The newest online marketplace in the thrift industry comes from the organization that pioneered thrift retail in 1902. Goodwill Industries International Inc., the national federation of nonprofit stores that sell donated items to raise money money to help the underprivileged, this week launched an online marketplace of selected items from across its network. It is the second such venture by local Goodwill affiliates.
The new marketplace, called GoodwillFinds.com, comes more than two decades after the 1999 launch of Shopgoodwill.com, an online auction site that did $21.2 million in sales in September.
Goodwill did not provide further information about the relationship between the two e-commerce sites.
GoodwillFinds debuts as interest in thrift retailers has soared. Online sales across 17 Digital Commerce 360 retailers increased 34.4% to $1.91 billion in 2021.
Online marketplaces such as StockX (number 30 in the Digital Commerce 360 Online Marketplaces database), Depop (owned by Etsy Inc., number 18) and TheRealReal Inc. (number 40) attract shoppers interested in reducing waste, helping the environment and saving money. And on the same day that Goodwill debuted GoodwillFinds, South Korea’s Naver Corp. announced that it had bought Poshmark Inc. (No. 33) for $1.6 billion.
Matthew A. Kaness, CEO of GoodwillFinds, said his organization has a distinct advantage over its for-profit competitors.
“Goodwill already has millions of active customers today,” he said. “They already love the brand and the mission and want to put their dollars into shopping with us over other places.”
“Buyers will not only find a unique assortment that in some cases is much larger than the other players,” he said. “They’re going to learn our story and realize that putting their dollars with GoodwillFinds.com over some of those other sites supports a mission and a nonprofit that’s funding 2 million people who benefit from social services at the level of the local community”. Goodwill affiliates offer a wide variety of services, especially in job training and job placement services for people with disabilities.
GoodwillFinds, like ShopGoodwill and local affiliates, is structured as a non-profit organization. After the cost of overhead, such as shipping and labor costs and the technology to power the e-commerce site, GoodwillFinds will return all revenue to participating affiliates.
“That said, this (second-hand) market is growing eight times faster than retail. I think there’s a lot of room for a lot of winners here,” he said.
Founding members of GoodwillFinds.com
GoodwillFinds launches representation of six local Goodwill affiliates 338 stores participate:
- Goodwill Industries of Southeastern Wisconsin
- Evergreen Goodwill of Northwest Washington
- Goodwill of Colorado
- Southern California Goodwill
- Goodwill from Central and Southern Indiana
- Goodwill-Easter Seals Minnesota
The site went live with over 100,000 unique items for sale. Those items were donated to participating Goodwill donation centers, which then put them up for sale on GoodwillFinds.com. Those same local donation centers will handle shipping and fulfillment for now, but GoodwillFinds.com will implement centralized shipping and returns management in the near future.
Instead, 135 Goodwill stores in the U.S. and Canada list products on ShopGoodwill, according to Nicole Morrison, director of marketing and communications for Goodwill of Orange County, Calif.
GoodwillFinds is built on Salesforce
GoodwillFinds is built on Salesforce Commerce Cloud, the cloud-based e-commerce system sold by Salesforce Inc.
“We’re building proprietary integrations, datasets, personalization engines and other integrations on top of that to allow us to integrate it with the customer experience at the store level over time,” Kaness said. “Salesforce and our own development teams are building integrations on the supply side, so we can very quickly and efficiently automate the onboarding process to launch new items and onboard new members to the platform.”
Kaness said GoodwillFinds will also function as a technology services company for local federation members, building systems for inventory management, customer relations, online payments and digital marketing.
Kaness, a longtime retail executive and former CEO of ModCloth, said he never expected to join a nonprofit. But Goodwill Industries’ history of helping people find jobs won it over.
“My older brother was born with cerebral palsy, and I’ve watched him go in and out of disability throughout his adult life. He lives his best life when he works,” she said. “So the mission of supporting the dignity of work is easy to get behind.”
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