Goodwill is increasing its e-commerce presence in order to earn more cash and support its aim of offering work opportunities to people in need. The charity, which has been facing increased competition from online platforms specialized in used clothing, created

Goodwill understands the importance of e-commerce. The charity shop claims that its ability to produce enough cash to fulfill its purpose of offering work opportunities for those in need is at danger.

Since its inception in 1902, Goodwill stores have been the destination for millions of individuals eager to get rid of their gently used items and rummage through the racks for other people’s belongings. However, when it comes to internet buying, Goodwill still has a long way to go. 

Over the past year, a few Goodwills have contributed to a new internet portal called GoodwillFinds.

“There’s so much competition coming into the market now,” Matt Kaness, CEO of GoodwillFinds eCommerce, said. “So all the donations — the billions of pounds of donations that Goodwill gets every year — is now a massive market that for-profit players are targeting.”

GoodwillFinds is designed to seem similar to the websites of many other large shops, featuring sections such as women’s products and electronics, as well as the opportunity for buyers to refine their searches by brand, size, and color. It also features Heirloom-Quality Finds and clearance areas.

The overall U.S. market for secondhand retail was $174.1 billion last year, boosted by customers’ rising interest in purchasing sustainable solutions and finding methods to save money. According to consultancy company GlobalData, this figure is predicted to reach $258.8 billion by 2027. Analysts observe that Goodwill is growing at a slower rate than its competitors.

“We’re kind of playing catch-up,” said Kaness.

The stakes are huge for doing it properly. Goodwill’s job services assisted approximately 180,000 people last year.

One of them is Ronnie Hunter. Hunter returned to Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood in February after serving almost 20 years in an Illinois state prison. 

The decentralized form of Goodwill makes establishing an internet presence more difficult. The auction site was launched in 1999 by Goodwill of Orange County in California. It is still in operation with 128 Goodwills participating and has raised more than $2 billion.

GoodwillFinds, which has only 14 members, has sold $25 million in products and has 500,000 subscribers since it launched last year, according to Kaness. As any business knows, creating an e-commerce website that customers want to return to is difficult. And one devoted to reselling offers even more difficulties. Goodwill’s website only offers donations, which are often countercyclical. In other words, individuals donate their winter garments during spring cleaning and exchange them for shorts.