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What exactly is eBay Consignment?

So what exactly is eBay Consignment?

If you found this post I'm assuming you kind of know what it is already.  Or you may have heard of eBay drop off stores, eBay trading posts, eBay trading assistants, etc.  The list goes on but here's my clarification on the term eBay consignment.

I'll tell you what it's not first. It's not a traditional consignment shop with a retail storefront.   Although, it can have a retail presence, it's not a place where you can come buy something with cash or a credit card.   It's not even set up for public browsing.  Chances are the inventory is set up more like a warehouse.  Plus, you have to bid on eBay for anything you might want from the store.  If you are not an eBay member then you're out of luck.  Most sellers won't bother with the hassle of offering items to off-eBay customers.  Believe me, it is a hassle for inventory reasons and later for accounting.

An eBay consignment store is also not a good way to sell clothes, jewelry or furniture.  That's just a fact.   If you do come across a seller who will consign your wedding dress, dishes or big furniture items then they may be a bit desparate for sales and do not know the market well enough.  Those types of items are best left to consignment experts like Home Consignment Center in Austin or your local consignment boutique.

Ebay Consignment - The process of having an eBay trading assistant sell your items on eBay for you

It still sounds a little vague since it does not mention how it is different that regular consignment shops.

So how is it different and what items do eBay consignment stores generally accept?

The main differences are pricing, the types of items accepted for consignment and store setup.

The average commission structure across the industry is around 50%.  For eBay consignment stores price ranges anywhere from 25% to 45%.  I almost always see sellers using a tiered sliding scale too so the commission decreases as the price increases.  So eBay consignment is cheaper than traditional consignment.   But, they are apples and oranges.

EBay consignment stores usually accept items that have sold on eBay before for more than $50.  Using that as a general guideline, the most common ebay consignments are electronics, computers and collectibles.  Everything else is on a per case basis.  You really never know what is coming in the door but you can do your best to keep a black and white list to filter out bad consignments.  Also, using the word consignment is good and bad.   It's good because once a person hears about an ebay consignment shop then they know it's about resale or consigning goods. It's bad because most people associate consignment with clothing, jewelry and furniture, not all the categories we sell.

Finally, the difference in the store setup is where everything is stored.  In a traditional consignment shop you can walk in and browse through every piece of merchandise for sale.  In an eBay consignment shop, you have to know exactly what item you are planning to bid on before you walk in.  Chances are the inventory is on shelves and must return to the same location after inspection.   Plus, there are no cash registers or credit card terminals because everything is paid for online with PayPal.

Now that I've explained what the differences are let me quickly mention how both types of consignment shops are more innovative than you think.  Consignment of merchandise is a very profitable way of maintaining inventory.  Plus, it saves the earth by reusing items a second time around.  Also, the software used to manage an ebay consignment shop can make or break a business so we use only the most advanced tools out there like our own, http://tools.thesellery.com.

I really hope the stereotype of clothing consignment evolves to electronics consignment, musical instrument consignment and computer consignment.

Got any input or suggestions?  Leave a comment below.