3 Ways to Strengthen Your Consignment Store’s Brand
Branding is a crucial part of any business. But it doesn’t have to be complicated!
Make your store stand out!
As you set up or restructure your consignment business, "branding" is probably somewhere in the back of your mind (assuming you haven't already gone through the process). Both new and experienced business owners know that creating a strong, distinct brand is an indispensable part of establishing a new business. After all, well-executed branding offers a host of benefits, such as:
Improved customer loyalty
New client creation
But it can be difficult to define branding and apply it to your own store. It's one of those "marketing-ese" concepts that can be pretty vague if you don't have previous experience with it. So in this article, we're going to walk you through exactly what branding is, as well guide you through the most important parts of establishing your store's brand.
What is branding, anyway?
The American Marketing Association defines branding as "… a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller's good or service as distinct from those of other sellers." This means that branding includes not only your store name and logo, but also your storefront, in-store layout, customer experience, and mission. At its core, branding is defining your store's unique identity, the process of specifying what makes your store different and worth patronizing. It's the art of creating and presenting the unique experience people will enjoy at your store.
While anything that contributes to your business' distinct experience is part of its brand, we're going to focus on the three most important elements that will attract and engage customers and consignors alike. These elements are:
Name and logo
Mission and values
Storefront and in-store experience
Name and Logo
Your store's name and logo are the first things that customers and consignors interact with, so they need to 1) be distinct and 2) set the tone for the rest of their experience with your business.
The simplest approach to creating a store name is to combine the word "consignment" with a relevant city name, street name, or personal name. But you can also have fun with it and use some creative wordplay. For example, Austin Storm, founder of ConsignCloud, owns a consignment store called "The Storm Cellar," and his wife used to run a kids shop named "Hansel & Gretel." Play around with some different names and pick the one that you think best reflects your store's identity. Just make sure it's not too similar to the names of other store's in your area, and be aware that if it's too long, it could appear cut off in online business listings.
You don't necessarily need a graphic logo, but if there's an image that works well with the name and store identity, it will certainly strengthen your brand. At the very least, you should style the store name to make it look fun and attractive. You can work with a graphic designer or use design platforms like Figma to make customized names and logos.
Mission and Values
Meaning is important for consumers. Eighty-nine percent of shoppers stay loyal to brands that share their values, and 13% of consumers would pay 31% to 50% more for your products if they thought that your business had a positive impact on the world.
Look for ways your store can serve a greater cause, then make that cause a key aspect of your store's identity. Many people start consignment stores to help their family and friends make a little money off of their unwanted items, while some want to help keep money within their own communities. Across the board, consignment shops are dedicated to promoting more sustainable shopping practices, and it's not uncommon for store owners to donate some of their profits to local charities or to host community events.
Storefront and In-Store Experience
The way your storefront is set up tells passersby about your brand identity.
As a feature unique to your store, your merchandise is part of your brand. When you display merchandise in your storefront windows, they become part of your branding, too. What you display and the way in which you display it will tell passersby a lot about your store's identity, so take some time to think through your set-up.
An effective approach is to come up with a theme or visual story, centered around a focal point or star product. This will simplify the displays and direct the movement of the eye. Since natural light is brighter than most artificial light, make sure the windows are well-lit, and use your displays to create a barrier between passersby and the visual clutter of the rest of the store.
Once someone is drawn inside your business, the theme in the windows should transition seamlessly into the rest of the store. The art you hang on the wall, the music you play, the dress code you set for employees, the scents you use, the displays you set up, the merchandise on the floor, and the lighting you choose should all blend together and complement each other to create a unique, well-branded experience for customers and consignors.
The most important consideration is store flow. People often blitz past the items in the front and turn to the right, making their way in a loop around the merchandise floor. You can capitalize on this tendency by placing items along this loop that reinforce your brand. And, of course, if you have a website, treat it the same way you would a physical store. It's pretty simple to build out unique, aesthetically pleasing sites that strengthen your brand identity using platforms like Squarespace and WordPress.
Branding goes beyond these three parts of your business, but creating a unique name and logo, defining your mission, and curating a cohesive, complementary store experience will go a long way to establishing your store's unique brand identity. If you're looking for other informative content about how to optimize your consignment store's operations, inventory, promotion, and more, feel free to check out the rest of our blog!