How To Start An Online Thrift Store

Online Thrift Store
Online Thrift Store

Are you ready to go thrifting? If you do, the online thrift stores are the points of interest for you. These are the stores that sell gently used items for huge discounts. Thus, it is a chance to find an awesome branded piece for nearly nothing. The demand for thrifting is growing because it is considered fashionable and morally right to buy used items, not new ones. Practically, it is close to recycling, as soon as no new resources are wasted for creating the items that you buy. During the pandemic, the market of used things has become even bigger and reached a stunning $28 billion, still showing a trend for rapid growth. 

What is a Thrift Store?

When you have the item that costs an arm and a leg but it does not fit you anymore, it is time to sell this one and get another one. Or you might have a dress you just don’t want to put on anymore. Either way, the dress might bring you some money. To get that money, just dry clean your item and sell it online. The store that sells used items online is the thrift store that might be brick-and-mortar or an online one. Having an online thrift store is a nice choice to have an online store that sells items and brings profits practically since the launch. 

What Are The Benefits Of Having An Online Thrift Store?

An online thrift store has got plenty of benefits. For starters, it is a nice commitment to the reduction of environmental pollution. Thrifting reduces water consumption and contributes to the reduced carbon footprint of humanity in general. Thrifting allows to boost the trend for thoughtful consumption and allows to use less energy. Moreover, thrifting is cheaper and is a kind of giving back to the community. Running an online thrift store is a great way to participate in thrifting as a trend. You are going to feel like a fighter against the fast fashion trend while also making money. 

How Much Does It Cost To Start An Online Thrift Store? 

The cost of starting an online thrift store might be very different. The cost practically consists of several components: product cost, the cost of website development, delivery system, marketing campaign cost, and the wages paid to employees, if any. Usually, this does not constitute an expensive business. On average, if you are trying to do as much yourself as possible, you are going to spend as little as $3,500 for starters. So, if you have a limited budget and you are going to use an eCommerce platform for setting up your store, you are going to be fine. 

How To Start An Online Thrift Store

Starting an online thrift store is difficult only if you don’t have any idea about your brand, which is really rare. Usually, when you are thinking about setting up a store, you already have a developed idea of how this store is going to look and function. However, if you are still unsure about that, take a look at the suggestions below.

Find Your Niche

The first step to build an online thrift store is to find your own niche or build it. The thing is, when you come to a brick-and-mortar thrift store, you usually see boxes of stuff that you need to go through to find the actual item you need. The online thrift store is aimed to reduce the time spent searching. Instead, a selection of items is offered. Thus, you are minimizing the time that your visitors spend searching, and they are going to be grateful for that. Just think about the niche you want to target and build your collections around it. For example, you might focus on women’s shoes or retro dresses.

Create a Brand 

When you have your niche ready, it is time to develop a brand. Branding is a story that you would like to tell about your business. It is up to you what parts of the story to highlight but it is better to be your competitive advantage. So, think about the advantages you are going to bring to your target audience when thinking about a name and building a brand. The rule of thumb is to have your name, logo, design, and style be aligned with the brand message. It is important as soon as today we live in a world full of brands, and a lot of products are strongly associated with the brand to the point that the brand name means a product, like Oreo means chocolate cookies to have with a glass of milk. Be unique and specific, and your brand is going to get popular soon. 

Set up your online second-hand store

When setting up an online second-hand store, there are several approaches to choose from. For starters, you might use the eCommerce platform as a basis for your store. In this case, it is fast and easy to set up your store and make it running. Moreover, you can set up your store even with no skills in programming. The process might not be a piece of cake, but you are going to be able to launch your online store pretty soon and all by yourself. Within the process of launching and functioning, you are going to have a support team helping you on the way. However, with an eCommerce platform, you might need to pay the fees for every transaction and there may be limits on certain categories you want to sell in or the number of categories to choose.

The alternative to the eCommerce platform is self-hosting and building a website from scratch. It is a much more expensive way, and a long way to have your online store up and running, but with the custom development, you are going to have full control of the website. Moreover, this approach is going to require technical knowledge and skills. At the same time, you are going to face the need to pay for hosting, domain, and security features anyway, which makes the approach of setting up an individual and unique website expensive and long.

At the same time, it is not the either-or choice, you might go beyond these options and choose something other. For example, you might choose to set up your online store on the marketplace. At the marketplace, you get totally free space and might start selling right away. Moreover, the marketplaces have already got the target audience that is ready to shop. However, you are going to face a strong rivalry with competitors. In addition, you might be required to pay fees to the marketplace.

Source Products

When you have everything settled, it is time to add your products. At first, do not start with a big collection. Instead, start small. With smaller collections, you might add the items that are the most popular and get rid of those that are not liked by your customers. When making a collection, there is no need to spend a lot of money as soon as you can pick your items from garage sales, thrift stores, eBay, clearance stores, and flea markets. Just remember, the cheaper you want your collection to be, the more time you will need to spend making it.

Managing Inventory

The most common way to manage inventory for a thrift store is to use barcoding software and a computer to maintain the records of the items that were sold and the items that are remaining in the inventory. Often, this process is implemented through the use of the ThriftCart Point of Sale. When it comes to organizing the inventory, the best idea is to group your items according to the gender of the customers, the season, probably year, and a thematic collection. Whatever the system you choose, you will have to be consistent with it. 

Pricing Your Products

When pricing your products, think carefully about paying your costs. When you are sure your costs are covered, check if the price is competitive when it comes to your rivals. One more thing to know is to research the real value of the product. Do not sell anything for less than it deserves. It is important that every item is priced appropriately so that nothing is missed just because you just did not research it well. 

Create a marketing plan

Finally, create a marketing plan. No business will work well when your customers do not know anything about you. So, make it happen that your customers know you, create a marketing campaign and run it well.

For starters, connect the analytic tool, like Google Analytics, and determine the keywords that your potential customers use. Then, make sure to use SEO (search engine optimization) in your links and product descriptions so that the pages are indexed in a search engine well. In other words, you have to know what items your target audience uses when searching for the products they need and use the keywords of these items for your product descriptions. 

Moreover, do not hesitate to use social media marketing and paid advertising. Any marketing channel is great when you get your audience to know more about you. When marketing campaigns are built wisely, they can bring a lot of customers, many of which will stay with you and bring their family and friends. Thus, while requiring not so much investment, thrift stores might potentially bring billions in revenue, just think carefully about your marketing. The nicely done marketing campaign is a brilliant step ahead to business success.


When the preparation is done and the website and the collection are all set, it is time to launch. When starting, remember that making a business is full of victories and failures, so get strong and be prepared for anything on your way to success. Remember to celebrate everything, like the first buy, the first $100 in revenue, etc. We at SOFTLOFT are ready to help you at any step of the way to your celebrations, just contact us to get the professional help that you need. As a company, we are highly skilled at developing online stores, and we will be happy to apply all our skills and knowledge to turn an idea into a successful business. 

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