As retail and consignment stores throughout the US are opening up, it’s critical to inform your customers and consignors of your policies, procedures, and general guidelines.
And while there are several ways you could go about doing this, it’s easiest and most effective to post and share information directly from your website.
We’ve all been told a dozen times how important it is to get your products listed and available to be sold online. Even in more niche industries, web traffic and sales continue to climb and break into traditional brick-and-mortar sales.
But there’s so much more to your website than just online sales.
For consignment stores, your website should serve two broad functions.
The first and most obvious function of a consignment store’s website is to sell your products online.
Paired with your in-store inventory, any successful online store should be a platform for your products to be sold online. We’ve all seen the trends and statistics, shopping just isn’t what it used to be even 5 years ago. While there has been a lot of speculation around the decline of the brick and mortar space being completely replaced by eCommerce, the reality is that the future of retail is cross-channel. Some customers love shopping online, others prefer the in-person experience. Depending on your industry, the percentages of online sales to in-store sales could vary.
Without an online store, you’re simply limiting your sales to a single channel, and therefore missing out on a lot of potential shoppers.
And because your website’s primary focus is to sell products, it’s easy to forget that there is still an incredible amount of value a good online presence brings to your in-store audience beyond just sales.
Simply put, there are so many shoppers and consignors cross-channel shopping, and these shoppers oftentimes visit your website before visiting your store.
Keep in mind too, that we are only talking about actual sessions (page visits) to your store’s website. Having a website also brings more valuable information to your customers with more accurate google results, Facebook page links, and lots of other ways people browse the internet and might stumble upon your store.
The reality is, having a website up for your store does so much more than just open up potential online sales. With resale, this is more critical than ever.
Second, never underestimate how much in-store sales are being driven by your website.
Resale and consignment are an interesting case study on online sales. They have traits that make them particularly unique. Retail, for example, can sell out and restock items with customer demand. Consignment stores often only get one or two of an item and never get it again.
This creates a really powerful opportunity for exclusivity shopping. If a customer loves the products and styles you’re carrying, they may find themselves constantly checking for updates and changes to your inventory.
Let’s make a quick hypothetical example.
Somewhere in your community is a customer looking for a beautiful mid-century console, but hasn’t quite found “the one.”
So what are they going to do? It’s likely that they will be constantly checking your website and social media pages, hoping for one day to see their perfect furniture piece and immediately pick it up.
Without a website, the customer would have to physically drive to your store often, and that can get exhausting quickly. In fact, it’s likely they will never even go through the effort of driving around to just see what’s out there, especially if they know it will change in a week. That’s a lot of work, and it’s so much easier to sit on your couch and browse through multiple stores from your mobile device.
Get ahead of your local competition with regular and consistent website updates.
The second big difference is that you serve two unique audiences: customers and consignors.
This can be one of the most challenging components of running a consignment store. But with an effective website, you can present them with clear policies, instructions, items being accepted, and other details your future consignors may need to know.
Consignors also browse between stores to find the best opportunity for them to consign their items. With an effective website, you can get more consignors that are easy to work with and carry incredible items that are easily sellable. You just need to have the correct resources to get them to do business with your store.
This brings us to the 5 pages your store must have to stand out among the consignment industry.
Most good website templates will provide you with some basic layouts and prebuilt pages, but there are a few that you will need to add yourself.
This is the most obvious and clear page that may immediately come to mind. Every company page should have an about page. But how do you differentiate yourself? That’s a good question. Let’s start by asking a few user experience questions.
Why would somebody visit your ‘about us’ page?
First could be that they want to learn more about your business, who you are as the owner, and just what the general culture or style is. With consignment, this is a fantastic place to showcase and write a bit about yourself. This can be awkward at first, but that’s ok! Small business shoppers love to support companies that bring value to the community. Talk a little bit about your personality, how you started the business and some of the values or unique traits that your shop inherits.
Another reason somebody might be on your ‘about us’ page is for more information that they might have missed elsewhere. With websites, it’s perfectly ok to link people around or repeat information that might be listed on another page. This isn’t to say copy and paste an entire blog to another page, but that it’s totally ok and encouraged to help people find the page that might be most appropriate for their needs.
A shopper might be looking for directions to your store, or a phone number to contact. And while you probably have a dedicated ‘contact’ page for this information, maybe the user just missed it. So why don’t we help them get there? Include a button or link to your related pages to help customers find what they are looking for.
Both of these will help streamline the user experience and drive more efficient traffic online and in-store.
Similar to an ‘about us’ page, your contact page serves primarily as a gateway to getting customers into your doors. A ‘contact’ page is probably the most basic page you’ll ever need to create. Along those same lines, there really isn’t that much you can do to stand out here, but that’s also not really the point. A contact page has one purpose, to give customers your contact information.
Make sure you cover everything. Remember that different people like to communicate in different ways. Some people hate phone calls, others love it. So make sure you include your store’s physical mailing address, phone number, and store hours.
Want to step it up a bit? Include a Google Maps iframe and active buttons for calling and emailing. A Google Maps iframe will be particularly important for people that are about to go to your store or are already on their way. Rather than having to find your address and type it up, they can just click the link and it will open up directions in their navigation app.
Additionally, you can create buttons that call or email your store without having to copy and paste information onto a phone.
At the end of the day, the ‘contact’ page is a page used by highly engaged users and we want to make sure we quickly provide the answers they are looking for.
Consign With Us
This is the first page that is unique to resale stores that you should absolutely include on your website. With consignment or vendor stores, getting new consignors is one of the most important elements to running your business. So this page needs to be detailed and thorough.
As always, let’s think about what the user is looking for in this case.
For the most part, the visitors to your consign with us page are looking to offload their goods. They have products they want to sell and they haven’t committed or chosen which store is best for them to consign with. Additionally, maybe they are unhappy with the store they already consign with and are considering mixing it up.
What kind of information do you think potential consignors might be looking for?
First would probably be what kind of items you accept. Be as clear as you can on this. If your store accepts a wide variety of fashion items, let that be really clear. The same goes if you only consign a very strict type of item. The last thing a potential consignor needs is to waste their time driving to your store only to find that you won’t take their items.
The second will probably be your consignment terms. Depending on the value of items and other factors, this may be incredibly important or rather unimportant. For example, with high-end jewelry, your consignors will probably be searching around for a shop that’s going to get them the most bang for their buck. Is your typical consignment contract up for negotiation? Or is it the same regardless of volume and item value? It’s great to include these details and entice new business.
Ultimately, we want to inform and entice potential consignors to your store. If you have the numbers, this is an awesome place to brag about the sell-through rate or how fast your products typically sell. This is also just good information to know about your business anyway.
This page will be completely determined on your consignment software’s capabilities and feature set. Typically, a consignor login gives all of your consignor’s special access to see their inventory, what has sold, basic reporting, and statuses on their items as they approach expiration.
With Ricochet, consignor login is completely free for every account. Your consignors can log in to Ricochet just like you or your employees can, but they get a unique view that only displays information relevant to their products.
Many stores will add this to their website to make it easier to find and simple for consignors to get access to. They simply need to enter their email and password and they are in.
Unique Product Features
Last but certainly not least are any unique pages that pertain to your inventory. For example, for paint resellers, this is a really great opportunity to have a page dedicated to paint types. Sure, somebody could go look up the difference between acrylic and oil-based paint, but why don’t you just have it on your own website?
You could easily expand this topic to explain indoor vs. outdoor paints, UV protection, styles, colors, and more.
With this information readily available to your online visitors, you’ll likely keep them around longer and they’ll trust your expertise more than a competing store.
What you need to think about when considering adding custom pages like this is whether they are blog-post worthy, or complete page worthy.
Generally, you want to only want to create primary pages for content that is incredibly relevant, thorough, and needed on your website’s main navigation. For example, if your store does furniture restoration and reselling, it may be a good idea to have a dedicated page that explains your restoration process, the chemicals (or lack of) that you use, and what kind of quality your customers and consignors should expect from your store.
However, if you want to explain different wood types and why they may be good for certain furniture uses, that might be best left to a blog post.
Think through your inventory very carefully and see if there are any of these pages that you might want to add. For the most part, it’s probably best to limit it to 5. And if you have more than one, create a little dropdown in your navigation to clean things up a bit.
Make Sure You’re Using A Web Service That Allows You To Easily Create and Modify Custom Pages
Most online hosting and website builders (platforms like Shopify, Squarespace, GoDaddy, etc) give you the ability to create custom pages. And make sure it’s pretty easy for you to do yourself.
Good platforms out there give you a good product showcase and shopping experience, but the best ones allow you to scale your business and really grow your in-store sales with custom pages, and other bells and whistles.
Ricochet rebuilt its web store in early 2020 with the intention to create a platform that is incredibly user-friendly, built for growth and scalability, and completely integrates with the Ricochet POS and inventory management system.
Web store users can manage everything from a single platform. Rather than attempting to manage and juggle multiple platforms to keep your inventory and consignors all consistent and organizes, Ricochet’s tools all communicate with each other, creating a seamless experience that boosts your productivity and saves you incredible amounts of time.
Trials of Ricochet are always free for 14-days and you have no obligation to pay or save your credit card information if the platform wasn’t for you. We specialize in building tools for consignment, vendor, and retail stores looking to expand beyond pen and paper or a basic POS. Try a free trial of Ricochet today to get started.