Between shopgoodwill.com’s launch in 1999 and September 2017, the online thrift store arm of Goodwill generated a total of $500 million in sales. During the three years and change since, shopgoodwill.com raked in another $500 million. In 2020, sales reached $171.3 million, a 22% increase compared to the previous year.
That’s good news for 129 participating Goodwills across the country. Since Goodwill of Orange County, Santa Ana, Calif., created the online platform more than 21 years ago, it has culled premium items from brick-and-mortar thrift stores and sold them either at auction or through buy-it-now options. Goodwill of Orange County continues to operate the platform.
Items offered range from art, clothing, collectibles, designer apparel and accessories, electronics, jewelry, musical instruments and more. The online platform gets more than 21 million unique page views each week and registered customers exceed 2.4 million.
Sales support Goodwill’s mission of providing workforce development programs, job placement services and education and skills development programs. In some cases, the online sales have also provided a financial infusion for physical Goodwill stores that closed either temporarily or permanently during the coronavirus pandemic.
Goodwill organizations that list items on the site receive more than 90% of the sale price once an item is sold. During 2020, six such outlets surpassed $5 million in annual sales while 48 earned more than $1 million.
At the same time, shopgoodwill.com is providing an outlet for people sheltering at home who have a need to shop, whether for necessary items or for the thrill of the hunt. And some appreciate the sustainable nature of thrift-store shopping, and have missed it as physical stores have needed to close.
“Younger generations are focused on engaging with retailers or online retailers that focus on something more than just buying a product,” President & CEO of Goodwill of Orange County Nicole Suydam said. “They love to know it makes an impact on our society, whether and individual or sustainability. Younger generations are really interested in the idea of sustainability and know that reusing items for them makes them feel they are doing something good for the world.”
Come the fourth quarter, shopgoodwill.com will undergo a relaunch. The refreshed site will highlight the purpose-driven nature of the site, bringing the impact sales have on people seeking employment to the forefront, according to Suydam.
“Most people are aware of Goodwill as the place to donate your things or go thrift shopping, but they don’t always know the bigger mission behind those thrift donations or purchases,” Suydam said. “We want to make sure that people see the mission and know when they make a purchase that the funds generated are going to change lives.”