows exactly what their customers are looking for.
We often hear a shop owner say they’ve always done things a certain way and they simply can’t consider doing it any other. Really? Even though the way you’re searching for inventory, tracking consignor payouts or entering data is costing you time and money? No longer just “Ma and Pa’s Used Stuff” shops, the consignment industry today has evolved into big business. One only has to look at the success of The RealReal to realize there’s money to be made, but not if you’re unwilling to grow with the industry. Any business owner, especially if you want to be a successful consignment shop owner, must be flexible and willing to adapt.
Whether it’s unreasonable customers or consignors, someone has to be the one to hold the line. That someone is you. Make sure you have listed your policies clearly in writing and on your website. There’s no need to be disrespectful. Both your customers and your consignors are the life blood of your business, but you are the one who sets the rules. Your consignors should never be the ones to say what they will and won’t accept. Remember, stick to the rules. This applies to your employees too. Set a standard. Be a role model that your employees can follow.
For more on running a successful Consignment Store check these blogs out:
You know the feeling. It’s that nervous hesitation. Should I open that email? Is it really safe to “Click here?” Did I give too much personal information? Today, staying cyber safe is always in the back of our minds. Protect your shop online. Follow these 5 practical steps.
Did you know the most common password is the word “Password?” It’s followed by the 2nd most popular password, “123456.” According to a 2015 report by ThreatMetrix, the point of login is especially vulnerable for cyber threats. Women, because they tend to use common words like their pet’s or children’s names, appear to be more vulnerable to hacking. When creating a strong password, make sure you add all of the following.
Change your passwords regularly no matter how clever you think you are.
There are several basic systems you can put into place to protect the information on your desktop immediately. “Ask Leo!” gives you the bottom line.
Wrongfully, Mac users assume their computers are safer. If you’re using a Mac for your business, regularly check for updates and make sure your firewall is running as well.
As part of your Employee Manual (which every shop should have), include a social media policy as another way to protect your shop online. Upfront, your Manual must state any discussion of their employment must be handled in person rather than online. Although disgruntled employees have the legal right to complain online about their working situations, make it understood that you are willing and eager to discuss it with them first. Add these other ideas to your Social Media Policy.
Choose a trusted email provider to send business emails. A provider has stronger filtering capabilities. Educate your employees about what to look for when opening an email that looks like Spam or a scam. Receive emails without images being displayed first. Once you know the email is from a reputable sender, click on “Display images below.” Often, images and logos are tied to Spam accounts.
If you have done these basics to protect your shop online, it’s time to move your data to the cloud. Hardware failure, theft of your computer, fire or flood damage, or a virus are just a few of the risks in keeping your data only on your computer. By converting that data to a web based system, you are automatically assured that your shop’s point-of-sale (POS) data is kept safe somewhere else. In a shameless plug for SimpleConsign, these are just a few of the safety features we provide: