How to Deal With Empty Space


It’s one of the most common issues new consignment store owners face:

Empty space in their consignment store.

Sure, you’ve found a great location with lots of promise, but that doesn’t change the fact that it starts out empty. Even if you have some inventory, it’s likely it doesn’t fill the entire space. While space looks terrible in a consignment store, it can also give new customers a negative connotation about your new shop, which can lead to decreased sales.

There’s good news, though: empty space may not be the insurmountable obstacle you think it is.

Here’s your simple starter guide to dealing with it:

Understanding Empty Space

Even the most beautiful and successful consignment stores start as empty space. No matter how experienced or inexperienced you are in the world of consignment sales; it takes time to build the right type of inventory for your store.

There’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, though.

Many consignment store owners get so desperate to fill their shelves that they reach for anything to fill space, even if it’s low-quality or not in-line with their target customers.  

Unfortunately, this isn’t a wise use of resources.

Here are some things you should always remember about empty space in your store:

  • Your customer base will grow in the first few months, which means that filling your empty space with “Crap” will only hurt you in the long run. Instead, leave yourself time and space to fill your store with items these customers want.
  • If you have a store packed with “filler items,” you won’t have room for the items you know your customers are looking for.

3 Smart Ways to Reduce Empty Space

Consider the following before stocking your shelves with sub-par inventory:

1. Make Your Space Smaller

Looking for a smart way to deal with empty space, without sacrificing the quality of your merchandise?

Why not just make your store smaller? Even if you’ve invested in a large space with lots of square footage, it’s easy to purchase and hang dividers, which halve the space and give you less area to fill.

This is a great strategy for those few months after you first open when you’re working on building your inventory and customer base.

2. Plan Ahead

Put some time into finding the best new merchandise and making a plan for how it will fit into your store. Since you have extra floor space right now, it’s the perfect time to make a plan for where specific items will go, and how you’ll display your offerings.

As you work through this, consider how you want your store to “feel” when customers walk in. What should the flow be? What should they see right when they enter the door?

No matter what you choose to stock, be sure to make a smart plan for how you’ll display your items. The better they look, the more likely customers are to buy.

3. Get The Best Inventory Possible

Focus on obtaining the best and most unique inventory possible. Send out a Facebook post letting everyone know what type of items you’re buying, and consider going as far as offering a consignment split on preferred items.

Take some time to visit auctions or flea markets to collect store-owned items that will help you draw new customers. Keep in mind that you also have the option of contacting vendors to rent space within your store.

No matter which route you choose to take, brainstorm some ways to separate your store from the competition.

Smarter Stocking Starts Here

How have you dealt with empty space in your store?

By taking a smart and long-game focused approach to gaining inventory, you can ensure your store stands out from the rest and remains salient for years to come.

Have any suggestions of your own? We would love to hear them! Feel free to shoot us an email at, and we will add your advice to this blog to help other owners.