Women’s Consignment Pricing – The Importance of Brand
According to Brand Keys the New York-based brand and customer loyalty research firm: since 2008 the importance of brand names has consistently increased, standing in 2012 at 29%–more than tripling in importance over four years. The more considered a purchase, the greater the role a strong brand plays in the decision making process, especially when it comes to fashion. Moreover, it can be expected to continue. According to Brand Keys’ latest Fashion Shopper Survey, the youngest fashion buyers (21-34 year olds) showed the strongest lift in brand importance. What’s more, it’s as true for leisure and casual apparel as for luxury apparel. The Survey shows, Nike and Hilfiger ranking right at the top along with Armani and Chanel in terms of importance in the purchasing decision.
In the 2012 Brand Keys Fashion Brand Index, the top spot goes to Ralph Lauren/Polo, followed by one’s favorite sports team, Armani and Nike with Versace and Chanel, tied for fifth place. I would argue that Brand is even more important to Consignment shoppers who are far more value conscious than the average shopper. Indeed, it is what NextGen has found, ….in spades!
Women’s Consignment Pricing – The Importance of Demand
Brand, i.e. perceived value and original price is, of course, central in setting resale prices. Indeed, along with condition, they’re the only factors mentioned in consignment pricing guides. But of overriding importance is demand.
There are four principal outlets for resale apparel. 1) Individual Garage and online sales, 2) Seasonal Consignment Events, 3) Online Resale Sites and 4) Brick and mortar resale shops. The pricing metrics for the Seasonal Consignment and Online Outlets are only now being established as these ventures are new on the scene. While, Ebay and the like have the metrics, the enormous range in prices for like items renders them useless. In short, We aren’t able to speak to these, nor will the surviving ventures be able to do so for a time.
But the sharp difference in demand between the other two: 1) garage sales and 2) shops serves to clarify demand’s import in pricing. First consider garage sales. The number of shoppers looking for the type and size of resale apparel offered (demand) is typically less than a hundred–generally far less. Contrast this with a typical consignment shop typically showing apparel to 5000 or more shoppers over a period of 90 days.
It explains why guides for garage sale pricing suggest giveaway prices for women’s apparel at $1-3 per item or 10% of original price, while guides for women’s consignment pricing range into the hundreds of dollars and 25-40% or original price.
It explains why the highest prices at which items will sell invariably differs from one outlet type to another, and why a set of prices can only be pegged to one type of outlet and attendant demand. It explains why women’s apparel and accessory prices in NextGen’s Pricing System, are calibrated specifically to women’s consignment shops based on years of sales statistics across multiple stores.
In retail businesses, it’s safe to say that prices are invariably set by owners be they individuals or corporate, or by managers using pricing conventions provided by the ownership. This only makes sense as pricing is the revenue side of the bottom line.
When NextGen started working with resale stores, we expected to find the same. Much to our surprise, pricing in a number of children’s and women’s resale establishments is left largely to employees.
Prices set by employees are rarely optimum when compared to prices obtained by stores in comparable markets; they are most always on the low side. But as damaging as the profit loss commonly associated with employee under-pricing, is the price inconsistency that comes when employees are left to price largely on their own. The result is a loss of customer trust. With inconsistent pricing comes customer uncertainty that the tag price reflects value, and the consequent declination to pay the asking price ( i.e., buy) for items with unfamiliar labels. Translation > lost sales.
Owners need to own their pricing. While some employees who’ve been pricing welcome a company pricing system and the reduced anxiety that comes with it, others resist giving up this control. Indeed, NextGen has had a number of owners decide against the pricing system for fear of losing valued employees vested in the existing pricing—their pricing. Even with employee support, if customers are accustomed to employee under-prices, prices cannot be bumped abruptly. Prices must be adjusted incrementally in order not to sour longstanding customers. Fortunately, the mixed price/value association characteristic of most employee pricing practices, can effectively mask modest price changes.
The time is always right to take control of your pricing, … to take control of your business.
NextGen Resale and Consignment is a service bureau providing know-how, software and support to owners of resale and consignment shops. NextGen has grown from supporting stores selling used children’s apparel, toys and equipment to stores selling used juniors and women’s apparel and accessories.
NextGen clients buy outright and accept items on consignment. They sell new merchandise and used. All are brick and mortar operations; a small number sell on-line. Some have multiple shops, most only one. All require responsive how-to support as well as technical support. All utilize NextGen’s pricing system to keep prices current, and save time spent on buying, pricing and related training. All welcome as many features as they can get.
Initially, NextGen contracted with one of the few POS vendors supporting both consignment and buy-outright operations to customize its offering by building in NextGen’s buying/pricing application. In the end, the vendor was unable to produce, and NextGen had to forego its investment and renew its search—this time in a more diligent fashion. After an exhaustive and systematic review, we found Liberty 4, by Resaleworld. It was, is, and remains the only software that satisfies the essential demands of our varied clients. Specifically,
- First and foremost, capable of seamlessly delivering our off-line and on-line women’s, children’s and juniors pricing system
- Full-featured consignment as well as buy-outright modes—clients are increasingly using both
- Fully supports the acquisition and sale of new merchandise as well as used
- Supports on-line as well as off-line sales
- Available for purchase and installation, or on a monthly subscription basis as an internet service
- Supports multiple locations via a private network or the cloud.
- True ‘on-call’ technical support—not the as-available’ technical support characteristic of the little POS vendors that dot the resale & consignment software landscape.
- Lots of features—the most of any POS software in the resale industry
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.
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,
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.
“A Resale POS system without auto-pricing waddles like a duck on land,
with auto-pricing it streams like a duck in water” NextGen Knowledge Base
POS Auto-Pricing is a must-have tool for resale businesses today. It instantly suggests the right resale price of an item based on brand, condition, currency, features, composition, … . It dramatically cuts the time required to price. It assures that prices are correct and consistent. It adds considerably to a store’s bottom line. It frees owners and significant others to tend to sales, customer service and other areas important to the success of the business.
The challenges facing the buyer of resale merchandise, whether buying outright or on consignment, are far greater than those facing buyers of new. To arrive at an item’s selling price, the resale buyer must assess the currency, quality and condition of hundreds of types of merchandise (apparel, footwear, accessories, toys, equipment, each carrying one of thousands of possible brands / labels– numbers of a magnitude dwarfing those faced by even the largest retail buyers. What’s more the resale buyer must examine these items and determine the selling price one by one, each in a matter of seconds.
Little surprise that owners quickly find themselves and others in their employ spending an inordinate amount of time buying. It’s the black hole of many if not most resale operations.
It is no surprise that the POS system of virtually every resale franchise or chain has auto-pricing built-in. What is a surprise is that ResaleWorld’s Liberty 4 is the only POS system today with built-in auto-pricing available to independent Resale owners of women’s, juniors and Children’s Resale shops.
In the Retail industry, the gain in productivity realized with the move from cash registers to POS systems has been significant. In the Resale industry, the gain in productivity realized with the move to POS systems w/auto-pricing is proving no less significant.
Owning a consignment store is a big undertaking, and you can only do it alone for a while. Then you realize that you need a day off the floor every now and then to work on entering and pricing, but how?
NextGen currently tracks the pricing on over 5,000 women’s brands in order to keep its suggested resale prices in tune with the retail prices in women’s fashion. This involves the timely identification and valuation of brands—new, old, rising, fading, fallen; and distinguishing the many labels introduced by designers to appeal to different markets. It’s a demanding task in normal times, and especially now as the rate of brand/price change is as high as we’ve seen.
The significant change we’re seeing in women’s fashion pricing, specifically the growth in the designer brands at the top, and discount brands at the bottom, reflects the broader shift in income distribution. To quote Schwartz in his recent New York Times article (2/2/14) entitled The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World.
“As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.
The top 5 percent of earners accounted for almost 40 percent of personal consumption expenditures in 2012, up from 27 percent in 1992. Largely driven by this increase, consumption among the top 20 percent grew to more than 60 percent over the same period.”
John Graubard’s graphic observation in the same article sums it up “In a few years the consumer choice will be Neiman Marcus or WalMart.”