9 Business Tips To Make Your Yard Sale A Success
You might want to hold a yard sale to either raise some quick cash or simply because you feel that it’s about time you clear the junk piling up like a mountain in the garage. But how do you make sure it has the best chance to make the rewards worthy of the hassle which you have to undertake?
Yard sales, or garage sales, have been conducted by home owners for decades. And you would think that with such a track record, there is bound to be a lot of wisdom about how to make one a successful one.
Well, there are. Here are some of the best.
1) Collaborate with neighbors
Just like any mega retailer, you want to bring as much merchandise as possible onto the selling floor. The basic reason is that merchandise will not be sold no matter what if they remain in the warehouse.
By the same logic, you want to replicate that as well. So when you pull in your neighbors in the estate and hold a jumbo yard sale, your “store front” becomes more enticing for people to stop and walk in. surely, you would draw curiosity from passer-bys when they notice commotion going on at your front yard.
Other than that, your neighbors could bring in more traffic from their own social networks. If all goes to plan, you might even feel like your event being a social one when in fact you are doing business. That’s a great neighborhood to be part of.
Alternatively, you could consider holding a part-yard-part-rummage-sale to pull in traffic from all directions.
The basic equipment you need are essentially tables for display, chairs for you and your team to sit around, drinks and snacks for you and the team, a cash register if required, small bills so that you are ready to make change when needed, fans and shade in case it becomes a hot day, electrical points where people can test out electronic gadgets, etc.
You might even want to prepare a t-shirt you would think nothing of for sweating throughout the day. And since you are at it, do a weather check when planning which day to hold the sale.
3) Layout and product placement
Just because a yard sale is supposed to sound like a messy affair does not mean that it has to be so. You could be tempted to ignore planning a layout and just go with the longest display tables you can get, but that can be disastrous. Ideally, every table you use should be for customers on one side and you on the other. This means that the best layout is often built like a fortress on the law protecting your house. Moving the layout configuration around should give you various viewpoints to determine which is the best for you.
If people are allowed to circle the whole merchandise area, you are making your own operations prone to theft. Many other things can happen if you do not insist on order.
Electronic items should be placed in the area where your extension cords are found. Big items that are eye-catching should be placed as close to the road as possible. The stuff that you think will sell the best should be place in the middle of your merchandise area. Items that you feel will be most appealing to older folks should always be placed on tables. Other stuff that only appeal to kids can be left on the floor.
4) Careful pricing
You don’t want to scare off your customers by selling at retail. At the same time, you also don’t want to literally give away your stuff. If you really don’t know what prices to set for your items, go take a look at eBay or other online auction sites. There website marketplaces are overrun with used items. And they often display prices which the market plays into.
You can then set a target of 60% of the price of a similar item on selling on eBay. Meaning if your item is selling for $25 online, you can price it at $15 at the yard sale. To make sure people understand that they are getting a good deal, have a computer or tablet nearby so that you can show prospective buyers how great a deal they are getting from you.
5) Segment items by price
It will be an overkill if you attempt to display your items by category. The best option is to group them up by selling price. Have wide basket for items at $2, $5, $8, and so on. this makes managing your operations so much easier. You won’t have to answer questions on price a hundred times too.
6) Make it informal
Hey, you are not wearing a business suit and tie. So you can drop that façade of a corporate senior manager. Talk to people as if they are your friends. If they buy, good. If not, so be it.
People don’t really expect you to go formal on them at a garage sale. So don’t go against the flow. The odds are that if you manage to make people feel comfortable with talking to you, they wouldn’t think twice about buying something which they value.
Just remember that you are not inviting them into the house for a beer and poker session. You can do that on another day.
7) Say “I’m letting it go”
Surely some of your stuff are not working at 100%. It’s not something you need to hide. If people come to a yard sale and expect items in mint condition, they must be kidding themselves. At the same time, you should not be bad-mouthing your stuff.
For example, if someone ask you why you are selling a perfectly working torchlight, going into the story of how it failed you in a critical time of need during a blackout will not help you sell it. In times like this, which will be many, just say “I’m letting it go” with a smile.
If you have roped in your neighbors for a group yard sale, you definitely want keep a simple ledger recording all the stuff that were sold so that the proceeds can be distributed fairly. Money is a sensitive issue whether you like it or not. Don’t let a few dollars stick a wedge between your relationship with your neighbors.
Even when you are conducting the sale yourself, a simple ledger will help you track the money and inventory. So do use some method of basic book-keeping.
The best part of advertising your sale is that you don’t need to hire a professional designer to design your marketing materials. It’s a yard sale for goodness sake. People would not expect a luxuriously flawless marketing brochure. In fact, if you go too premium at your marketing, people might be confused with what they are exactly looking at.
So go for practicality instead of beautiful design. The 3 key items in your marketing messages is the location, the time, and a scarcity factor like “2 days only”.
The places to place your ads include social media, signages, online classifieds, etc. The best method is to do a SMS blast to all your friends and request that they blast to all their friends, and so on. This can quickly create a viral effect that will reach a lot more people than you can imagine.
9) Marketing gimmicks
Even though you are not exactly running a billion-dollar retail operation, it does not mean that you cannot use marketing plays which the big boys are using.
One of my favourite is the good old purchase-with-purchase (PWP). If you know you have something that is highly valued by people which no shortage of takers like an iPad, make the full use of it. Put it on center stage with ample room and have a sign that says anyone can purchase it at your 60% price if they already made a $50 purchase from your regular yard sale. Since you are going to sell your used iPad anyway, this will help leverage it’s pulling power to move more merchandise off the shelves.
And if you have as much junk as the average household, you would have more than one of these desirable items to let go.
Go take a look at the local supermarket and pick up tips on how their retail marketing tricks generate more revenue. Sometimes, 1 single ideas can reap super rewards.
Lastly, you want to capture as many contact details as possible. Email is the most casual contact information that people are open to giving out. So grab as much as you can. This is so that you can send them emails or “newsletters” should you hold a sale again in future. It is also an opportunity to tell them what are still available after your sale.