A couple of years ago, our son moved into an apartment of his own. Since he was about 700 miles away, I wasn’t able to pawn off old dishes, furniture and towels. He needed to start fresh. So, we headed to a furniture consignment store close to him. It was huge. Shoppers wandered everywhere. He found a couch and TV table. I found a great picture. At the sales counter, the young woman took out a Sales Receipt Book to total up our purchases. Unfortunately, she made a mistake. She scratched through the final price and made the corrections which we could barely read. I mentioned SimpleConsign, but the boss was “old school” and didn’t want a Point-Of-Sale system. I think that will change when his son takes over the business. Nowadays, a consignment POS system is not only convenient, it’s essential. Here are 7 reasons why.
Any shop owner that invests in a consignment POS system, printers and barcode scanners is automatically assured of accuracy at the time of sale. There are no “fat finger” mistakes. Scan the barcode on the tag and the information is immediately entered into the system. You can keep track of daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly sales knowing the figures are correct. Checkout is faster, reliable and you can even give a printed receipt. Plus, as one industry leader reminded me, your customers and consignors can rest easy knowing you’re charging the right amount.
A good consignment POS system will provide you with a ton of reports to track your inventory, consignors and customers. With SimpleConsign, you can easily see sales statistics, track trends and view either automated and/or customized reports. Conveniently separate new and used inventory, plus distinguish between consigned and store-owned. Use the data you receive to determine which brands are most popular and which consignors bring in the best merchandise.
With the advent of the internet, our world is spinning faster. Shoppers are impatient. I’ve even received a sigh of frustration for writing a check in the checkout line. If you can speed up the process, do it. A consignment POS system offers faster and more efficient transactions.
It’s the sad reality of owning a business. Theft. Whether it’s employees or customers, consignment shops are particularly vulnerable to theft. Why? Without a consignment POS system, you can’t accurately track your intake process, a consignor’s individual account or a given employee’s sales. Many an employee theft has been discovered because of SimpleConsign’s system. Plus, employees who know inventory is being tracked are less likely to help themselves.
The cost of doing business is higher than ever and only going to go up. With SimpleConsign, you can easily share credit card processing fees, add buyer’s or item fees, plus charge consignor access fees. You set them up and we’ll take care of the rest.
A business owner’s productivity automatically increases with a consignment POS system. The tedious job of adding information to spread sheets is over. Even your CPA will have more time. Plus, choosing a web based system means you can access all of your information from anywhere you can access the internet. Need to be home with the kids? No problem. Taking a much-needed vacation? Log in and see what’s happening at the store. Details like knowing how much money is in the cash drawer is available to you at any given time.
Again, the data that is available to you in a consignment POS system is invaluable. Enter a customer’s name, address, phone and email quickly. You can even add special notes about their preferences, purchases and personality quirks. Then, take that information and segment your list for more personal emails.
Once you’ve chosen a system, be sure to use it to its fullest. Otherwise, you only have a glorified cash register. Make sure you get all of the features that are important for running your store. If not, you’ll have to create work-arounds. You will also want to choose a system that is capable of growing with you. Be sure your staff is fully trained and remember, with SimpleConsign, training is on the house. Read 13 questions to ask before buying consignment software.
A fresh start. A new beginning. A clean slate. We always begin a new year confident we’re going to do better than the last. This year, resolve to make the necessary changes to your business within the first 30 days. No delay. Here are 6 areas you may need to concentrate on.
Success for brick and mortar revolves around top notch customer service. You need a team that’s committed to your vision. To build commitment in your employees, show dedication first. Invest in training in 2018. Improve communication. If you have employees who are not team players, it’s time to cut the cord. Read The ultimate guide for hiring the best part-time employees. Reduce employee turnaround and theft by sincerely caring about your team. Read How to nurture your best and most motivated employees. Strengthen them and the rewards will be great.
Are you confident you’re offering the type of merchandise your market wants? If not, now’s the time to find out. Your consignment resolutions must include reviewing your top-selling items, top consignors and customers. Update the list of items you will and won’t accept from your consignors. Create a written policy and stick to it. Read How to improve your resale shop’s inventory with 1 word, okay maybe 2. If you’ve accepted merchandise that isn’t selling, mark it down and move it out. Resale as a whole needs to up its game if we are going to compete for retail dollars. Let Goodwill, Savers and the Salvation Army take care of merchandise that is donate-only quality. Consider carefully how you want to be viewed and build your brand through the type of items you sell.
Here’s where you need a critical eye. Stand outside and take a serious look at your store. Is your signage clear? Are the windows clean? View the entrance of your store as a first-time shopper would. When you enter, is it cluttered? Does the shopper know immediately where to go? How does your shop smell? We get used to the everyday smells of our homes and businesses, but they may not be appealing to others. Commit to a regular schedule of cycling merchandise through your store with a sales rack placed in the back. Look at your ceiling and your floor. Can you improve the lighting? Even a change in paint color on one wall can make a store feel fresh and new. Read 6 quick and easy changes that will improve store design.
This year, create an event calendar. Assign a staff member to be in charge of each major event you will be hosting. Have them prepare their email campaigns and social media strategy in advance. Remember, consistency is key. It’s better to dominate 2 or 3 media outlets than do a little in every one of them. Read Consignment marketing on a tight budget. Consider adding direct mail to your marketing mix. A postcard or 2 with a coupon could be just the incentive someone needs to try your store. Collect as many email addresses as possible and begin segmenting those into smaller groups. The open rate for emails with targeted messages is always much higher. Look for new ways to advertise such as Facebook Live.
This year, add at least one new item that will improve business operations. Whether it’s a new POS system (ahem, such as SimpleConsign), new label or receipt printers, or a time clock system for your employees, upgrade now. How is the efficiency of your cash wrap? What about your intake process? Be willing to shake it up and make the necessary changes.
Even though this is the last consignment resolution listed, don’t wait to take care of your physical and mental health. Create a calendar. Add time for yourself away from the store. Treat it like it’s an appointment. Working smarter, not harder isn’t just a catch phrase. It means you are recognizing the need to delegate and trust the employees you’ve hired. Set boundaries for yourself. Read How to beat the resale business owner blues.
This post was revised from an original post on December 26, 2014
I always seem to be behind when it comes to industry buzzwords. This year is no exception. There are 4 retail industry terms that have been bantered about quite a bit lately and I think it’s time we understand them in terms of consignment and resale.
These first 2 words have been used extensively during the fourth quarter holiday shopping season. Frankly, I still get them confused. Webrooming is when shoppers research their possible purchases online and then head to the store to buy. In terms of consignment, resale or antiques, a shopper will scour your website, Facebook page, Instagram or Pinterest site to view your merchandise and then head to your shop with money in hand. Webrooming makes your online presence of utmost importance.
Showrooming is the opposite. Shoppers visit your store, browse your merchandise and then head to their computers to find the best deal. Since most consignment, resale and antique shops have one-of-a-kind merchandise, you are not as affected by showrooming. However, shoppers are very savvy these days. They will spot an item in your shop, enter that item on their computer and with the help of online consignment shops, Amazon and Ebay, quickly compare price and quality. This is where doing your homework on pricing your merchandise is key.
Primarily used in marketing, omni-channel is one of those industry terms that refers to the overall experience shoppers have with your store. Essentially, you put yourself in your customer’s shoes and see the steps they go through. Marketo defines omni-channel as, “Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog or through social media….Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.”
We’re ahead of the game on this one! Beacons are fairly new and seemingly untested. Digiday describes beacons as, “devices that communicate with a shopper’s smart phone in the hopes of improving the in-store shopping experience.” The jury is definitely out on this one. It requires consumers to download a store’s app on their phone, turn it on when they enter the store and set their Bluetooth to receive signals. Stores can then target shoppers with specific coupons or information on particular products. A similar app would be Shopular, started in 2012 which sends store’s coupons to your cell phone. It’s amazing what we’ll do for a bargain!
The beginning of a new year is always an excellent time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re going. As you make personal resolutions, why not make a few business ones too. Here’s a few suggestions:
You don’t have to be in this business for very long before you realize it can consume every part of your being. Your resolutions in 2015 have to include setting limits for yourself. Begin to find ways to work smarter. Create an event calendar before the beginning of the year. Add time for yourself, away from the store, and treat it like an appointment.
Obviously, the bottom line is increased sales through faster inventory turnover. First, you’ve got to take a solid look at what your customers want to buy. Now’s the time to review what are your top sellers. Put together a very clear list of items you will and won’t accept from consignors. Stick to it. If you’ve accepted merchandise that isn’t selling, mark it down and move it out. Commit to a regular schedule of cycling merchandise through the store with a sales rack placed in the back. Step back and look at the layout of your store. Does it move shoppers efficiently? Review your intake procedure and implement at least one new policy that improves the process.
Improving relationships with customers as well as staff needs to be a major priority in 2015. Every study I’ve read this year emphasizes the need for small businesses to capitalize on their ability to offer quality customer service. The new trend is to make shopping in your store an experience that customers will remember and return to time and time again. Building quality relationships with your staff begins by hiring quality salespeople. If you have someone on your staff who is not adding to the team, now is the time to let them go. Resolve to train your staff fully and encourage them whenever you can. Read 3 Quick Tips to Improve Consignment Sales.
By using an event calendar, you will be able to create and schedule your emails and social media messages in advance. Consistency is the key. The look and feel of all of your marketing has to convey the personality of your shop. As I’ve mentioned in other newsletters, choose 2 or 3 social media outlets and become an expert in those before you add others. Collect emails from shoppers as often as possible and create coupons and other incentives to draw customers in.
Investing in your business for the future is the only way you will survive. Make sure you use that investment to either save you time or money. Whether it’s a better POS system, new label printers, or a time clock for employees, make sure you are adding at least one new item that will improve business operations. Too often we let our routines dictate how we do things. Take a closer look at what is working and what isn’t. 2015 is the year to make resolutions that change your life and business!