Consignment Sale Checkout

While planning your consignment sale, many times it can be helpful to put yourself into your buyer's shoes and to think about their experience at your sale.

Usually, the number-one complaint (if you're lucky) you will receive from buyers is about slow checkout.

Buyers will have ample patience for slightly disorganized merchandise (it is a consignment sale, after all), and they will normally be quite forgiving if other aspects of your sale are not quite how they expect, but when they are done shopping, they will expect an efficient and streamlined process for checkout.

The checkout process is the last impression that buyers have of your consignment sale, and if it is a bad impression, they may think twice about returning to your next consignment sale. If this happens enough, your sale will slowly become less and less successful, which makes your sellers less successful as well, which might cause fewer of them to choose to consign with your sale. This can cause a downward spiral which can be difficult to reverse.

Consignment Sale Checkout Planning

Before you start planning anything else related to checkout, it is a good idea to take some time to think about the overall process you will use at checkout, and to be sure that you have all your bases covered.

Consider the following:

  • How many cashiers will you need? Will this number vary at different times of your sale?
  • Will you be offering some type of receipt to buyers?
  • Do you need to rip/cut part of the item tags to retain for your consignors/sellers? If so, will you rip the tags prior to the cashier station, or will the cashier cut the tags and perform checkout too?
  • Do you have a cash box available for each cashier station? What is your plan to fill each cash box with enough to provide change?
  • How will you physically control the cash boxes? How will you track the amounts in each cash box?
  • Do you have any add-on items that you will promote at checkout?
  • What is your training plan for the cashiers?
  • How will a buyer find your checkout area and exactly how will they proceed through your process?
  • Do you need one or more helpers that are there to simply respond to spur-of-the-moment needs that arise?

Point of Sale System (POS System)

If you use a POS System, such as's online consignment sale management, you will already be ahead of the game with regard to ensuring that your checkout process is smooth, efficient and, most importantly, fast.

This topic is discussed at length in its own article: Consignment Sale POS Systems.

Cashier Helpers

You might consider lining up one helper for each cashier you will have at your consignment sale. The cashier helper is there to assist the cashier in order to make the checkout process as fast as possible.

This role can be a critical factor in making the whole process run smoothly. You really don't even want to define this job very much at all. It may be best to have each helper discover how to best assist each cashier.

Consignment Sale Security

Consider having more security in place than what you think you will ever need for your consignment sale, and hopefully you will never need it.

Physical security of cash boxes is paramount, and you will want to have a plan to keep a sufficient supply of cash in each box, and not much more. You should have central control over how cash is tracked, how cash is removed periodically from each box, and how it is controlled and counted.

You may also want to plan on tight control of how buyers will enter and exit your consignment sale, while at the same time ensuring that you are not blocking emergency exits should they become necessary.

Some consignment sales will print a receipt for each purchase and have some security helpers at the exits to perform a quick check of all items leaving the sale.

So, consider if your POS system allows for a receipt to be printed, and in what order the items are listed. Most expensive should be listed first so they are easily identified. You don't want to have anything stolen (or accidentally missed at checkout), but it is always better to have lost a couple of one- and two-dollar items than something that is much more expensive.

Security is a big topic, and it is covered in more detail in this article: Consignment Sale Security.