Yesterday’s post talked about the pros and cons and things to consider when selling your products on consignment. Consignment can be a great way to get your products onto store shelves, get in front of more customers and make additional money. Today I share some tips on making a consignment arrangement a positive one.
Get It in Writing – Make sure you read the consignment agreement thoroughly and ensure it has all the major points included: consignment percentages, payment terms, who is responsible for the products while in the shop, what happens if/when a product is damaged, the length of the agreement, etc. If a proposed contract does not have each of these areas explained, ask for it to be added so that both sides are clear to what is being agreed upon before signing.
Keep Communication Open – Having an open and collaborative relationship with the shop owner makes for a positive consignment experience. Approach them quickly and professionally with any concerns, and be open to their suggestions and customer comments. Share your backstory with them – why you create your goods, how they’re unique and how they help customers.
Also show interest in their business – when you’re invested in the shop’s success and help to promote their business, they naturally become more interested and enthusiastic about your products. And we all know it’s easier to sell something you’re excited about.
Keep it Local – If you’re just getting started with consignment, I recommend going with a local store, or at least one that is within driving distance. This gives you the opportunity to stop in, see how the products are displayed, make sure the products are being displayed and promoted properly and ensure your inventory records match theirs. It can help you build rapport with the shop owner, who can give feedback on product pricing and merchandising.
Submit a Detailed Inventory Sheet – Keep track of what items are sent to the store and compare them against what you’ve been paid for and what is remaining on the store shelves. Update it any time you deliver any new products or remove any items from the store. Again, this helps to protect you and your business and detailed reports can help back up any claims should there be any discrepancies between your records and the shop records.
Give it Time – Keep a close eye on sales, but don’t panic and pull your products if sales aren’t stellar in the first month or two. It may take some time for your products to gain traction and for sales to start picking up. Here’s where open communication will serve you well – talk to the shop owner about what’s working and what’s not working. Discuss promotions, sales and creative ways to generate buzz about your products. If sales don’t pick up after these concerted efforts, then it might be time to consider either swapping out the products for new ones that may sell better, or it may be time to part ways with this shop. Think positively and believe that sales will go well, but don’t have unrealistic expectations of selling massive amounts of products immediately, especially if the store is just getting started.
Your turn: What other suggestions do you have for someone considering selling their products on consignment?