In its most basic form consignment selling involves one person giving an item to another person to sell on their behalf whilst retaining ownership until the goods are actually sold. Consignment relies on a relationship between two parties – the consignor (person providing the goods) and consignee (person receiving goods).
Consignment is a word that has become very much linked, particularly in the US, with second hand fashion shopping. A consignment shop describes a shop that sells goods on someone else’s behalf. The shop does not buy the goods, instead the consignee (the seller) pays the consignor (the person who owns the item) a portion of the proceeds from the sale. Payment is not made until/unless the item sells. In the UK, the term "consignment" is less often used – more common terms are 'dress agency', 'clothing exchange' or the simple 'second hand shop' - but consignment is becoming a much more widespread term.
There are several types of consignment stores - some are online, some operate through a physical shop front, some sell on eBay and many utilise a combination of two or more of these. In most cases the process for the consignor involves them taking their unwanted items to their selected consignment shop but the better sellers will often collect. Many consignment shops also have restrictions on the age of items they will sell. When a consignor's item(s) sell the consignee takes a percentage of the sale price.
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