E-Commerce Flourishes at Shopgoodwill.com
You don't have to leave the comfort of your kitchen -- or your pajamas, for that matter -- to enjoy Goodwill's great prices. Our online auction site, Shopgoodwill.com, is open 24/7 every day, everywhere.
"This is 'treasure shopping' in its purest form," says Jeff Shackleton, Goodwill NCW's E-commerce team leader. "Trends are changing all the time, and we are constantly evolving our inventory to keep pace with consumers."
While apparel is a mainstay of Goodwill's brick-and-mortar store locations, sales of other items -- such as jewelry, video games and musical instruments -- are the backbone of the online site.
"Everything old is new again," joked Kim Lamberies, E-commerce assistant team leader. "We see high interest on anything related to Star Trek, Star Wars, the Beatles as well as classic Nintendo, Play Station and Atari game systems -- you name it."
Books, for instance, account for a third of Shopgoodwill.com's sales activity.
A unique feature of the Web site allows the user to broaden or narrow the scope of their "treasure hunting." So, for instance, a shopper in Green Bay could search for a specific item (Guitar? Books? Jewelry? etc.) among all the Goodwills in North America OR narrow the search to all Goodwills in the Midwest OR all the Goodwills in Wisconsin OR simply the Goodwills in their region.
The site's combination of great prices, broad selection and community benefits led TIME magazine to applaud Shopgoodwill.com as one of the Top 50 Web Sites of 2009.
"Now that everyone knows about eBay, the auction site is not the bargain hunter's paradise that it used to be. On eBay you always find what you're looking for, but so does everyone else — and that drives prices up. The solution is to fish in a less crowded pool, and one of the largest charities in the world, Goodwill Industries, has a little-known auction site filled with treasures," the newsmagazine reported. "Unlike on eBay, the people selling stuff on Shop Goodwill often don't know what they've got, so great deals abound."
Shopgoodwill.com also has been featured on NBC's "Today" show. Click here to view the segment.
In 2007, the Shop Goodwill averaged 25,000 shoppers daily; by 2012, that number has climbed to 1 million a day. And while still miniscule compared to eBay's market reach, that growth proves that consumers' shopping habits are changing, Lamberies said.
Some donated items -- such as sporting goods (archery, paintball, etc.) or swords/knives -- can only be bid online via eBay's Goodwill NCW page. That can be accessed by clicking here.
Shackleton and Lamberies agreed that the give-and-take between their team and online shoppers is one of the best parts of the job. "Customers are always teaching us something new," Lamberies said. "For instance, we're not experts in glass, but we have a customer who is. He'll e-mail us and share insights and other information, so that we can become more educated sellers."
"We want people to feel good about their purchases," Lamberies agreed. "We want them to come back. We take our feedback ratings and condition listings seriously. We want to be the gold-sellers, the power-sellers. We want to be the low-price sellers. And we work hard to stay on the cutting edge of that wave."
The quality that makes Shopgoodwill.com special is the one thing that other auction sites can never compete with -- ultimately, sales benefit a 100 percent not-for-profit, community-focused organization.
And that, they agreed, is the best part of the job.
"The best part of Goodwill is working with our people," Lamberies said. "These sales create jobs. We're opening new avenues of employment for all kinds of program participants. It's challenging but rewarding."
"I've been wow'ed just about every day I walk in the door," Shackleton said. "From Day 1, we've been a family here. There's an excitement of seeing an item sell for $1,000 -- almost as if it were our own personal item.
"We sometimes think that people will spend more than an item's worth because the buyer knows their money is ultimately helping the community."
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