How To Open An Online Consignment Shop


With the digital revolution currently being experienced across the globe, many have no choice but to take their services to the web. This has so many advantages. First, a seller can have a large number of customer base and this increases revenue streams. Two, the seller will be able to deliver products in a faster manner and opportunities to manage the business from anywhere across the globe is guaranteed. Three there is improved customer service and paper work can be greatly reduced. All these enhances productivity.

Today, I want to give steps on how to open online consignment shops. Before that I would like to say that a consignment store sells second hand items specifically the clothing and other accessories on behalf of the owner who in turn gets a share of the selling price. Just like any other business, the consignment shop would need the required licenses, collection of sales taxes and most importantly having a strong bond with the customers and the vendors in general. 

While most online sellers purchase their merchandise from wholesale distributors, a consignment company obtains its items by essentially partnering up with people that are looking to turn their unwanted items into cash.

The first step which is the major one is the identification process. One has to identify and select something they have some good knowledge about. They could include the clothing, toys for kids or maybe electronics. If one specializes in a particular segment, it could further enhance reputation. For example in the category of electronics, one can decide to sell the phones, home appliances like the refrigerators etc.

Since the business will be done online, the second major step is to create a website. In creating a website, there are many things to be put into place. One,you have to purchase a domain name. Two, of the many companies that provide hosting services, choose one and finally look for programmer to actually build the website. Like many other online stores, putting into place a shopping cart in the design is a necessity. For customers to find your store when typing the key words, the contents of the website must be fully optimized.

The third important step is to decide on the name and the legal structure of the business. If you want to do the business individually whereby you control everything, goo for sole proprietorship. We also have partnership, corporation and a legal liability company. There are processes to be followed when registering a business name and to ensure names don’t clash, one has to check with the relevant authorities.

To be on the right side of the law, obtaining licenses and permits is a necessity. This can be done by checking with the local or other state departments that deal with business registration. This is because most consignment shops need an occupational license even if based at home.
Storing, processing, and tracking the merchandise will prompt one to acquire space which can provide a retail presence. Still, one can arrange to meet clients at his/her home or theirs to save on costs. In either way, the use of shelves or hanging racks is key to allow easy retrieval of the items. Since the items will be displayed on then websites, getting a quality camera to take photographs is a requirement too.

Another important step is creating seller’s agreement. In the contract, personal information of the consignee’s must be included, description of then item and the defects if any. Pricing, discount policy and the duration in which the product will be offered must be clearly outlined. These processes would need the services of a lawyer to ensure the contract is written well and interest of all parties are protected.

The final step would be to find the sellers and buyers. This can be achieved by placing ads in newspapers or local magazines. To create an online presence, one can purchase sponsored ads based on keywords that represent the business. Social media too is a powerful tool where by marketing can be rigorously done to keep established and new clients aware of new items and sales. 

I would recommend starting out with a focus on a specific niche, for example designer handbags or brand name dresses. You want to build a following from people that will give you their products to consign, and from shoppers looking to buy from consignment websites. 

You might consider at the beginning supplementing your inventory buy buying from a wholesaler. This way you can fill up your website with wholesale merchandise until you have enough products from consignees.

With Amazon and Alibaba setting the pace for online retail, only the sky is the limit for anyone who would like to venture in online consignment shops. Just like any other business hard work, dedication and patience and proper customer care is the key to success.