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19 January 2021

How to Start an Online Consignment Store?

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Consignment stores profit by helping people to sell their used items – this is a great business model, which can make you a great deal of money if you do everything right. Our article will reveal a detailed guide to starting an online consignment store. We’ll tell you how to identify your niche, how to create a website, and how the top consignment stores promote their business on the Internet.

A store’s business model

Consignment is an arrangement, in which one party (a user) gives another party (a store) the goods to sell. The user is still an owner of the goods until they’re sold. The store keeps a part of the sales revenue for its services. If the goods weren’t sold during the pre-specified time, the store would return them to the owner.

This is quite a simple model, which may be used to sell anything – starting with real estate and ending with paperclips. Nevertheless, the majority of ordinary people experience it only when selling second-hand items. That is why consignment stores are usually confused with thrift stores. Notwithstanding, they’re not the same thing – there are major differences.

Monetization. The main revenue generator of an online consignment store is a percentage of each transaction, which is concluded at its mediation. Nevertheless, it’s not the only possible source of profit for such a platform. Apart from it, you can also use other monetization methods:

A niche of a consignment store

The choice of a niche plays a pivotal role in any online consignment store since it’s quite a size limited market, which happens to be bound to location. Market size is limited because you’ll collect the products not from suppliers or factories, but ordinary people. Only a small percentage of people sell unnecessary items in consignment stores.

For instance, if your store specializes in selling the used books, then you’ll probably have a lot of sellers and buyers. However, if you choose a narrower niche; for example, books about the Great depression or pin-up jackets, this store is unlikely to be successful because of the small size of these markets.

Besides, due to the fact that you’ll receive the goods from people, you should keep in mind that they tend to search for the platforms in their area or country to speed up and cheapen the delivery of these items to the online store. No one would send pants for $10 to another country even if they were guaranteed to be sold there.

Consequently, when choosing a niche you should follow two rules. Firstly, you should sell a quite popular product, which oftentimes is sold in consignment stores and thrift stores. Secondly, such products should be popular in your city or country (you shouldn’t sell the used books in Spanish in Russia or old skis in Egypt).

You can find a niche in the following ways:

A showcase of your online store

Social networks. Many businessmen, who are selling second-hand goods, started with apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter because it’s easy, fast, and, most importantly, free. It’s enough to create an ordinary account and post pictures with products for sale and the online store is ready for work. Whereby you can run an advertising campaign right away or find specialized communities for them to repost your information about selling second-hand items.

E-Commerce platforms. Due to such services as Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, Magento, and their analogs, you can start an online store quite quickly with payment services, marketing tools, and other useful features connected. You don’t need to have technical skills to do so – it’s enough to pay for a subscription and select a template with necessary features.

Unique website and appTo start your online store is often the best solution because it makes it possible to implement any design ideas and add those features to the site that you need (and not buy them as a package as in the case of e-Commerce websites). Besides, only the creation of your website of an online consignment store will allow scaling this business up to the level of Amazon or eBay. Other options are not designed for really significant traffic of users.

Large marketplaces. You can arrange the sale of items of the consignment website like OLX, Amazon,  eBay, LetGo, Craigslist or other marketplaces. It’s quite simple and more convenient than the sale via social networks. That said, you’ll need to give a part of your revenue to the marketplace (5-30 %). Besides, it’s almost impossible to stand out on these platforms otherwise than cutting the prices down.

Marketing strategy

How to attract sellers. The main marketing challenge of an online consignment store is to attract people, who will agree to sell their items via this platform. And the problem is not only to get in touch with the necessary target audience but also to make people trust a store, which was just opened. After all, they need to send their things to a stranger with no guarantees.

This problem may be solved in several ways:

How to attract buyers. As soon as you get 5-10 items for sale, you can think of customer attraction. People usually do it with the help of ordinary marketing tools starting with advertisements on Google, Facebook, or Instagram and ending with SEO and influencer marketing. In so doing, they always bet on bright and high-quality pictures of the items, which you should take by yourself.

The rules of good photos for a consignment store are the following:
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