Women’s Consignment Pricing – What We’ve Learned

Women’s Consignment Pricing-What We’ve Learned

Many consignment shop owners believe that a location with a wealthy clientele will bear higher prices than a less affluent location.   The store owners participating in the development and piloting of NextGen’s Women’s Consignment Pricing System, questioned NextGen’s insistence that a pricing system could fit all markets.  We expressed some pride in our ability to know what our markets would bear.

NextGen pointed out that resale franchises have for years employed largely brand-driven pricing models, with prices that worked across markets.  They explained the obvious—that the retail prices of women’s accessories and apparel for a given item and brand are the same irrespective of the market in which they’re sold.

We took a wait and see attitude, pending the results of their multi-store sales analyses.  What we learned was that brand was the most important factor in pricing.  We found a couple of surprising patterns.  One, that exact same items were selling for more in lesser markets and for less in better markets.  And, two, that our pricing practices were not consistent.

Everyone knows the real estate mantra, “Location, Location, Location” when shopping for a home.  We are now convinced that in pricing women’s consignment, it’s “ Brand, Brand, Brand.”  While the NextGen Women’s Consignment  Pricing System certainly allows for location as a factor in pricing, it doesn’t carry nearly the weight as the brand.

The NextGen Women’s Fashion Pricing System takes the guesswork and agony out of pricing.  More consistent pricing means more money for store owners and their consignors.

Want your staff to be able to price too?

The Women’s Fashion Pricing System is created to make pricing easy—to take away  the anxiety that comes with being unsure of how to go about it.

If you can read the label in a piece of clothing (for example:  Ann Taylor, J. Crew, etc), you can price. All you have to do is enter the category in the space provided (blouse, sweater, etc), and then enter the brand!! I’m not kidding!  The system will prompt you to fill in the information and then show you the appropriate price range, which you can select or adjust.  There are no tricks.  It’s very clear cut.

Our price ranges have been selected from information on pricing that we have collected from several successful consignment stores across the country. The suggested prices are prices that these items have sold at…proven sales.  We give you a price range for each item is so that you have the ability to adjust the price as needed according to other variables, such as condition, age, locale, and demand.  The important thing to remember is that we give you a price range—not just one price.  You have the freedom to choose the price that is appropriate for your shop, but with confidence, that this range of prices is the right one.

Your staff can price with the same confidence.   All they have to do is enter the category and the brand, follow the prompts for the additional details and the price range will come up.  If they are very new to pricing, they can choose the mid point price and it will be a safe option.  Of course, you can always enter any price you choose, but if you stay within our price range, you can be sure that you are pricing appropriately.

This is an amazing product!  Your entire staff can price after a couple of hours with this system!

Talk to you soon,

Brenda Stark

 

The difficulty of women’s consignment pricing.

As an owner of four women’s consignment shops, I have a lot of experience in this business. Twelve years ago, when I bought my first shop, I remember how concerned I was about how this all works. How do you price used merchandise at the “right” price? You have to walk a fine line when pricing—you want things to sell, but at the same time, keep your consignors happy.

You can spend long hours researching how to price specific brands and items. You have some knowledge of what the retail prices might be, and you can search the internet, but it’s incredibly time consuming. You can’t always find what you’re looking for–and even then, you’re looking at retail prices. You still have to decide how to use that information to price your merchandise. It’s scary because you know pricing is key! You have to price it right.

The Women’s Fashion Pricing System from NextGen is the answer–absolutely! It will tell you how to price every item you take in by brand–from Gap to Ann Taylor to Armani! This system tracks prices using inventory sales data from a select number of successful consignment shops over a period of two years. Suggested prices are updated at least once a year and include over 4000 brands. This system is designed to suggest the best price at which an item will sell to the mutual benefit of consignor and shop.

It will help you price every item you take in as you are entering it into the Liberty 4 POS program. No extra steps or work…it’s all right there! I’ll be saying this often–I wish this had been available when I started!

More to come.

Brenda Stark

It’s never too late to start pricing right, but far better to price right from the start.

 

The NextGen Pricing System suggests the best price for an item that can be expected to sell within 75 days. Initially, NextGen obtained these data from a limited number of stores around the country. But in the last 2 years, the data base has grown to include stores in most states and provinces in North America. As most of these stores have been in operation for years, their addition to the data base enables Nextgen to better examine pricing strategies relating to area income levels and competition.

What have we learned? Far more stores under-price than over-price1

Why do stores tend to under-price? The fear that higher prices will turn away buyers

Underlying this fear is the assumption that buyer decisions are based on price more than value. This is to say that buyer decisions are driven more by item-specific price ceilings, i.e., “I would never pay more than ten dollars for a pair of sneakers” than on Value, i.e., I would never pay more than $10 for a pair of Converse” sneakers.” While the former mentality may be common among thrift shop customers, our analysis clearly demonstrates that it is the “Value” mindset that is prevalent in better consignment and resale shops, not the “Price” mindset. Simply put: Customers pay more for better brands than lesser brands.

Give your customers credit. They are value conscious and knowledgeable thanks to Google and other internet shopping and price-comparison sites. Always accessible at the press of a button on their smart phone.

What’s to be gained by raising under-prices? Customers, Sales and Profits

Right pricing is not what the market will bear, but what the market will embrace while maintaining timely sales. Dollar sales will increase. Margins—bottom-line profits—will likewise increase. Item sales may not, but should not decline.

Raising the price of under-priced items allows a corresponding increase in the amounts paid for these items. To get better brands, we must pay for them. The more we pay, the more we get.

Right pricing is Fair pricing, meaning fair to seller/consignor as well as buyer. In the end, it’s a win-win-win. The sellers earns more, we owners earn more, and buyers have access to valued items they would not otherwise see.

The Good news? While under-prices cannot be abruptly changed for fear of alienating longstanding customers, prices can be nudged up (optimized) gradually and imperceptibly over a number of years. Clients use the NextGen Pricing system to manage these changes.

1 Certainly, these data could be skewed. Perhaps the over-pricers are gone, having priced themselves out of business. Or just maybe we’re missing the under-pricers who didn’t have sufficient margins to cover their costs of doing business. Let’s reasonably assume a bit of both.

Pricing–the most challenging part of your business.

You have the store, the furnishings, the racks, the signage…and you’re taking in inventory.  Are you confident in your ability to price?  There are so many factors involved in pricing—it is one of the most important pieces of making your business a success.  At the same time, it is the most vague and challenging piece.

If you price too low, people will think that your product is cheap.  It’s very tricky–you think low prices will bring in business, and it may, but you will not gain a reputation for having great stuff,  just cheap stuff.  You are thrift. Shoppers will come to you because you have low prices, but you cannot sustain a business at that level, and your consignors will leave.

If you have wonderful labels, top of the line, but you overprice, they will stay on your rack…forever.  Or…you will have to reduce the price, and that sends a different message. Now the customer thinks there may be something wrong with the item, or perhaps start to doubt their taste or knowledge of fine clothing.  Not good.

Either way, you are not building a reputation for wonderful clothes at great prices!  When business is slow, it’s easy to start to doubt yourself, to second guess everything you’ve done.  I’ve been there.  It’s hard and scary.  The most important thing about your business is pricing.  You can have the most beautiful or trendy store–but if the prices are wrong–you’re in trouble.  And don’t forget, there is always another store opening to compete with you.

The bottom line is pricing.  It can make or break your business. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was a system out there to help you price?  Well– there is. The Women’s Fashion Pricing System is the answer!!!  It works. No more stress, no more guessing, no more anxiety.  We know the business you’re in, and we can help you make it successful.  Just enter the brand and category and we give you the price range.  It’s that easy!

Talk to us.  Let us help you. You’ll sleep better.

Brenda Stark

More About Pricing

I know it seems that we talk a lot about pricing, but that is because it one of the most important parts of growing a successful consignment business.  Next to continuously gathering great consignors, it is probably the most important component of your business.

Your pricing determines if your can pay rent or staff or stay in business.  How you price sends a message to your shoppers and your consignors.

If you price too low, you lose money and can give the impression that your merchandise is somehow not the best, not good quality.  Pricing too low leaves you no room to mark down.

Not knowing the value of your merchandise and pricing it too low can be disasterous. You quickly sell out of the good items and your consignors will not be happy with their share.

On the other hand, if you price too high, your things don’t sell and you are forced to mark them down.  If this is your pattern, you are actually training your shoppers to wait for your markdowns/sales.

So, what are we to do? You can spend all day, every day researching and checking prices and in your spare time run your business, but we all know that that won’t work.

What is needed is something that provides a balanced, real world and reliable approach to pricing.  The good news is that there is such a system.  It’s called the NextGen Women’s Fashion Pricing System.

With the NextGen Women’s Fashion Pricing System, you can be confident that you are pricing at good prices–the right prices, and you are pricing consistantly.

This sends the right message, that you know what you are doing.  Your consignors, shoppers, staff and your bottom line will be very happy.

Talk to us.  Let us help you. You’ll sleep better.

Brenda Stark

 

Buy Outright Pricing versus Consignment Pricing

Many NextGen clients are beginning to buy items outright, either selectively or completely.  Perhaps this is in responseto an increasing number of women’s resale “Buy Outright” stores or in an effort to improve sales margins.

The most common question about buying outright is, “shouldn’t we lower our prices to be sure they sell?” …and, by extension, shouldn’t NextGen have a set of lower price points for stores buying outright?

The answer to both is, NO!

It all has to do with your “Pay Price” which is how much you pay to have an item for sale.

  • The Pay Price for most consignment stores is 40-60% of the selling price paid to their consignors.
  • The Pay Price for most buy outright is 20-40% of the selling price paid to the seller of the item.

The lower Pay Price and higher sales margin of buying outright provides for any loss associated with items that don’t sell or sell for less than what the store originally paid for them.

It’s the buying or Pay Price not the selling price that needs to be reduced when buying outright.  While the temptation is to lower the selling price to gain the sale, the right strategy is to be more selective in what you choose to buy.   Bottom-line, the right price for an item depends on the market for it, not how it was acquired.

Takeaway Tip:  Many owners moving from consignment to buying outright often start with selected consignors, customers with items likely to sell within the consignment period.

Note:  NextGen Pricing systems are always calibrated to market, variously based on sales history, demographics, competitive landscape and strategy.