What exactly is a consignment shop, anyway? Consignment shops are sometimes also known as resale, second-hand, pre-owned, thrift, or used goods stores. Starting a consignment shop seems to be a trend that has picked up since the economy took a dip over a year ago.
But even before the economic downturn, starting a consignment shop was beginning to become a trend as merchants not only realized that customers were more willing to buy pre-owned items in an effort to save money but also that consumers were warming up to the idea of recycling.
Consignment shops have been around since the 60s. They can range from small shop lots to huge web stores like eBay. If you are considering opening a consignment shop, here are a few basics that you should know first:
This term is almost cliche when it comes to web stores but bears repeating: It is essential to identify a niche when starting any store. Concentrating on a niche market allows you to compete better without wasting resources. Proper Internet marketing will ensure your store is easily found amongst the thousands or even millions of similar stores out there. For example, the long tail keyword “boys baby early development toys Texas” returns 145,000 results while “boys baby toys” returns 31 million results.
One good niche that is always growing is products for children and babies. This is because children grow out of things like shoes in a matter of months or even weeks. The list of sought-after used baby items like prams, cots and toys is impressive. This is why online children consignment shops are sprouting up all over.
Other items which people tend to use only once and then put up for sale are wedding dresses, high fashion gowns, costumes, toys, comics, musical instruments, CDs and DVDs, vinyl records, books, autographed sports memorabilia and parts for cult collectors items like certain cars.
Not all items found at consignment web stores are cheap, mind you. Some items like old records, first edition books, comics and toys are sourced cheaply from garage sales but are then sold online at a much higher price. Which is why it is important that consignment shop merchants know their niche and product values like the back of their hands. Of course, the condition of rare items like first edition comics or books also plays an important part in the value of the items. However as long as there is a demand for these items, merchants can look forward to good margins.
Starting a consignment shop is not that much different than starting any other web store. Merchants will probably need to concentrate on product sourcing and they will also need to be aware of the value of the items that they source. Apart from that, it takes proper marketing and the support of a good ecommerce solution to ensure that everything goes as planned.
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