Many consignment shops are starting to sell their inventory online in hopes to grow their business and attract new customers. Statistics shows that 71% of shoppers believe they will get a better deal online, and in 2015, ecommerce sales in the United States were 341.7 billion! Having an online store is a great opportunity for consignment businesses that currently have a brick and mortar location, or for entrepreneurs looking to run a strictly online consignment business from home. Selling online offers countless possibilities, but it can be unfamiliar ground for many who may have limited knowledge of how to run an online business.
In this blog series we will review every aspect of running an online store. From making sure you are stocked on all the essentials, to properly shipping your packages, preparing you and your staff to handle the new responsibilities, and introduce you to other forms of online marketing to make sure you are reaching new customer bases and keep existing customers coming back to your online store.
Before we get started there are a few things you should keep in mind with your new online store to properly prepare you for the road ahead.
This biggest thing to keep in mind is your online store will take time to generate web traffic and sales. Many stores start out using sites like eBay or Etsy that spend millions a year on getting web traffic to their sites. When you start your own online consignment store you are now responsible for generating this traffic.
All stores should focus on creating local and regional traffic first, then expanding their market. If you own a local store concentrate on having your current customers shop from home and pick up their items in store. If you are only selling online, try offering some pop up or trunk sales to generate some income and word of mouth while your site traffic starts to build.
Onlines stores have no hours, meaning orders can come in anytime, day or night. Making sure you are well organized and ready to ship these orders along with all your other responsibilities is pivotal to staying ahead of the curve.
Create and follow routines for each aspect of running your online store. Responsibilities like packing and shipping orders will require your time daily, where activities like adding new inventory and marketing can be done on specific days. Make sure to stick to your routine and be willing to update your schedule, this way you can ensure that you are growing with your business.
Running a successful online consignment shop goes far past having great inventory and a strong routine, it means researching new programs and technology. You are not only going to need a strong understanding of social media platforms and email marketing, but also have an understanding of web development and more in depth online advertising options like Google Adwords and retargeting.
Start out by putting together a list of topics you are comfortable with and topics that you need to learn more about. Maybe you are comfortable with Instagram but need to learn more about FACebook advertising, then research those topics online. There are countless resources available and paid sites like lynda.com that offer incredably in depth tutorials on these subjects for a low monthly cost. Knowing more about these topics is what will keep you ahead in the online shopping game.