Is Your Thrift Store Struggling to Stand Out in a Crowded Market?

May 8, 2024

Operating a nonprofit thrift store can be a deeply rewarding experience — but it also poses unique challenges in today’s rapidly changing market.

As sustainability becomes more important to consumers, thrifting has surged in popularity. While this growth presents opportunities, it also means more competition than ever before. Plus, larger thrift store chains often have more substantial marketing budgets and may have greater visibility in your community.

So, how can you ensure your thrift store remains visible, stays open and attracts customers?

At Summit Marketing, we’ve worked with nonprofit organizations for over 35 years. We understand the specific challenges that your store may face, and we’ve used that knowledge to develop intentional, mission-focused, solution-oriented campaigns to drive long-term revenue and foot traffic.

Here are three tips from us to you on how to stand out in today’s thrift landscape.

1. Drive Traffic with Online Presence

Are you regularly posting on social media? A strong online presence is vital in an era dominated by digital communication. Engaging organic and paid content can draw attention to your store, encourage donations and attract new shoppers. Consider sharing stories about your mission, highlighting unique finds or showcasing the impact of your work in the community. This is especially important if you’ve recently relocated and need to spread the word about your store’s new location.

2. Utilize Special Offers to Turn Donors into Shoppers

One effective strategy to increase sales and awareness is to turn donors into shoppers. Think of your donors as the “low-hanging fruit” of your target audiences — they clearly know where your store is located, and possibly favor your mission over other thrift stores in the area. Consider offering them special discounts or exclusive promotions. This tactic encourages donors to return to your store, increasing foot traffic and promoting word-of-mouth marketing.

3. Deploy Consistent Mission-Focused Messaging

Make sure to expand your marketing efforts beyond the holiday season. It’s key to maintain a year-round presence to remind your audience about your thrift store’s unique qualities and values. Remember to keep your mission upfront and center — it differentiates you and will be sure to stick with your target audience.

Don’t get left behind in the oversaturated thrift market. Partner with Summit to take your marketing to the next level and stay competitive, so you can continue to support your mission while ensuring the success of your thrift store.


Our Total Team of Thrift Store marketing experts is motivated and passionate about driving traffic and increasing donations to your store. Each of our pieces has been developed to meet your specific objectives while building brand awareness and boosting recognition of your organization within your community.