Do’s and Don’ts of Consignment Shopping

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Do make it a point, prior to your first visit, to understand the consignment terms of the shop you are going to bring items to. It will save you a lot of time and confusion if you find out how long the items must remain in the shop, what percentage of the sale you will receive, and what happens after the consignment agreement ends.

Do make sure that your items are in excellent condition, in season, and in working order. If you unsure about consigning a particular item: simply call and ask prior to your visit.

Do read your consignment agreement thoroughly. Many shops have markdowns throughout the consignment period.  If you consign a precious item that you don’t want to sell for less than a certain amount, let the shop owner know.

Do make sure to choose a shop that is clean, organized and treats your items with care and respect. Shoppers love to shop in stores that are clean and easy to find. The longer they stay in a store, the greater the odds are that they purchase one of your items.

Don’t become disappointed when a shop does not take all of your items. The more selective a shop owner is about their inventory, the better your earning potential.

Don’t consign items that are outdated or flawed. Even if you have a highly sought after item, most shops don’t want to be known to selling less than perfect items

Don’t consign your items in a shop that is obviously disorganized or less than clean. This leads to greater opportunity for loss and diminishes earning potential.

Don’t assume the store will call you after the consignment term ends. Most shops donate unsold items to a local charity following the agreement term. It is your duty to make a note of when the consignment period ends.

Consignment Shopping Tips

Ask for help!  Since store owners have meticulously looked over all of the items that have been consigned, don’t be afraid to ask for help. They know where everything is in the store and on occasion may know if something is arriving in the shop. They may also know if clothing items have been tailored or if something is a larger fit.

Check out all sizes. Especially when it comes to evening wear and tailored suits. Many people get these items altered to fit.  A lot of formal evening wear is sold in large sizes because they customize the fit for each customer. Also, clothes often shrink after repeated washing and drying.

Ask about store policies: Most consignment shops have an “All Sales Are Final” policy. Look items over thoroughly and make sure all items are in working order or free from flaws before you leave the shop. When buying lighting or electronics, ask to plug it in or test the item.

Expect to see a major price difference between Brands. Consignment shops should be pricing their clothing between 1/4 to 1/3 of the original retail price, taking into account condition, age, popularity of brand, etc.

Ask about sales or markdowns. Most shops have frequent markdowns in order to recycle the daily inventory that streams in. Ask the shop owner in their sales are or how often mark-downs occur.

Don’t try to haggle over the price of an item!  Asking the shop to take less undermines all of the pricing decisions that have been made and often offends the shop owner. Haggling with a shop owner is basically telling them that they don’t know how to price and they don’t know their market.  A successful consignment shop that has a good reputation is regularly marking down their merchandise and keeping the items going in and out of their store quickly.

Never purchase a garment without trying it on!  As you know, many people have clothing altered and there is no way for the shop owner to know if the consignor doesn’t tell them.

Bring a measuring tape with you!  For large items for the home, you want to make sure the item is going to fit in your home or through doorways.  Remember, once you buy it it’s yours to keep.

Beware of knock offs!  All too often people purchase knock-off’s or designer copies and these items end up in resale shops.  Sometimes consignors don’t even know that the items they purchased from the internet aren’t the real deal since they paid a pretty penny for them. Unless you really know your merchandise or have some proof of authenticity, buyer beware!

Kara Ferraro is a publisher and freelance writer with two elementary-age children. She is always looking for clever, budget friendly activities to do with her family and ways to save money.?