Goodwill launches online store so thrift stores can shop from home

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Treasurers flocking to Goodwill stores will now be able to do more treasure hunting online.

The 120-year-old nonprofit on Tuesday launched GoodwillFinds, a newly formed shopping company that puts around 100,000 donated items for sale online and expands Goodwill’s internet presence which until now has been limited to sites auctions like ShopGoodwill.com or individual stores. sell donations online through eBay and Amazon.

Goodwill Finds ships to Canada in addition to the United States, according to the store’s FAQ, but shipping isn’t free, “to maximize funds available to make a positive impact in the community.” A pre-owned Kate Spade leather handbag priced at US$44.98 could be shipped to Ontario for a fee of, say, $18.32, with an estimated delivery time of five days.

CBC News has contacted Goodwill to ask if there are any plans for a Canadian version of the online store.

The website notes that buying second-hand items saves “three billion pounds [1.36 billion kilograms] used items out of landfills every year.”

In 2016, 347 kilotonnes of textiles ended up in Canadian landfills, according to the 2020 report National waste characterization report produced by Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The second-hand clothing trade is booming

GoodwillFinds’ goal is to have one million items on its site within a few years, said Matthew Kannes, new CEO of the online shopping arm, which offers search tools that allow shoppers to browse by category. . Eventually, GoodwillFinds will be personalized based on a customer’s past purchases.

The new venture will support Goodwill Industries International Inc. by helping to fund its community programs across the United States that provide job training, job placement and mentoring for youth. It should also increase donations, while helping to expand its clientele.

Unlike rivals like Thredup and Poshmark, customers can’t use GoodwillFinds to make donations and will still need to visit one of the organization’s 3,300 U.S. and Canadian Goodwill stores to deposit them — for now. But Kaness said as the business grows, Goodwill will eventually offer the service.

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The move comes as the second-hand clothing sector is expected to grow 16 times faster than the broader retail clothing sector by 2026, according to a report by research firm GlobalData for Thredup. It also comes at a time when soaring inflation is pushing shoppers to be more frugal.

“Our new social enterprise makes it easier for conscious consumers to shop online in a sustainable way, while enhancing the savings experience they love at Goodwill,” Kaness said.

In 2021, retail revenue from donations to Goodwill was more than US$5.4 billion, the organization said. GoodwillFinds follows in the footsteps of ShopGoodwill.com, which was launched in 1999 and sells many items at auction.

Donations always made in store

“Goodwill is a very big part of the used market, but it’s been focused on stores. That’s its legacy,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, “Online has been an afterthought suddenly and was done in a very informal way with the regions.”

Karness said when shoppers donate to stores, workers will determine which item to nominate online. Workers inspect each item, but they don’t clean it. If it is very dirty or of poor quality, they will not sell it. The elements intended to be put online will then be digitized. Purchases will either be packed and shipped from the store or from the mini-warehouses of a group of stores.

A sign that says 'good will'
A Goodwill store sign is displayed in Berkeley, California on March 9, 2021. Goodwill Industries International Inc., the 120-year-old nonprofit that operates 3,300 stores in the United States and Canada, launched a online activity. (Jeff Chiu/Associated Press)

A spokeswoman for the online company said that because GoodwillFinds items ship from various Goodwill locations, shipping options and costs vary from item to item. During the checkout process, customers will be offered the available shipping options for their items based on their shipping address.

She said GoodwillFinds accepts returns for items that arrive damaged or if there is an inaccurate or incorrect item in the customer’s order.

The vision for GoodwillFinds came from a consortium of Goodwill members across the country, including Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington, who wanted to harness the full potential of the organization.

Daryl Campbell, CEO of Northwest Washington’s Evergreen Goodwill, said he expects revenue for his consortium of 24 stores in his region to double from US$24 million for the year. last over the next five years due to the centralized online approach.

He also predicts that he will be able to double his online business to 32% of his consortium’s sales over the next few years.

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