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    1. Sammie's Avatar
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      #1

      I want to open an online consignment shop. Any tips?

      A few years ago I owned a thrift shop, and now I want to open an online consignment shop but I donít even know where to start. I would appreciate any suggestions. What can I do to attract as many customers as possible? I know there are many people earning a living with eBay consignment sales. Please share with me some of your secrets!
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      #2
      Although consignment shops sometimes can be compared to thrift shops since they both sell secondhand merchandise, they are two different shops. With a consignment shop, the profits are split between the consignment shop owner and the person who actually owns the merchandise. Thrift shops are normally donated items and all the merchandise owner receives is a tax deduction.

      First, I would point out the pros and cons of a consignment shop. There are a lot of good things about it, but there are some drawbacks, too.

      Cons of owning an online consignment shop:

      • Managing your finances
      • Quite a bit of competition
      • Potental conflicts between you, the merchandise owner and the buyer
      • The need for storage space

      Pros of owning an online consignment shop:

      • There are no up-front costs for buying merchandise.
      • You will receive decent profits, even after splitting with the owner of the goods and after listing, packing and shipping items.
      • Online shops can be bring in profits for you 24/7 and you can operate your shop from the comfort of your home.
      • This provides a service for people who don’t have the time to sell their unwanted items.

      I am actually earning a living with my online consignment shop. A great place to start is eBay. All you need to know is how to sell items online and with this you should be able to do good promotion. Some knowledge of digital photography can also be a great help. Remember that you need to convince people to buy the products. A good quality image can help you do this.

      For each item you sell you need to do some research. Take your time to write a detailed description. This is the only way to earn credibility. Try to show people why they should buy a specific product.

      The process is quite simple. All you have to do is to accept merchandise from a consigner. The next steps are to research, post images and create product descriptions. That’s all you have to do before you list the products.

      Keep in mind; you do not have to go the eBay route, although I do highly recommend that for beginners. But, you can also start your online consignment shop on a website of your own. When doing this, you may want to consider hiring a professional to help your create the site. This type of site will require:

      • Purchasing a domain
      • Some type of store template
      • A web host
      • A shopping cart

      If you search around, you may find that some webhosting companies will supply you with a free domain and templates. I would suggest using PayPal or Google Checkout for accepting payments.
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      #3
      Thx Salestalk! I’m new with all this but I would really love to make this a full time job. Do you have any tips for attracting more clients? Also can you give me a more detailed list of what exactly I have to do to get started?

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      #4
      Well… when I first started I didn’t know anything about online consignment shops. Here you have a few steps you should take in order to start an online consignment and attract clients:

      • Before accepting new merchandise from a consignor you should always sign a contract. This will protect both of you. This contract should contain your personal information such as name and address. The contract should also include the item information, the auction specifics and the fees.

      • To avoid selling any stolen goods you should know the consignor’s identity. Make sure you ask for a copy of her driver license or any other type of ID.

      • Make sure you take only good quality goods. For this, you might have to try them first. This is extremely important especially if you are taking electronic items.

      • If you are taking clothing, you should make sure the products are clean. Check the items for spots or stains.

      • Research all the items. You should be aware of the year of the manufacture. You should also know how to use the products you sell. This will help you answer any questions the clients might have.
      • Decide on your limits for prices and don’t accept anything lower or higher than you intend to sell.

      • Set a list with guidelines for consignors. Make sure you specify what type of goods you don’t accept.

      • Make sure you add your shop to Consignmentshops.com. This can help you attract more clients and increase your earnings.

      Here is a list of supplies to get you started:

      • Racks for hanging clothes
      • Hangers
      • Packing supplies
      • Tags for your merchandise
      • General office supplies

      Hope this helps. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.

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      Thnx a lot Salestalk! You’ve been such a Gr8 help!

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      #6
      I wanted to chime in here and say…since I have my own website for selling consignment products, instead of using ebay, it is important that you keep your website shop up to date. I always remove my sold items as soon as they sell. This can save you lots of headaches and avoid making a sale twice on one item.

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      #7
      Another couple of tips I just thought of was checking out places, such as fashion forums, to find what types of used items, especially clothing, sell good at online consignment shops.

      Even though you are selling online, finding a good location for your business may also be something to consider. You will need a place to meet people and accept their merchandise. Keep in mind; you’ll need the appropriate place for storing the products. I also made sure when I first started out to get a business license and some liability insurance.

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      #8
      Good points Salestalk! Making sure you have some set rules for running your business is probably one of the most important things to me. Such as, a schedule for when you markdown products that have not sold, when you pay your clients for items that have sold, and policies on brands you are willing to accept.

      Another important issue you need to make sure your client understands and signs is the percentage you receive for selling their merchandise for them.

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      What do you do about merchandise that doesn’t sell and isn’t picked back up by the client?

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      #10
      I have my clients sign a form stating how long they have to pick the merchandise back up from me, otherwise it is donated to a charity. I do inform them which charity I donate the products to.

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