Consignment: All you need to know about consignment stores in Australia

Consignment meaning and definition

Traditionally, consignment is a commercial arrangement where a person (the consignor) delivers their items to another person (the consignee) so they can sell items on their behalf. 

Consignment is different from traditional retail where the retailer buys items from suppliers at a lower price, then mark up the price to earn revenue. Some retailers, whoever, may mix the retail model with consignment to reduce their working capital.

How consignment works

Consignment allows consignors to sell their items without hassle, as the consignee is responsible for the listing, pricing, photographing, authenticating, packing and shipping of items to buyers. The consignor will receive a percentage of the final selling price, following the consignment policy and payout rate, when the item sells during the consignment period. If the item does not sell, the consignor will not receive any payment — as the consignee also does not receive any payment.

SwapUp online consignment store follows this same arrangement. Our sellers (the consignors) send their used / second hand women and kids fashion to SwapUp’s facility (the consignee) by ordering a SwapUp Kit. Our team will then sort the items and accept items following our consignment policy. We only accept high quality second hand items that have no damage, no stain and no odour.

When accepted, the items will be shown on SwapUp’s website and other sales channels for a period of 180 days — after some time, SwapUp may adjust the items’ price to increase the chance of selling. Sellers can track the status of each item along with a photograph, estimated sale price and expected payout from their SwapUp account. When an accepted item sells, the seller receives a percentage of the final selling price, which they can use to cash out, donate or shop from SwapUp. Items that are not sold after 180 days become SwapUp’s property.




Consignment store vs Op shop

Op shops is the Australian terminology for charity shops. Op shops accept items as donations and therefore do not offer anything in return. 

The biggest difference between consignment stores and op shops is that consignment stores provide returns to the sellers when the consigned items sell, while op shops do not. Consignment store operations are often a lot more complicated as the team needs to document each item’s owner and consignment period, as well as manage the payment for all of its consignors.

Consignment store vs Thrift store

Thrift store is a generic terminology that is often used to describe a business that buys and sells second hand items. A thrift store may operate under a consignment or donation model. In some cases, they pay the sellers up front for their items — although very few stores in Australia do this.

Consignment store vs Marketplace

Marketplaces allow sellers to directly sell their items to buyers through an online website. Some marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree are free because their revenue comes from advertising. Others, like eBay, charge listing fees and some percentage of the final selling price. 

The main difference between consignment stores and marketplaces is that consignment stores do the hard work for sellers, while marketplaces require sellers to manage their own listings, including negotiating, arranging pickups and deliveries with buyers. Marketplaces are great for people with a lot of extra time in their hands and for selling items that have reasonable value, require little to no verification and are traded locally. Household items, for example, are perfect for marketplaces (unless they’re buying a designer item, has anyone ever verified that the dining table they’re picking up is a real Ikea?).

Online consignment store Australia

In Australia, the most common types of consignments are for luxury fashion, particularly designer handbags and clothing. But this arrangement can actually be used for many other categories such as mid-range fashion, furniture and cars. Other consignment stores are curated with a focus on vintage or collectable items only.

Many consignment stores have a physical presence but SwapUp is only available online because we want to offer a greater reach throughout Australia.

Which consignment shops buy clothes

SwapUp is an online consignment store that allows you to sell your women and kids fashion. Our online shop website offers second hand clothing, shoes and handbags from most brands in Australia except those on the opposite ends. We do not accept:

  • Items from big box retailers like Aldi, Best & Less, Big W, Kmart and Target because they don’t have any resale value (they’re also often poorly made under questionable condition for workers, so we strongly recommend that you avoid shopping from them)
  • Luxury items like Gucci, Louis Vuitton and the likes because we do not have a trained verificator in-house. This may change in the future — watch this space.

Which consignment shops pay the most

SwapUp offers the most competitive rate compared to other consignment shops in Australia, as shown below:

Selling price
SwapUp payout
$5.00 - $14.99
$15.00 - $29.99
$30.00 - $49.99
$50.00 - $99.99
$100.00 - $199.99




With SwapUp, sellers can earn between 10-80% of the selling price. The amount that SwapUp keeps helps us pay our staff (unlike op shops, we're not run by volunteers!) and covers the costs of sorting, listing, photographing, storage, marketing and shipping of all items. Unfortunately, a $10 item requires the same level of effort as a $50 item. That's why sellers earn less on lower value items, but much more on higher value ones. 

Because higher value items mean better payout for sellers, our SwapUp community is encouraged to invest in quality items that are locally and ethically made.

Is selling on consignment worth it?

It depends. If you have a lot of time at hand and would like the highest return, marketplaces like eBay, Depop, and Poshmark might be your best bet — you'll earn way more than consignment, but you'll also spend a lot of time doing the hard work.

Weekend markets are great too, but from our experience, unless you're ready to spend the whole day packing, steaming, and transporting items all day, it's way too much work. If you're ok with selling stuff at super low price (and you have a lot of stuff to sell), it could be an excellent option though.

We might  be biassed here but selling your second hand clothes on consignment is probably the most convenient way to clean out your wardrobe. You do not need to invest the time and effort to sell all those clothes, shoes and handbags and earn a decent amount back. Plus, if you sell with SwapUp, you can conveniently drop off your consignment items to the nearest Australia Post. If you have any questions, feel free to email our team at

Happy consigning!

Back to blog