Many of us prefer thrift stores for a number of reasons over the ordinary shopping store. The variety of products they offer at the rock bottom prices is amazing! But how do they do it? How does a thrift store offer such worthy products at such low prices? Well, there’s a reason for it. Almost all the thrift stores sell donated items and consignment items that they receive either for free for in an auction. To better understand how these thrift stores operate, let us take a brief tour of their operation.
1. They Accept Donations
The thrift stores don’t source the products they deal in from any manufacturer or supplier. They accept donations. People donate their used products to a thrift store to be sold further to anyone who wishes to buy them. There could be clothes, electronics, pet supplies, computer peripherals, and a lot many other products. There is no description as to what the thrift stores deal in. They can deal with almost anything.
2. Sort The Donated Items
Thrift stores don’t put up the items they receive as such for sale. The first step after receiving any consignment is the sorting of the items, especially clothes. As representatives from MERS Goodwill (mersgoodwill.org) states, the clothes received by a thrift store are sorted to ensure if they could be reused or scrapped. Most of the items that a thrift store receives are in reusable condition. If they are not, they are then taken for a next step in the process
3. Repair Or Refurbish The Sorted Items
The items that can be reused are directly put up for sale in the store. For the rest of the items, they are sorted as a repairable or scrap. For example, clothes are washed and refreshed before they are put up for sale. Similarly, electronics are refurbished to look and perform like the originals before selling them. The process is similar for almost all the products. Anything that could be repaired or refurbished is taken care of before putting them up on sale.
4. Putting Up The Items For Sale Or Auction
There is no such thing as a proper rack or aisle for anything in a thrift store. The products are sorted and there are sections though. But none of the products or items are put up in an arranged manner to ease the customer’s approach. Once, the items are repaired, they are put up for sale. Many of the products are labeled with a fixed price tag. Some of the products are put up for auction. The items that are put up for auction are sold to the highest bidder. Having said that, the minimum bid for any product is decided by the store though.
According to a survey, a typical thrift store makes a profit of around 5%. This means that these stores make around $5000 on every sale of $100,000. Since most of the thrift stores work as a non-profit, the motive of these stores is not to make a profit but rather serve society.