If you own a thrift shop, it’s probably because you enjoy unique objects, treasures of art, creative designs and the ability to pass on all those wonderful things to your customers. But how good are you at the business aspects of your store? Do you know how to manage your thrift shop efficiently? If you answer, “well, no” or “I’m not sure,” then read on for some ideas to help you run your business better and perhaps even make a bit more profit.
Write a Business Plan
First, if you don’t already have a business plan, write one. You can use an online template to get you started. A business plan lays out the purpose of your shop, the roles and duties involved in running it, the kinds of products you focus on, your budget, and any marketing strategies you’ve developed. Your business plan can help you get and stay organized in those rather tricky and sometimes boring aspects you have to deal with as a store owner.
Keep Track of Your Inventory
Another tricky aspect of running a thrift shop involves your inventory. Do you know exactly what you have in your inventory? If not, then you should start cataloging right away. Software is available to help you list items in your inventory, keep track of prices and see what sells and what doesn’t. You’ll have to update this program everyday based on your sales, but you’ll have a much better grasp of all those unique objects.
Streamline Your Sales
Also, make an effort to streamline your sales. You might use a convenient POS system for resale shop to help you manage orders, print receipts and even track donations. Such software allows you to schedule deliveries and pick-ups, too, so that you always know what you have coming up on any given day.
Know Your Customers
To better manage your thrift store, get to know your customers, especially your regulars. Learn about their collections, and make a point to notify them when something comes in that might make them excited. You could start an email list, too, and send out notices about news and sales. The more connections you make with your customers, the more involved they will be in your store, and the more you might sell.
If you want to draw in some new customers, you should focus on your marketing. Perhaps you already take out ads in the local newspaper, but this might not be enough. You must get creative. If you don’t already have a website, then build one. You can start with a simple online template, but be sure to purchase your own domain name so that customers can find your website easily. Later you can use your website for online sales if you choose. Don’t neglect social media either. Build pages for your store on Facebook and Twitter, and start interacting with customers. You could post fun facts, unique object profiles and valuable promotions.
Put Your Finances in Order
Perhaps you’re great at inventory, sales, customer relations and marketing but not so hot at finances. Yet this is an important part of your business, so you must learn how to put your finances in order. Start by entering all your income and expenses into an accounting program. Make logical categories as you do so that you can see where your money is coming in and how it’s going out. If you have any debt, make note of that as well. You should look for software that allows you to create invoices, print detailed reports and see exactly how much you have at any moment. With your finances in order, you might feel more confident about your business.
Owning a thrift store is a labor of love, and you probably take great joy in handling all kinds of merchandise and matching each piece with the perfect customer. But leaning how to manage your shop more efficiently could make a big difference in your bottom line and make your store even more of a pleasure to run.