The Nature of Consignment

In a consignment arrangement owners of merchandise place items in the custody of consignees who are charged with the safekeeping and sale of the inventory.

The management of this peculiar arrangement and relationship calls for specialized software with unconventional features addressing special requirements.

Consignment Inventory

The ownership of consigned products remains with the consignor but the items are entered into the shop's inventory records:

Secondhand wares are usually held for a limited amount of time - to keep new inventory in the store to entice return visits. At the end of the holding period, inventory can be destroyed, donated, returned to owners or transferred to shop ownership.

A specialized software program is needed to facilitate such records and transactions, so 'inventory management' is one aspect of such applications.

A robust program allows assignment of taxation and discounts by category as well as detailed descriptions and identifications of supply.

Client Relationships

A store operator will have several groups of contacts:

Each group will be managed differently, requiring separate 'work areas' within a software program for records and means of communication (phone, email, text, mailings, etc.)

A fully-featured program will have provision for variable commission rates on consignment sales in addition to unique ways of communicating with and reporting on clients.

Special Point-of-Sale Aspects

Perhaps the primary uniqueness of 'consignment software' is the automatic division of sales proceeds per line item on the sales invoice.

Of course when a shopper comes to checkout her or she may have a variety of items belonging to various consignors (owners). It's the specialization of the software to know of each item and its owner and what percent of the sales proceeds are to be credited to each consignor's account balance.

Such software has the common functions of allowing discounts by dollar amount or percentage, per item or per invoice, making entire invoices tax free, and printing sales receipts.

Dedicated resale software would also allow designating a sale as a layaway with the ability to schedule future payment dates and amounts as well as tracking outstanding layaways and closing out finalized layaways. Here again the software would know to remove layaways from inventory with the first payment.

A truly versatile application allows merchants to use any credit-card processing available. Limited programs require stores to use their 'integrated processor' largely because the purveyors of such software get kickbacks on every store sale.


The crowning distinction of software for consignment is the settling with consignors of sales. Anyone who has attempted by hand to keep track of consignors, inventory, sales, amounts owed and payment appreciates the time saved and frustrations avoided by automating the entire consignment process with software.

Best Consignment Shop Software does every mentioned in this article and more for a one-time payment ranging from $295 to $795, depending upon the extent of features. A demo can be performed remotely on your computer and please note that this is not a 'sales call' but a software demonstration - 888-427-5779. Here's a video overview.

More On Consignment

If you are a consignor placing items on consignment at a secondhand store, avoid issues by understanding the terms of the agreement. It is the obligation of the shop owner to take that opportunity to disclose practices and conditions.

If you are a shop owner it isn't necessary to learn the lesson that has been learned by so many before you: piling on fees and attempting to 'hide' fees is a good way to drive clients away, so here's a heads up: Wilson at 'consignpro' has a feature in his software program that allows shops to deduct a fee prior to dividing sales proceeds and not disclose it to consignors.