Latest Guide

What Is Consignment? Definition and How It Can Work for You (2024)

Explore the definition of consignment and discover how this business model can benefit you in 2024. Learn the ins and outs of consignment, including practical insights on making it work effectively for your business.

Published Date:

Published Date:

Published Date:

July 4, 2024

July 4, 2024

July 4, 2024

Last updated:

Last updated:

Last updated:

July 4, 2024

July 4, 2024

July 4, 2024

Consignment Store Sales Pricing Guide Season
Consignment Store Sales Pricing Guide Season
Consignment Store Sales Pricing Guide Season

Consignment 101: Understanding the Business Model and How It Can Work for You

In today's ever-evolving retail landscape, entrepreneurs and small business owners are constantly seeking innovative ways to sell their products and reach new customers. One increasingly popular approach is the consignment business model. In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into the world of consignment, exploring its definition, benefits, and challenges, and provide real-world examples to help you determine if this model is right for your business.

1. What is Consignment?

At its core, consignment is a business arrangement where goods are sold by a consignee (typically a store or platform) on behalf of a consignor (usually an individual or small business). The consignor retains ownership of the items until they are sold, at which point they receive a predetermined percentage of the sale price. This model differs from traditional retail, where the store purchases inventory upfront and assumes the risk of selling it.

2. How Consignment Shops Work:

The consignment process typically involves the following steps:

  1. The consignor brings their items to the consignment store or platform.

  2. The consignee evaluates the items and determines their sellability and pricing.

  3. If accepted, the items are displayed for sale in the store or on the online platform.

  4. When an item sells, the consignee collects payment from the customer.

  5. The consignor receives their agreed-upon portion of the sale price, as outlined in the consignment agreement.

Consignment shops often specialize in specific product categories, such as clothing, furniture, or sporting goods, and cater to a particular target market. This specialization allows them to build a reputation as experts in their niche and attract a loyal customer base.

3. What Types of Products Do Consignment Stores Accept?

Consignment stores accept a wide variety of products, depending on their specialization and target market. Some common product categories include:

  1. Clothing and accessories

  2. Designer and Luxury

  3. Sneaker Resell

  4. Furniture and home décor

  5. Sporting goods and equipment

  6. Musical instruments

  7. Electronics and media

When considering what items to consign, it's essential to research the specific requirements and preferences of the consignment shops in your area. Most shops have guidelines regarding the condition, age, and style of items they accept, as well as any brands or product categories they do not accept.

4. Advantages of Consignment:

Consignment offers several benefits for both consignors and consignees:

For consignors:
  1. No upfront costs for inventory or retail space

  2. Potential for higher profit margins compared to selling items outright

  3. Access to an established customer base and marketing efforts

  4. Opportunity to test market demand for new products

For consignees:
  1. Reduced risk of unsold inventory

  2. Ability to offer a wide variety of products without significant investment

  3. Opportunity to build relationships with local artisans, designers, and entrepreneurs

  4. Potential for high-profit margins on sold items

5. Disadvantages of Consignment:

While consignment has many advantages, it's essential to consider the potential drawbacks:

For consignors:
  1. Less control over pricing and merchandising

  2. Delayed payment, as consignors only receive funds after an item sells

  3. Potential for items to sit unsold for an extended period

For consignees:
  1. Dependence on consignors for inventory

  2. Responsibility for storing, tracking, and managing consigned items

  3. Potential for consignor disputes over pricing, item condition, or payout terms

6. Examples of Successful Consignment Businesses:

1. Flight Club - Sneaker Consignment Store

Flightclub -

FlightClub - A popular sneaker and clothing consignment store with locations across the United States, known for its variety and acquired by GOAT for $60 Million in 2018.

2. The RealReal - Luxury and Designer Consignment Store

The RealReal -

TheRealReal - An online luxury consignment platform that authenticates and sells high-end designer clothing, accessories, and home décor. RealReal.

3. Play It Again Sports - Secondhand Athletic Gear

Play It Again Sports -

Play It Again Sports - A national chain of sports equipment consignment stores, offering gently used gear for a variety of sports and activities.

4. Ebay - Online Consignment

eBay Consignment -

eBay Consignment - A peer-to-peer online market that offers a consignment service for select product, such as luxury handbags. Learn more about eBay consignment service.

5. Legacy NYC - Sneaker Boutique

Legact NYC -

ConsignR Customer: Legacy NY - a proud ConsignR app user who buys, sell, and trades sneakers, clothing, and accessory from reputable brands that are extremely popular and limited. Their flagship is located in front of the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York.

7. Kickstart Your Business with ConsignR: The Ultimate Consignment Software Solution

As the consignment business model gains popularity, managing operations efficiently becomes crucial for success. This is where ConsignR, a leading consignment software solution, comes into play. ConsignR offers a suite of features designed to streamline consignment store operations and enhance overall efficiency.

Comprehensive Consignment Shop Software: ConsignR is a robust consignment shop software that simplifies the entire consignment process, from intake to sales and payouts. With ConsignR, store owners can easily track inventory, manage consignor agreements, and monitor sales performance. This comprehensive solution ensures that every aspect of your consignment store operations is handled with precision and ease.

Multi-Location Consignment Management: For businesses operating multiple locations, ConsignR's multi-location consignment management feature is a game-changer. This allows store owners to oversee inventory and sales across various locations from a single, centralized platform. It streamlines operations, reduces errors, and provides real-time insights into the performance of each store, making it easier to make informed business decisions.

Enhanced Store Efficiency: Efficiency is key to the success of any consignment store, and ConsignR is designed to maximize it. The software automates many time-consuming tasks, such as pricing, tagging, and sales tracking. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of human error, allowing store staff to focus on providing excellent customer service and growing the business.

Automated Consignor Payouts: One of the standout features of ConsignR is its automated consigner payouts. This feature ensures that consignors are paid promptly and accurately, enhancing their satisfaction and encouraging long-term partnerships. The software calculates payouts based on agreed-upon terms and schedules payments automatically, eliminating the need for manual calculations and reducing administrative workload.

Real-Time Reporting and Analytics: ConsignR provides real-time reporting and analytics, giving store owners valuable insights into their business performance. These reports help identify trends, track top-selling items, and monitor consignor contributions. With this data at your fingertips, you can make strategic decisions to optimize your inventory, pricing, and marketing efforts.

User-Friendly Interface: ConsignR's user-friendly interface ensures that even those with limited technical skills can navigate and utilize the software effectively. The intuitive design makes it easy for store staff to learn and use, reducing the learning curve and increasing productivity.


Consignment is a flexible and adaptable business model that offers benefits for both consignors and consignees. By understanding the advantages, challenges, and real-world examples of successful consignment businesses, entrepreneurs and small business owners can make informed decisions about whether this approach aligns with their goals and target market. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, consignment presents an exciting opportunity for businesses to expand their reach, test new products, and build stronger relationships with their customers and community.

Consignment Store FAQs:
Answering Common Questions for New Owners

  1. What percentage do consignment shops typically take?

Consignment shop fees vary, but usually range from 10% to 40% of the selling price.

  1. What types of items do consignment shops accept?

Consignment shops often specialize in specific product categories, such as clothing, furniture, sporting goods, or baby items. Acceptance criteria may include item condition, brand, style, and current market demand.

  1. How do consignment shops determine the selling price of an item?

Consignment shops typically work with consignors to determine a fair selling price based on factors such as the item's condition, brand, original retail price, and current market demand. Some shops may have a set pricing formula, while others negotiate prices on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Are consignors responsible for any fees or costs associated with consigning their items?

In most cases, consignors do not pay any upfront fees to consign their items. However, some consignment shops may charge small fees for services such as item pickup, cleaning, or repairs. Any applicable fees should be clearly outlined in the consignment agreement.

  1. How do consignors get paid for sold items?

Consignment shops typically issue payouts to consignors on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly. Payouts may be made by check, direct deposit, or store credit, depending on the shop's policies and the consignor's preference. Consignors should ensure they understand the payout schedule and method before consigning their items.

  1. Who retains ownership of the consigned items while they are in the possession of the consignment shop?

The consignor retains ownership of the items until they are sold. The consignment shop is responsible for storing, displaying, and selling the items on behalf of the consignor, but does not assume ownership. Once an item is sold, the ownership is transferred directly from the consignor to the buyer, with the consignment shop acting as an intermediary.

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