For everything there is a season. From white sales in January to the 4th of July and Christmas – there are obvious shopping patterns that hold from one year to the next. But there’s also other seasons and occasions that can have special significance to your merchandise and your revenue.
According to ThredUp, an online fashion resale marketplace, “[t]he resale customer is no longer somebody else’s customer, they are everybody’s customer.”
Mass market or luxury, if people can find a high-quality product for much less, they’ll choose used. That’s great news for thrift, resale and consignment store owners who’ve amassed a small fortune in desirable, high value merchandise. Thoughtful planning and good marketing will be an aide in driving sales…, here’s how.
If you’re a retailer who sells products in a brick-and-mortar location, in a pop-up shop, or via an ecommerce store, you can benefit from a merchandise marketing calendar. Selling your merchandise for the most money is all about marketing the right item at the right time. Since we live in a digital world where social media, emails and blogging play a huge role, planning and promoting is vital. The benefit of a seasonal calendar can help you plan how you’ll introduce new items to the public, organize promotions and related information in advance. Even if you don’t have something new launching each month, you can promote previously released products repurposed in a new way and it keeps the customer engaged and interested in what you can offer.
Prom is a rite of passage for most American teens and a beautiful gown worn to prom generally represents a large sum of money spent on something only worn once – likely less than 3 hours. A 2015 survey by Visa estimated that prom costs on average a little over $900 per teenage prom-goer, so it’s no wonder that parents and teens are looking for gently used dresses to save a bit of money. Prom dress styles don’t change that dramatically year to year like other clothing styles and tastes in dresses range wildly, which means inventory is likely always current and in demand during prom season.
As with most clothing items, brand names like Jovani, Sherri Hill, Morilee and Mermaid are highly sought after and typically run around $600 for the latest styles, purchased new. Reselling for 50% the retail price means you can still earn around $300 per dress.
Classic labels never go out of style and are always coveted. Designer clothing and purses have been and will always be hot resale items because they’re timeless pieces no matter the season. However, certain days of the year like Mother’s Day, graduation and Christmas increase the desire for those items.
To maximize your profits, look for items that are new with tags, and specialty items, like maternity clothing, kids’ holiday dresses and premium jeans. Each piece should be in good-to-excellent condition (that means no major stains, holes, scuffs, buttons missing, or broken zippers) and less than 10 years old. While style is endless, fashion trends come and go. Reselling designer clothes from a prior season will maximize the desirability of that item and increase the chances of being offered a higher price.
Antiques and Vintage Items
One of the best things to flip for a profit is retro items. People love collectibles and can be willing to spend money on a piece of furniture or artwork that is still high-quality but rare, classic, beautiful and lasting. So, keep an eye out for antique items that you can buy at low prices and sell for a profit. If you walk into any thrift store, you are likely to get a few quality old pieces of furniture. Always consider the items that can be creatively upcycled and classically styled to make a new item.
Some industry insiders say that bold, primary colored antiques and collectibles sell better in the fall and winter. Pastel color schemed antiques and collectibles sell better in the spring and summer.
Big dollar items like treadmills and other home workout equipment can bring in good money – especially around late November to early December when holiday shopping gets hot and lots of people are looking to spend money.
According to GymCrafter, an even better time of year to sell equipment like Treadmills, dumbbells and BowFlex machines is the last week in December through the first two weeks in January New Year’s resolutions! Many of them include buying fitness equipment for the home. Treadmills start at $1000 and quickly work their way to several times that amount – which can translate for a great resale price for those who don’t want to sink major money into fitness items. A nice squat rack can run $500 and up. A set of dumbbells, decent ones anyway, can cost $800 or more. Those BowFlex machines cost right around $1000 each.
Product visibility and arrangement of the display helps to improve sales. Customers buy products based on quality, availability, visibility, and seasonality. If you have great pieces that you want to draw attention to or items that need more eyeballs on them, product displays are a great way to attract people.
“If I have something that’s not selling well, I’ll move it next to the register or put it in a display window highlighting it, with lights. No matter what is in them, they will make people feel that they are extraordinary and worthy of their attention,” says Summer Mortimer, owner and manager of several specialty and resale shops in Pittsburgh.
Social Media Drives Sales
“Facebook, Instagram and emails are free promotional ways to increase revenue and chatter about yourself and store,” says Mortimer. For higher-end items Mortimer will offer an exclusive preview of items for regular customers and new customer discounts in posts on social media. She also advertises a limited quantity of items on shelves to encourage impulse buying, for fear of missing out. Ultimately, it’s important to not overlook the importance of a strategy within your store to sell your inventory. Sure, having great merchandise is key, but so is being smart about making sure your visitors see every item in your retail space.