Circular Marketing in Consignment

Circular Marketing in Consignment

What is Circular Marketing in Consignment?

Although I’ve been using the term “circular marketing” for about 3 years now, I’m not exactly sure what the official term means. Based on a quick Google search, it seems to mean a marketing message that runs throughout every platform in a marketing strategy (see this article for more). That works I guess.  I simply use the phrase for anything our business does to bring repeat customers back in the store.

In addition to Circular Marketing, we do mass marketing (one message to many consumers), micro marketing (one message to one consumer) and in-store marketing (great customer service and merchandising.) Now, it is true that any of those could lead to return customers, but there are a few things we like to do in our shop which transition the occasional shopper into a committed regular.

Here is our line-up:

Weekly Newsletters

We have been collecting email addresses since the day we opened.  There have been times we have been very consistent and others when we’ve let too many customers slip through the cracks when it comes to collecting contact information, particularly emails. Recently, I instituted a customer loyalty program for the simple fact that it gives us a non-intrusive system for collecting customer contact information. So far, it has been a huge success.  In exchange for an email and phone number, we reward our customers with discounts! Win-Win.

circular marketing in consignmentEach week we send out a short email with information about what’s going on at each of our stores. The key has been to keep it short and sweet with some key links to our social sites and online inventory pictures and to throw in a freebie.  Usually the “extra” is an article or link that we pull from the internet on budget decorating or frugal living. It’s a hit! And it reminds our occasional shoppers to come back and see what’s new each week.

A couple other success factors to the weekly newsletter is excellent compelling subject lines (here are some examples) and simple teasers (breadcrumbs) that will lead the customer in the store that weekend.  I like sending these out on Thursdays to help our customers gear up for their weekend visit.

“Thank You” Calls

This circular marketing activity is, admittedly, more sporadic for us than our weekly newsletter, but it’s fun when I have the time to sit down and make the calls.  I simply browse through the previous weeks sales and make personal phone calls to our biggest buyers or consignors.  It sounds like cold calling, but this activity could be nothing farther from cold calling. These are HOT prospects for your next big sale.  I rarely (and I mean rarely) have a person on the other end annoyed with my call.  I often tell my team that this is one way we can beat the big box retail stores. No one would ever expect to get a personal call from the CEO of Target, right? It’s a big deal!

Customer Treasure Hunt

On our sales counter we keep a clipboard with a simple excel spreadsheet that is titled “30 Day Wish List” at the top. It has a space for about 20 people to let us know what they are looking for. We circular marketing in consignmentcollect a name, phone number, email, (ahh… another great source for newsletter subscribers, with permission, of course) and a description of the treasure that our customers are hoping to find.  We make sure to tell them that we only keep the information for 30 days and to check back often because we can’t always immediately get to the list to call them before another person comes in to snatch up their treasure. But we ensure them that we will check it 1-2 times per week… and we do.  A wish list can actually serve to hurt you if it is not utilized.  If someone is expecting a call when you get that leather sectional or Louis handbag in, they will not be in a big hurry to come in and find it. It’s a balancing act.  If you are not going to use this tool well, don’t use it at all. If you choose to use it, you will find that it will serve to get that one and two time customer accustomed to coming in on a regular basis.

Name Dropping

This is the cheapest circular marketing tool you will find!  Train your employees to remember names. The second you call a customer by name, they count you as a friend! And folks love to hang out with friends.  I’m sure, like us, you have those few special customers or consignors that just like to come in two or three times per week to see how things are going. Well, every so often they bring their friends! If you can make a friend you gain access to the other people connected to your new friend.  And, as Dale Carnegie says, “A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

What are your Circular Marketing Tools?

So, what systems have you put in place to turn occasional shoppers into committed regulars?

Seriously, I’d like to know.  Shoot us some ideas in the comments section below…