With the so-called "retail apocalypse" in full effect, online shopping seems to be taking over the world. With this, a new player has recently entered the online game: thrift stores.
Websites like thredUP, Swap and Poshmark have created a new avenue for customers to purchase secondhand apparel or accessories or both through their presence online.
Although online shopping is more convenient, there is something to be said about digging through the racks at your local thrift store.
Thrift stores are centered around their low price point and the experience their brick and mortar stores have to offer. So that brings us to the question, are online thrift stores the new frontier for thrifty shopping or a loss of a genuine, in-person shopping experience for their customers?
Advantages of the move to the internet are that customers can get the prices of a thrift store without having to put in as much effort to find what they're looking for. The items are available at the click of a button and, as a result, satisfy the need for simplicity and quick access to products.
This is a great plus if you’re the type of shopper that is on a time crunch or looking for something specific. Online thrift stores also allow you to compare the price of an item to that of other stores easily in order to get the best deal and see all your options before making a decision.
Disadvantages of these websites are that you lose the excitement of looking through the racks and being able to tell the quality of the piece, which can be a deal breaker since the items are secondhand. You also lose the ability to try on each garment, posing another problem as the return policies of most online thrift stores are a hassle, especially when items are final sale.
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Overall, the advantages and disadvantages highlight different consumer needs.
Depending what you’re looking for, both online shopping and in-person shopping can satisfy them.
Thrift stores' growing presence online shows that anything and everything is moving in a more technologically advanced direction, but the experience you get from a brick and mortar store cannot be replaced and shouldn’t be disregarded.
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