Estate sales are an industry that has traditionally relied on local foot traffic, word of mouth, limited mailing lists and often corner signs to attract attendees. While one person in my neighborhood sold their house and all the contents in one fell swoop, that’s not always the case, so consider just a little pre-planning and prep to increase your sales and profit faster.
1. List Inventory Online to Maximize Google Search Capabilities
Make a listing for every single item and price it accordingly. Most inventory management software has pricing assistance built in, so while it may seem time consuming to post every item, it will take less time to list it with the pricing assistant than to look individual items up manually. Make sure each listing is accurately described including each item’s condition on a scale of poor to like new.
A nice feature of an automated inventory management software is that you can sort inventory into categories by room online and onsite at the sale making it easy for people to pay in advance and then pick up the items the day of the sale.
Take great pictures with accurate measurements. Take pictures in good light, front, back, top & bottom, as necessary. Measurements are also important as are care tags, etc on clothing. The more accurate your descriptions, photos and measurements are the less questions you have to answer later.
2. Determine Markdowns and Strategies for Multi-unit Items
Most estate sales sell items “as-is”, and the first day there’s less price flexibility. When running a sale both online and in person, the competition heats up, so consider when you want to reduce prices and how much. Ideally you are having a 90-100% sell through so you have fewer leftover items at the end of the event. You can set up “make an offer” online with automated acceptance rules built in. During the event you will want to have one person watching the website sales to tag items sold prior to the buyer arranging pickup or shipping.
Using inventory software allows you to decide what percentages you’d like to markdown throughout your sale.
‘For example, maybe the first 2 days are at full price with make an offer online set to accept anything higher than 25% off. The third day maybe you take 33% off and the final day is 66%. Your inventory system will calculate all that for you, show the correct prices in your online catalogs and remove sold items as they sell online or at the event.’
Your software will also print tags, again, saving time from having to make a sticker manually for each item.
You can also offer bundles – like 3 frames for $10 onsite – but when selling items online you can utilize the ‘make an offer’ button and possibly sell each frame for $10 to generate more money overall.
3. Show Me the Money! Promote and Ensure Good Traffic Flow
You want buyers to arrive and buy early. Having inventory online allows early browsers – who maybe don’t buy immediately- to decide after they leave that they really want something to pay and pickup which helps with your traffic flow. People can pay anytime through your website, or you can run the card onsite with a wireless card reader but either way, you get your cash faster when you have organized yourself to accommodate both onsite and online buyers.
Keep items to the perimeter or center of each room at your onsite location, and don’t clutter tables with too many items. Shoppers should be able to glance over your things and keep going if they’re not interested, and you want enough room for a few people to stand and deliberate without holding everyone else up.
Have your staff ready and trained to provide service onsite and online. Customers have lots of questions but now if you have your website running properly you can capture more people who didn’t have time to drive back today but want to buy something they saw.
Start your promotions early. Use email blasts, postcard marketing to previous customers, local newspapers, neighborhood signs, Facebook, EventBrite, Craigslist and most importantly, online ads. People search on their phones so if your website is set to scrape to Google Shopping properly you will see immediate impact on your sales.
4. Set up Easy Shipping and Delivery
Your online site will be set up for immediate collection of delivery and payment if you choose. Customers can easily pay for delivery if you have it coordinated in advance. Longer haul trucking is easy to set up if you take time to plan it and have that option for shipping, delivery and handling as your business model demands.
After all, we want to sell those pianos, so make it easy for people to have them delivered.
About Carolyn Thompson & Aravenda
Carolyn is the Founder of Aravenda Consignment Software with over 15 years of experience in the resale and consignment industry. Her organization, Aravenda, was created to assist individual’s and organization’s needs both in person and online to expand their reach with it’s simple to use online inventory management software.
If you are looking to automate your Estate Sale, Antique Mall, Flea Market, Swap Sale or other type of resale business, The Aravenda team is ready to help you make a successful website move. Click here to message us about setting a time to discuss your business today.