Getting into consignment selling

Poster
Message
United States United States
Anonymous
Kudos: 155
Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Getting into consignment selling
25 Oct 2004
I am looking for a new opportunity. For many years I have been running a business in Surrey, employing more people than is conducive to good health & sanity.

I am considering becoming a consignment seller on eBay, it seems to be a good fit for me.

Do you know of any franchise or turn-key packeges to get into the business? I believe there may be one in the states but I have not heard of one here.

I would be grateful for any advice or warnings.
This question was originally received by email and has been edited for the forum
Herts, England United Kingdom
Andy
Kudos: 11,606
Joined: Jan 1, 2001
Re: Getting into consignment selling
25 Oct 2004
There are US "turn-key" packages of training, software, and wholesalers/drop-shipping sources, but fees are high and reputations poor.

There are a few software packages that specialize in consignment selling features (e.g. Liberty 4 Trading Assistants, Meridian) but they are both US products and are likely to have more extensive features for that market than the UK - be sure to check that advertised features are available to you before signing up.

I would recommend that you get plenty of experience selling on eBay, if you haven't already, as there is more to it than you might first imagine (you could sell your own unwanted items, or for friends and family, or buy items from car boot sales [flea markets in the US])

If you do decide to go into retail consignment selling it may be worth getting in touch with SellStuffEasy (East London) and Auctioning4u (West London) for advice and possible franchise opportunities. Bear in mind though that it is quite possible to consignment sell without your own retail location - SellStuffEasy in particular say that many of their customers prefer to have items collected from their homes. eBay have a directory of "trading assistants" but I would not expect to get much work directly from there unless your feedback is very high or you are very specialized.

I hope that helps
Andy Geldman, Web Retailer
Please follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+
Supplier
United Kingdom United Kingdom
sellthemoon
Kudos: 270
Joined: Oct 5, 2004
Re: Getting into consignment selling
26 Oct 2004
I gave up a senior executive position early this year and I now run a "consigment type" business on eBay in the UK. My first "warning" may be controversial - I do not believe that the "drop in shop" set up will work unless you have very deep pockets and are prepared to continue employing people. Its a business that relies on volume and real volume will require considerable investment.Already some of the trials run by the smaller players in the US are being "rationalised".
I have a different approach which is working well for me... Whichever way you go, Andys` advice about trying out selling on eBay (with more than a couple of items!) is valid - it is hard work! eBay selling will only work profitably if you are prepared to spend ALOT of time on it - at least initially, but I suspect you know that from your business experience
(I am presuming you want a business rather than a hobby!).

The main problem in the UK however, is the poor software. It is either offline "hobbyist" software which is missing vital features, or jumps to "online" systems which can be overkill and counter-productive unless you are selling alot of the same item (which with "drop in shop" or even door to door collection is unlikely). Compound this with software for stock control (again, a feast or famine UK choice) and Accounts software integration (nope!). The US has some excellent software (both on and offline) and I await its` arrival here !
Finally, I don`t think a franchise is the answer ( in the literal sense of franchising) - it is honest advice from experienced people you need in order to set you on your own path and at your own level.
London United Kingdom
auctioning4u.co.uk
Kudos: 150
Joined: Nov 16, 2004
Re: Getting into consignment selling
6 Dec 2004
I agree with the opinions expressed on this site (we have invested more than £200,000 in building out our business and are still quite far from breaking-even). However, we now have fully functional software and four stores running. I would be very interested in discussing various sites in Surrey and maybe team-up.

Christian
0870 06 10000

[Last edited: 24 Feb 2006]
Christian
Supplier
United States United States
EZ2Companies.com
Kudos: 50
Joined: Jun 5, 2005
Re: Getting into consignment selling
6 Jun 2005
Hope this is on topic. Please contact us for relationships and low cost listing of items and free exposure on www.ez2auction.com
We can set your stores up with free to list accounts, advertising banners, and record video of items

We have some listing tools, and our sites are growing fast, with ads starting to run.

Contact us for full information
www.ez2companies.com

[Last edited: 7 Jun 2005]
United Kingdom United Kingdom
jimmac
Kudos: 60
Joined: Jun 8, 2006
Re: Getting into consignment selling
8 Jun 2006

Andy wrote:

There are US "turn-key" packages of training, software, and wholesalers/drop-shipping sources, but fees are high and reputations poor.
Having researched many over the last year - I agree...
United Kingdom United Kingdom
jimmac
Kudos: 60
Joined: Jun 8, 2006
Re: Getting into consignment selling
8 Jun 2006

sellthemoon wrote:

I gave up a senior executive position early this year and I now run a "consigment type" business on eBay in the UK. My first "warning" may be controversial - I do not believe that the "drop in shop" set up will work unless you have very deep pockets and are prepared to continue employing people. Its a business that relies on volume and real volume will require considerable investment.Already some of the trials run by the smaller players in the US are being "rationalised".
I have a different approach which is working well for me... Whichever way you go, Andys` advice about trying out selling on eBay (with more than a couple of items!) is valid - it is hard work! eBay selling will only work profitably if you are prepared to spend ALOT of time on it - at least initially, but I suspect you know that from your business experience
(I am presuming you want a business rather than a hobby!).

The main problem in the UK however, is the poor software. It is either offline "hobbyist" software which is missing vital features, or jumps to "online" systems which can be overkill and counter-productive unless you are selling alot of the same item (which with "drop in shop" or even door to door collection is unlikely). Compound this with software for stock control (again, a feast or famine UK choice) and Accounts software integration (nope!). The US has some excellent software (both on and offline) and I await its` arrival here !
Finally, I don`t think a franchise is the answer ( in the literal sense of franchising) - it is honest advice from experienced people you need in order to set you on your own path and at your own level.
I agree with a lot of what you say here - (the answer we believe is somethnig in between - but software is crucial and I dont know why the UK hasnt caught on!!

Jim.
United States United States
compuboy
Kudos: 20
Joined: Jan 1, 2009
Re: Getting into consignment selling
1 Jan 2009
Hey,

Another option that you have for getting rid of some of the help is using a fulfillment center (like Amazon). You can send Amazon the stuff that you want to sell and Amazon will store, pack and ship your items for you. If I'm not wrong they will also take care of your customer service for those products. That should save you a couple of employees!! As well, if you use their shipping method to ship it to them (their UPS account) they ship your product to the customer at no extra cost to yourself, which also saves you a lot of money in shipping fees!!

It's just a thought.

Good Luck.

Happy New Years.

Sellware
Ad-Lister
Xpress Lister
2nd Office