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How To Start an Online Thrift Store: A Step-By-Step Guide

So you want to learn how to start an online thrift store, huh?

That’s great.

Thousands of people like you are raking in the big bucks by running profitable online thrift stores. You can too. Launching a thrift shop is a great way to supplement your income from your regular 9 to 5 job.

This guide πŸ“š gives you all the vital info you need to launch a successful online thrift store.

What is an online thrift store?

An online thrift store is a website that sells second-hand items such as clothes, furniture, books, souvenirs, and vintage items at bargain prices.

People love thrift stores because they offer good value for money.

Why should you start an online thrift store?

There are many reasons to learn how to start an online thrift store, including:

1. Low startup costs

You don’t need a lot of capital to launch a thrift store online. A couple of hundred is enough.

2. Profitable

With used items, you can buy low and sell high. So you make more money.

3. Convenience

A thrift store gives you flexibility. You can run it from home, full-time, or as a side hustle.

4. Waste reduction

Launching a thrift store saves the environment by not depleting natural resources for production and distribution.

How to start an online thrift store in 7 steps

Let’s dive into the practical steps of starting a thrift store.

  1. Determine your niche market
  2. Choose a business name
  3. Sort out the legal documentation
  4. Create an impressive website
  5. Source and price products
  6. Take stunning product photos
  7. Market your products aggressively

1. Determine your niche market

The first step to launching a profitable thrift store is choosing a niche.

A niche is a small, specialized segment of a larger market. Instead of spreading yourself thin by selling everything, focus on a subset of the market.

Choosing a niche market helps you nail your ideal customer and charge higher prices. Second-hand clothes are a hit these days. According to Statista, the ever-growing second-hand apparel market value will reach a staggering $50 billion in 2026 [1]. You can specialize in high-end, low-end, women’s, men’s, or kid’s clothing.

Other hot used items niches right now are:

  • Shoes
  • Old school electronics
  • Toys
  • Antique furniture
  • College and university books
  • Vintage and retro kitchenware
  • Handcrafted art

2. Choose a business name

Now for the fun part: choosing a business name.

First, ensure your store name is short. It’s easier for people to remember a short brand name than a lengthy one.

Second, your shop name must be descriptive. Shoppers must be able to tell straightaway what you sell or what sets your store apart from your business name.

Lastly, go for a name that’s easy to spell and pronounce. If potential customers can’t spell your business name they’ll have a hard time finding your store online.

Speaking of online presence, an excellent business name doubles up as a domain name for consistent branding. A domain name is your company’s unique internet address. It helps people find your business on the internet.

Use a domain name generator tool like DomainWheel to generate tons of unique domain names instantly. Here is an example of “used textbooks” name suggestions:

How to start an online thrift store - DomainWheel business name generator

You can filter the search results by domain extension type, character count, and the number of keywords.

The next step in how to start an online thrift store is to sort out your business paperwork.

First, you must register your business, so it becomes a recognized legal entity. If you want 100% ownership, register your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or sole proprietorship.

Having registered your business, you’ll also need to process other documents like:

  • Wholesale license
  • Seller’s permits
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Tax Identification Number
  • Insurance policy
  • Online privacy policy

The exact paperwork required may vary based on your region.

4. Create an impressive website

With your unforgettable legalized thrift store name on hand, build a business website.

To create a website, start by choosing a hosting service provider. Hosting providers enable your website to become visible online. You can find starter plans for less than $5. We recommend Bluehost because it comes with a free domain name and easy WordPress installation.

After buying hosting, install WordPress on your website. You can do it with a few clicks, as shown below.

How to start an online thrift store - installing WordPress

After that, pick a theme for your thrift store website.

A website theme is a collection of design components that include page layouts, color schemes, backgrounds, typography, and more.

Need help deciding which theme to choose? Check out a popular theme, Hestia.

How to start an online thrift store - Hestia theme

To unlock e-commerce functions on your WordPress site, install the WooCommerce plugin. WooCommerce has all the e-commerce functions you need to sell online, including:

  • Secure and flexible payment options like PayPal and Stripe
  • Automated tax calculations and live shipping rates from top carriers
  • The ability to print labels for USPS and DHL for shipping
  • Social media extensions for sharing your products on social platforms

5. Source and price products

Next, source products to sell.

Product sourcing for thrift shops is easy. If you sell used clothes, you can source products for free by combing through your wardrobe for good second-hand apparel.

Other places to find thrift shop goods include:

  • Online marketplaces
  • Moving sales
  • Yard sales
  • Estate sales
  • Donations
  • Store liquidation sales
  • Wholesale suppliers
  • Online auctions

6. Take stunning product photos

The next step in how to start an online thrift store is to make your products alluring to visitors.


By taking fabulous product photos.

When you sell online, the only thing potential customers go by is what they see. That’s why you must pull out all the stops for product photos. The best part? You don’t need an expensive pro camera to take stunning pics. Your smartphone can do a decent job if you know what to do.

Here are some product photography tips:

  • Shoot your product from different angles to give shoppers a complete view of its appearance
  • Use both still pics and videos as some items look better and more authentic on video
  • Ensure there is sufficient lighting so your products appear clearly in all their glory
  • Choose a simple white background for sharp photos that pop

Upload your product photos on your website and write concise descriptions for them.

7. Market your products aggressively

Now for the last step: marketing.

There are three primary ways to market your thrift store: social media, blogging, and paid advertising.

Social media

Advertise your thrift store products on social media platforms. You can reach virtually any target demographic on Facebook, Instagram. and Twitter, to name a few. Since the average person spends over two hours on social media every day, you will find some takers for your products [2].


Another simple way to market your store is by launching a company blog. You write about topics related to the products you sell. As people enjoy your relevant content, you recommend your products inside the content. It’s a simple but effective marketing ploy.

Paid advertising

If you want faster results, pay to play. Depending on the platform you choose, paid advertising costs can be reasonable. Facebook and Twitter have the lowest cost per click at $0.97 and $0.38, respectively [3].

How to start an online thrift store - paid adverting cost per click rates
Source: Brandwatch

How to start an online thrift store: summary

Now you know how to start an online thrift store! It’s a simple business model with low startup costs.

Plus, you can start quickly from the convenience of your home. And, since it’s an online business, it runs around the clock. All you have to do is to secure a storage place, process orders, and ship the goods.

πŸšΆβ€β™‚οΈ Follow the above steps and launch your dream thrift shop today.

Mulling over the perfect business name for your thrift store? πŸ‘‰ Brainstorm instant shop name ideas with DomainWheel now.