Consignment Model

Reaching new markets, managing inventory, and minimizing risks can be difficult challenges in doing business. The consignment sales model can help with this.

Whether you’re a seasoned online business owner or a fresh starter, understanding the consignment model might just be what you need to be successful.

Learn all about consignment in this article to gain the knowledge and skills that solve your problems and improve your business.

How Does Consignment Model Differ From Traditional Sales Models

A sales model is how a business strategically sells its products. These business models have existed for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in some form or another. 

Various traditional sales models include the following:

  • Retail Sales Model: Retail stores purchase from wholesalers and then sell it to end consumers.
  • Franchise Model: Granting rights to other businesses to operate under their established brand.
  • Direct Sales Model: Directly selling items or services to consumers.

There are more types, though, and one of them may be right for you. But they are not what we’re here to discuss.

But a business model that’s piqued the interest of owners recently is what we call the Consignment Model.

Consignment model basics

But, what is consignment?

Consignment is a business arrangement between two parties where items can be shipped from a supplier to a retailer to display, advertise, and sell their products or services for them. In this model, the retailer will be paid a portion of the revenue from the sale. 

Many consignment shops often specialize in selling particular products and attracting buyers. Thrift stores and second-hand shops are examples of a consignment business model.

Usual goods sold through consignment are clothing and shoes, art, athletic equipment, antiques, furniture, musical instruments, and jewelry.

Consignment model vs. traditional sales models

While the traditional model has its advantages, the consignment model has its own set of benefits to offer business owners. To understand how both will benefit you, let’s look at their differences.

The main differences between the consignment model from traditional sales models include:

  • No storefront or marketing is needed: Consignment is a way to make money without having to spend energy creating listings on marketplaces or maintaining a physical store. Plus, retailers will do the advertising, so a marketing strategy isn’t required for the suppliers.
  • Easier cash flow: Retailers don’t need to pay for inventory; it is only when a product is sold that they will pay the owner on terms set by the retailer, and any unsold goods at the end of the consignment period can be returned to the owner.
  • Developing a motivated customer base: Retailers with a reputation for sourcing in-demand items can attract motivated, returning customers.

The consignment model benefits both suppliers and retailers in ways not found in a traditional sales model. 

Suppliers reduce inventory and marketing costs, increase cash flow, and access new markets. 

For retailers, the consignment model provides lower financial risk, greater sales potential, access to unique products, and improved cash flow.

Consignment Model Key Concepts 

Consignment Model Key Concepts 

If you want to have a thorough understanding of the consignment model and how it will benefit you, you need to understand several key concepts: who will be involved, what will be the agreements, the ownership, and most importantly, what benefits will be gained.

Consignor and Consignee 

In a consignment arrangement, two key parties will be involved – the consignor and the consignee.

The individual or business entity that supplies goods, products, or inventory to another party is the consignor. The retailer to whom goods are entrusted to display, advertise, and sell is the consignee. 

To better understand, let’s make a sample scenario.

An online Filipino website, PinoyKrafts, showcases unique handmade products made in the Philippines. Pedro joins PinoyKrafts as the consignor in his first consignment deal, showing his handcrafted bags for sale. PinoyKrafts as the consignee, displays Pedro’s products on their platform.

This benefits both parties – Pedro gains exposure to a broader audience without the need to create an online storefront, and PinoyKrafts curates a diverse range of high-quality products without the financial risk of purchasing goods upfront. 

Consignment Agreement

For both parties to ensure a successful and profitable consignment agreement, they need to have terms and responsibilities

There should be clear guidelines for both parties to avoid misunderstanding. 

In a consignment agreement, a special form of terms and responsibilities should include the following: 

  • The quantity and quality of the consigned items; 
  • The commission and payment terms; 
  • Clear expectations for handling inventory maintenance
  • Duration of the agreement or the consignment period
  • Responsibilities of each party
  • The process of returning unsold goods on consignment; 
  • A dispute resolution.

By including these key components in a consignment agreement, both parties can work together for a collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship. Ultimately, this is a win-win situation for both the consignor and consignee.

Inventory Ownership

Inventory ownership means being legally and financially responsible for a product in a supply chain. 

To continue the sample scenario above to understand this key concept, Pedro retains ownership of his bags until a customer makes a purchase. When a sale occurs, PinoyKrafts receives a percentage of the revenue, and Alice is paid the remaining amount. 

In most consignment arrangements, inventory ownership remains with the consignor until the consignee sells the product to the end consumers. 

Unlike traditional sales models where ownership transfers upon delivery, in consignment, the consignee takes possession of the inventory but does not assume ownership until a sale is made.

This setup allows the consignor to maintain control over the products and reduces the financial risk for the consignee until the item sells.


Benefits of the Consignment Model for Consignors

Entering a consignment deal brings numerous benefits for consignors, blending ownership and financial responsibilities with strategic advantages. 

These benefits include:

  • No storefront is needed: In consignment, consignors do not need to spend energy on creating a storefront or listings on an online marketplace. The consignee will do this job.
  • No marketing or advertising: A marketing strategy is not required because the consignee will also do this job.
  • Access to new markets and customers: Consignors can reach a wider audience in a consignment arrangement compared to doing marketing on their own.

By agreeing to a consignment, consignors actively work toward boosting their market presence and financial strength. This is something that would be difficult to pull off in traditional models, as achieving the same effect would require more time, effort, and resources.

Benefits of the Consignment Model for Consignees

Consignees also have numerous benefits that create a dynamic space where financial wisdom blends with diverse inventory opportunities.

Here is how consignees can benefit it this case:

  • Lower financial risk: Consignees will experience reduced financial risk because they won’t need upfront costs. They will only pay the consignors once the goods are sold.
  • Wider variety of products: Consignees will have access to various unique products from different consignors, offering a distinctive inventory that can attract many customers.

The consignment model shields consignees from the burden of unsold inventory while also empowering them to create profit from product varieties. In traditional models, the risk drastically shoots up if you try to match the product variety that’s available in consignment models.

Consignment Model in E-commerce

The prevalence of e-commerce and online marketplaces stems from the increasing trend of online shopping, its convenience, and the chance to engage with a broader customer audience. 

These platforms have established a way for businesses to connect with customers all around the world.

In the US, some of the major international e-marketplaces are eBay, Lazada, Alibaba, Rakuten, AliExpress, and Etsy, while Amazon leads as the largest e-commerce marketplace, with about 2.2 billion visits per month.

Meanwhile, Lazada, Shopee, and Zalora are the large consignment marketplaces that are top choices for both buyers and sellers in the Philippine online market. This is because of their wide range of products, customer-centric platform, immediate payment options, brand credibility, seller support, and logistics being offered to Filipino customers.

As an online business owner, you need to recognize the importance of these marketplaces because they offer you a unique path to tap into a digitally engaged consumer market. 

Incorporating the consignment model within these platforms can boost your business presence and profit from the flourishing e-commerce landscape in the country.

Pricing Considerations in the Consignment Model 

It is important to discuss pricing considerations in the consignment model to create a pricing strategy for both parties to gain profit and set fair and competitive prices in the market.

The pricing considerations to include should be the following:

  • Commission agreement: You need to consider the percentage of the commission for the consignee in setting your price. A consignment store typically receives 25% to 60% of the sales price in consignment fees.
  • Market Demand: The demand for an item is an important factor to consider. If your product is in high demand, you can set your price higher.
  • Product’s Value: The brand, age, rarity, and condition of your product can also affect the price. Products or items in excellent condition can be priced higher, while a designer bag that has been used multiple times can be priced lower.
  • Competitor Prices: Researching competitor prices and trends helps to ascertain competitive pricing and consumer product expectations.

Being mindful of the percentage of the commission, market demand, product value, and competitor prices, can help you create a pricing strategy that lets you ensure a competitive and reasonable price for your customers.

Evolving Trends and Future Outlook 

Evolving trends in the consignment model of the Philippine context include the integration of advanced technology and the rise of the resale and second-hand market which reflects sustainability.

The integration of advanced technology is becoming prevalent. Online e-commerce platforms nowadays offer real-time tracking, automated inventory management, and enhanced communication channels between sellers and buyers. This trend boosts operational efficiency and aligns with the preference of the digitally-inclined Philippine consumer base.

Furthermore, Philippine markets are witnessing significant growth in the popularity of secondhand apparel and sustainable products. Filipino consumers are interested in second-hand items as a sustainable option, creating a rise in the number of thrift stores and second-hand consignment shops.

Monitoring the trends in the consignment model is a big advantage for you. It empowers you to proactively adapt to changing market dynamics and consumer behaviors, catering to the evolving preferences of the Filipino consumer. 

It also presents an opportunity to align your consignment with sustainability practices, thus appealing to a socially conscious Filipino market.

Most importantly, it allows you to strategically plan, position yourself as an industry leader, and profit from emerging opportunities using the consignment model.


Frequently Asked Questions

How does consignment work?

In a retail consignment, the person or business who owns the merchandise called the consignor, delivers them to the consignee, or the store owner. The consignment shop displays the items, and when they’re sold, the money is divided between the product owner and the store based on their agreed-upon commission.

What is a steady stream in consignment?

A “steady stream” means a constant flow of goods from the person who owns them to the seller. This guarantees that the seller always has products available for customers. The term highlights the reliability of the supply of goods in consignment, which is useful for maintaining a steady level of business activity and sales.

Is consignment suitable for small businesses?

Consignment selling may or may not be attractive to a business owner, depending on their situation. However, with the right skills and knowledge, it can be great for any business, offering a minimal risk to enter the market and grow without needing heavy investments.