Today was my monthly yard sale. I have written before about how I have these with coupon-bought items, but not really much description. Price it all and keep it in totes and bins, usually priced and ready to go at least a couple of days ahead of time. I use small stick-on tags from Wal-mart, they are the cheapest I have found. I mark the prices clearly, using a fine point Sharpie.
On yard sale morning, we load up everything and take it to town (because I would NEVER do well so far out in the country). I set up my yard sale in the parking lot of my husband's work (which is right next door to the Dollar General -- great captive audience).
I have found that butting the tables right up to the truck keeps people from roaming around behind the "counters", because I really like to keep people out so that I can move from person to person very easily. I use six tables -- two on each side and two in the middle. Keeping like items together, the labels of each item turn outward, just like they would on store shelves. I try to keep items in the same basic location from sale to sale, since I HATE it when stores move their aisles for no good reason -- I like knowing where things are, and I think my guests probably think the same.
I keep a large (repurposed) hamper full of shopping bags, which I beg from everyone I know -- it's ok, they are glad to be rid of them. I separate them and throw them all into the bin. When a customer picks up the first item, I sweetly say "Here's a bag, fill it up and we'll add ya all up at the end." They can put more into the bag than they can gather into their hands. If they fill up one bag, and are still browsing, I take it and put it into a crate "behind the counter", then give them another bag. Some guests fill up as many as 10 bags in one trip.
Great prices are the best point of it for my guests. I have a very loyal customer base, probably close to half of all people that come to my sales come each and every month. If I am uncertain how much to price something, I take a trip to Wal-Mart and compare prices. It is a rare occassion, but I have even gone up on things a little when other stores have. It means I can afford to pay a little more, which means I can be more liberal with my deals and still know that I can make a profit. Shoppers are still saving a great deal of money -- yet I can offer them more variety, since I do not have to merely depend on the "free deals" for their selections.
So it all boils down to three main things: Great prices (if they are not saving money buying with you, what's the point?), Location (the most traffic possible -- at a rent free location is best) and Great Service (how many times have you sworn off a store due to rude employees?). It is the basic fundamentals of any business, and if you can get the merchandise cheap and a location for free, the rest is up to you. Just be your lovely self and you, too, can learn to make a profit through shopping.