What Makes A Successful Thrift Store?

person holding money

Take These Three Simple Steps for Success

You face a lot of competition as a thrift store owner. There are 28,849 thrift businesses in the United States and that number is going up by three and a half percent every year. You are all competing with each other for those thrifty shoppers and you need a solution that gives you a leg up from the competition. Taking the three steps we outline below will help keep your store in fighting shape to compete against others in the industry and keep your customers coming back for more, building you a successful thrift store business.

Offer Fair Pricing

One of the most difficult problems to overcome in managing a thrift store is managing the large volume of unique items coming in on a daily or weekly basis. Your costs and time varies on virtually every item in your ever-changing inventory.

Making sure your pricing is accurate throughout the store, explicitly reflects each item’s quality, and accounts for the perceived value added by the brand can be a difficult task. By implementing a “Good, Better, Best” scale you can speed up the process of determining value and setting appropriate prices.

This scaling system will make tracking inventory and pricing easier for you and your team. A good thrift store POS system, that offers this type of scaling solutions, will also give you flexibility in production and allow you to print price tags on the fly, saving your staff valuable time. Setting fixed prices, like all good red sweaters are $10, will only save you time, limit human error and will offer your customers the consistency they need to know they will always get a great deal at your store. This easy-to-remember stability is critical to bringing those loyal customers back again and again.

Keep Your Store Organized

Thrifting is growing in popularity. A recent report from the US Census Bureau using data gathered from the National Association of Resale and Thrift Shops showed that about 16–18% of Americans will shop at a thrift store during a given year. Increasingly many of these shoppers are in their 20s and shop for many different reasons, not just the opportunity to save money.

For many 20-somethings, shopping in a thrift store isn’t just about finding a good deal, it can be a way of developing their own individual style or even making a statement about their environmental beliefs. Having a clean and organized store will help attract and keep these customers, who are seeking more than just low prices, coming back to your successful thrift store instead of going to the shop down the block.

Keep your display racks looking fresh by swapping out products based on seasonality, availability, trends, or whatever you think fits well with your brand. This is where a successful thrift store POS system will be your best friend, by automatically tracking rotating discounts in real-time.

Using a color-coding system, your thrift store POS system can be set to automatically remind you and your team to change or rotate your racks to keep your store looking vibrant and new. No need to set your own reminders, when your store’s technology will set one for you.

Make Donations Quick and Easy

Your inventory relies on donations from those in your community so you need to make the process easy for them. Keep your donation stations and general checkout lines physically separated to avoid confusion and to cut down on wait times.

Nobody likes standing in line. Even when there is a roller coaster at the end of it, most people still don’t enjoy the time lost.

Make the most of your customers’ and your donors’ time by ensuring the donation process is quick and easy. An excellent thrift store POS software solution can automatically fill in details based on the “Good, Better, Best” system you implemented earlier. Data entry work like this when done manually can be fraught with human error and is time-consuming. Save your donors’ time by automating as much as you can so that you can keep the line moving.

Take it a step further and turn your donors into customers by introducing a points or loyalty program. They can earn discounts on certain in-store purchases or coupons for upcoming events. By providing your donors personalized offers through this points program you can increase the value of your relationship with these customers. They get more of the deals they are hunting for, and you get a more valuable customer who has a personal and financial motivation to keep shopping at your thrift store.

Planning ahead of time and making use of good technology will make the shopping experience easy for you, your staff, and your customers. There are lots of customers out there looking for a good deal or just wanting a chance to make their own fashion statement. Whatever their motivation for stepping into your store, it’s your job to make sure they have a good experience. The work you do before that customer even opens the door can make the difference between a one-time visit or a valuable repeat customer.

Be the successful thrift store you know you can be, by implementing the right POS technology to boost your production, decrease human error, in overall build a better business model.