Sourcing from thrift stores offers a very broad selection of items with potentially low sourcing costs.

Some sellers hunt for high margin valuables such as collectibles or antiques which have been undervalued by the thrift shop, however even inexpensive items may represent good resale opportunity.

Thrift stores offer items in used and damaged condition, and they rely on sidewalk traffic to make up the majority of sales. Pricing is normally very low compared to other retailers. Some stores base pricing on purchase activity seen online which can result in tighter margins for online sellers.

Pricing research is essential for sellers sourcing second hand goods due to the variety of product categories found in thrift stores, the complication of imperfect product condition, and the challenge of identifying items without packaging or labels.

Types of Outlets

  • Second hand stores, Thrift Shops
  • Value Village
  • Salvation Army
  • Consignment Stores
  • Pawn Shops

Advantages

  • Sourcing costs are generally lower than other retailers.
  • Valuable items can be sourced for little cost
  • Items can be sourced in single or small quantities.
  • Items can be inspected in person before purchasing.
  • The location and hours of operation for each retailer is static. 
  • Small amounts of inventory can be stored at home.
  • Sellers can specialize in certain product niches which are commonly available like clothing, books, dishes

Disadvantages

  • Identification of obscure items can be challenging
  • Items are usually in used or damaged condition, complicating valuation
  • Inventory cannot be replenished (normally). 
  • Inspecting inventory and traveling between retailers is time and effort intensive per opportunity
  • Requires immediate payment for inventory.
  • Inventory requires storage.
  • Challenging to scale upwards as business grows.
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