Demystifying Consignment Shopping – Part 2


Consignment stores need not be confusing. Just like any type of business, consignment stores operate with its own particular form of economy and trade. If you’re interested in creating a lucrative working relationship with consignment store owners as an independent trader, it’s time to walk the walk and talk the talk.

Having a market is important

If you’ve just been shipped antique vases from China from the Xing dynasty, you would probably have a market in consignment stores in upscale neighborhoods. However, your vases would not find a market in poorer neighborhoods with mostly students and low-income families barely scraping by.

The same logic applies when someone tries to sell something cute/adorable to store owners. Most people think that if an item were in relatively good condition, storeowners would take it. This is not the case. If you’ve been turned down, there’s a very good reason for it. If a storeowner tells you that your product would not move easily, don’t force it. Chances are the information you gained from the refusal would help you find an item that would gain a space in the storeowner’s shop.

Eco-friendly and loving it

Did you know that consignment shopping directly helps in greening the Earth? 83% of unused clothing, furniture and miscellaneous stuff around the house end up in dumps, adding to the mounting waste of the planet. By dropping off your good but currently useless things to a consignment store prevents your things from turning into junk. The same applies when you buy something from a consignment store. By purchasing such stuff, you’re keeping items off the landfills until it’s really time to bid the things goodbye.

According to Jodi Miller, a representative of Designer Renaissance, there’s a very fine line between perky vintage items and flammable, ugly items. The first thing that you have to ask yourself when you’re buying vintage stuff (especially clothes) is would someone else wear it? Better yet, would someone else use it?

Markdown policies

To encourage people to try consignment shopping and to keep loyal customers happy, most consignment stores have a markdown day. For example, the store Designer Renaissance, based in Nashville has a markdown day every Thursday of the week. How are the markdowns computed, anyway? Storeowners monitor closely the duration of items in the shop. Here’s an example of a markdown computation.

If an item has not been purchased for 5 weeks, it gains a 25% price reduction. The following week, it’s given another reduction, which brings down the price to 50% of its original value. Does it end there? No. When another week passes and there are no takers, it’s time to up the ante.

Storeowners can slash up to 75% of the original selling value just to dispose of an item. In addition, they do this periodically so they can accept new stocks that can readily move within a shorter time period. Because the business thrives on time, many storeowners get to know people’s habits through the things they sell and buy. Most storeowners become quite close to their customers. By discussing medical issues and other concerns with their customers, they’re building lasting personal and working relationships.

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