By Lily Gordon
Goodwill is where you go to piece together a Marty McFly costume for under $20. Or where Macklemore gets his Velour jumpsuit and house slippers. Or maybe even where your aunt goes to snag some great gag gift. But in all of these scenarios, Goodwill is a place. It is a brick and mortar business. People go to Goodwill.
Well, that’s about to change all in the name of Goodwill’s mission:
“To enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity, and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.”
That mission cannot be achieved without one simple thing, profits. More than 100 Goodwill stores have taken to the internet with the sole hope of boosting sales. The website, shopgoodwill.com, allows the retailer to sell items, typically higher priced merchandise such as jewelry, in an online auction similar to that of eBay. Going online has majorly payed off thus far. The Portland, Oregon Goodwill sites see more than a million dollars in online profits per month.
Goodwill’s move to an online shop demonstrates a clear understanding of millennials, one of the company’s top target markets. However, the non-profit has done a poor job of creating awareness about the online store. The Goodwill Industries Twitter actively promotes campaigns, interacts with customers and reiterates the company’s mission, but fails to mention shopgoodwill.com.
Whether or not shopgoodwill.com will ever become more successful than Goodwill brick and mortar stores is still up in the air. Clothes are a staple of the non-profit. When 20-somethings get excited about thrift shopping, scavenging clothing racks for great finds is typically what comes to mind. The fact is, however, clothing simply does not re-sell well online. That is something Goodwill’s public relations team will have to tackle if they intend to make shopgoodwill.com into the next generation’s idea of thrifting.
This is an exciting time for Goodwill’s PR teams across the United States and Canada. Despite the company’s blunders in the initial stages of its e-commerce appearance, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to shine. They haven’t done anything wrong— they just haven’t really done anything yet. It’s time for Goodwill to prove to millennials that thrift shopping is just as cool on a laptop as it is in a store.