Starting an online thrift store is one of the best ways to make an income online and make good use of the items you don't use anymore. And Instagram is a fantastic place to sell pre-loved products on the Internet.
Instagram is a social media platform that allows you to link your store and sell things to millions of users. It's one of the best places to sell clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and jewelry.
Many people are successful in showcasing and selling beautiful fashion on IG. Users can browse used items on social media and afford beautiful garments for a fraction of the retail price.
Many young men and women are influenced by social media when it comes to buying clothing online. Millions of shoppers around the world purchase clothes after visiting Instagram daily.
If you are looking for the best tips for succeeding with a second-hand online shop, follow this ultimate guide on starting a thrift store on Instagram.
We'll go over everything you need to know to master IG and be successful. You'll find the best plan, strategy, and course of action you can take to sell used items online.
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Instagram thrift store basics
Before you start an online thrift store and sell stull on Instagram successfully, there are a few technical details you should know. The basics are crucial to get right, or you risk starting on the wrong foot.
If you are new to selling used products on the Internet, these few beginning steps may be extra helpful to you. If you're an already experienced reseller, feel free to skip the basics.
First, you need to set up a new Instagram account. You can start with a personal account then switch to a professional or business one at any time to access Instagram Insights and help your business grow.
Instagram provides extra features for businesses that personal profiles can't use. However, it's common for individual accounts to benefit from more organic reach. So switch to business only later on.
Then, you'll need to choose a payment processor. You can use PayPal, Venmo, or many others. You could even set up your own online thrift store on another platform and use Instagram as a marketing tool.
Check out our article on the best places to set up a store and sell used fashion products online.
About market research
To succeed in starting a thrift store on Instagram, you need to know what to sell, what your potential customers expect, and if any competition exists in your target niche.
In general, you can sell any fashion product online that is still in good condition, including many types of textile and apparel, clothing, bags, shoes, footwear, and accessories.
You have to know your target market in-and-out before you even think about starting an online store. You will need to find buyers for your items, whether they are new or pre-loved, from high-street brands or high-fashion or anything in-between.
Only sell quality products to ensure happy, returning customers. The products you plan to sell shouldn't show any imperfections, misalignment, rough edges, mismatched patterns, irregularities, or defects.
To effectively start an Instagram thrift store, find out beforehand what people would want to buy. Then, offer specific designs that answer their needs. Keep an eye on trends to ensure that your items will attract potential customers.
Follow the seasons and the trends that come and go. Old trends also often tend to come back around. Research what is currently popular on Instagram and other platforms and make sure you offer what is in demand.
You can study similar items that have been sold in the past to understand what kind of used items you can sell. With some time, experience, and know-how on your hand, you will get better at seeing trends and making product offers that sell quickly.
How to find products to sell
The next step in starting your new online business venture is to source products to sell. Thankfully, there are many fantastic places to get affordable items to offer on Instagram.
Thrift shopping is also growing and helps the fashion industry tremendously. Many conscious fashionistas run Instagram thrift accounts that promote a more ethical and eco-friendly approach to fashion.
Thrifting makes responsible clothing accessible to more people by offering beautiful garments for a fraction of the retail price. It encourages conscious behaviors and drives change in the fashion world.
Like many other successful resellers, you can start a curated thrift business through social media platforms like Instagram. You only need to offer quality second-hand clothes and sell them online to conscious customers.
You can find used items to sell at an auction, fashion fair, farmers' market, town market, or garage sale. Online marketplaces are also fantastic places to buy and sell used fashion products.
Check out our extensive list of places to visit and curate second-hand items for your online thrift store.
Setting up a distribution process
Once you gather used items to sell on Instagram, you need to have good logistics and efficient processes to be successful. Prepare a few things in advance to store, transport, and distribute your products.
Prepare shipping materials and packing supplies, including packaging, boxes, labels, bags, paper, cushioning, foam, strapping, wrap, and tape.
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And don't neglect shipping costs, or you risk losing your profits. You need to charge more money for shipping multiple items as well as sending orders internationally.
Don't forget to send invoices and track everything. You need to be on top of things and monitor every sale, unpaid invoices and re-list items that didn't sell.
Keep in mind that you should never dispatch an item without receiving payment first. And let the customer know that you have received their money and thank them.
And stay safe by not disclosing any personal information and preferably communicating with potential buyers using Instagram direct messages.
Pleasing your customers
Instagram is a simple way to sell used items. But you need to keep your customers happy like any other business venture. Reply to buyers concisely and rapidly, within a day, at the very latest.
Put processes in place to ensure perfect packaging, product quality, and authenticity. And answer as many questions from potential buyers as you can. And update your offers according to customer feedback.
Ensure you offer better and diverse products over time in your thrift store and to please your customers. You want to establish a good reputation and be known as a reputable thrift store owner.
Provide as much accurate information on the product as you can. You can also offer a quality guarantee or warranty when selling pre-loved items on Instagram. And don't forget Instagram terms and policies.
Inspire trust and be customer-oriented. Your number one priority is to make customers happy and satisfied. Returning customers are the best source of revenue and marketing for your new Instagram thrift store.
Make sure they remember you and keep them interested in what you have to offer next. Thank your customers after each purchase and do your best to stand out from other Instagram thrift stores.
How to take engaging product pictures
You need to upload high-quality pictures when starting an Instagram thrift store. Too many fashion resellers take low-quality photos of their products and wonder why they don't sell.
Stand out from the crowd and jump in front of your competition with unique, clear, eye-catching, color-matching, diverse, and on-brand product pictures.
Ensure each picture you upload on your feed puts your fashion items in a good light so potential customers can rapidly identify that what you offer is what they need.
High-quality photos are a sure way to attract potential customers. Don't make the mistake of not putting enough time and attention into your product pictures.
Take a realistic picture in a great setting, without too many filters or lighting effects whenever possible. To make sure your feed is attractive to potential buyers, take good photos and consider the following:
- choose a good camera; a cellphone can work
- choose a light and neutral background
- autofocus on the product
- ensure good lighting not too dark or too bright
- use natural light as much as possible
- adopt an original and professional look
- pay close attention to the details
- choose portrait mode primarily for mobile view
- keep unity between shots and different products
- use the same setup and a tripod for consistency
- edit pictures afterward to increase the attractiveness
- take inspiration from other product photos
About the product description
A thorough product description is crucial when selling items online. Describe what kind of products you are selling to start a thrift store on Instagram and be successful.
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long. It's enough to make sure each potential buyer understands what you are selling and why they need your products.
But it's also recommended to keep your copy brief. Instagram captions get visually cut off at around 125 characters. And most users don't read through it all.
Business accounts should also use product tags in their posts. Product tags allow you to highlight products from a catalog and help customers learn more about your product offering.
Being as thorough as possible in your product description will ensure customer trust and push hesitant customers to buy your used items. If your product description is good enough, it will sell your items for you.
The key to starting a thrift store on Instagram and succeeding is to place the right product in front of the right people at the time. So make sure your potential customers can rapidly identify what you are selling.
People look at the product description to gather as much information as possible. Serious resellers usually provide many details. Include the following in your IG captions:
- the product name or title
- the brand name
- at least 100 words detailed product description
- information regarding fit and sizing
- unique details about construction
- colors and patterns
- the item condition
- materials used for fabrics and finishing
- information about shipping rates and taxes
- other related products you might sell
- relevant hashtags
How to price your products
In your Instagram thrift store, you need to price your used items correctly to be able to sell them. Avoid selling products for very cheap or a high price. Middle-range prices are the most successful.
If you choose to heavily discount an item or make a deal that seems too good to be possible, it will probably turn many people off.
Offering your pre-loved items at a reduced rate isn't always the best strategy. If you place your prices too low, it diminishes your brand and the perceived value of your products.
Sell your fashion items at a fair price as it will help you sell them faster and keep people interested. Potential buyers will be more inclined to purchase one of your product offerings if the price is right.
What is important is people find the price fair and a good value for the product quality. It's crucial to get it right and price your used items correctly to start an Instagram thrift store and succeed.
Check out similar items that have previously sold on Instagram and other platforms to get an idea of how to price your fashion items. The price is one of the primary factors that influence online purchases.
For more information and guidance, read our ultimate guide on how to price used products correctly and sell them online.
Growing with a marketing strategy
To start a thrift store on social media platforms like Instagram, you need to let people know you exist. It's crucial to have an effective marketing strategy and raise awareness about your brand and what you offer.
Keep in mind that it takes a lot of hard work to grow your Instagram account. The platform has millions of users, and everyone is competing for attention.
To increase your followers in the thrifting community and the niche you chose, you need to keep them engaged. Interact with potential customers and talk to people in the community as often as you can.
Every day, you need to make posting stories with product links a priority. Make your followers interested in your offers by communicating with your audience as much as possible.
You can talk about your favorite items in advance, organize a sale, and promote it through stories. Mix pictures and videos, upload multiple photos at a time in a carrousel, and don't neglect Instagram Reels.
You can also collaborate with other accounts and promote each other. Be present in the community and extra helpful and engage with other creators and resellers.
Make sure to read notifications, answer questions, and reply to comments. The more active you are on Instagram, the faster you will grow and find success with your online thrift store.
Another way to see your following increase is to use other platforms. Be active on other social networks to drive new users and followers to your Instagram thrift store.
You may already have a growing audience elsewhere that you can direct to your IG page. Or start from scratch and grow your following on other social media platforms that are ideal for the type of products you sell.
Social networks come and go and if you have limited time, choose the right platforms that are growing in users where you can reach a high number of people for the least effort.
Ensure your content is relevant to each platform and fits your products. Post consistently and encourage your audience to follow you on Instagram as well.
You can be very successful with an Instagram thrift store. You just need to stay consistent with your brand, theme, style, and posting schedule.
Be present on the platform every day and post as often as your schedule allows you to. It will help you sell your clothing items faster and keep people interested in your Instagram thrift store.
Instagram is a social media platform that is fantastic for fashion. You can take a few pictures of yourself wearing each item and share them every day. Then, let people contact you to purchase them.
Instagram is very visually stimulating and offers perfect opportunities for pre-loved fashion resellers. The high number of users makes it easy for you to find potential buyers. But the competition is also high.
That's why staying consistent will put you at an advantage. Make a routine and keep steady with your content and ensure each upload is attractive and high quality.
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About the Author: Alex Assoune
Alex Assoune (MS) is a global health and environmental advocate. He founded Panaprium to inspire others with conscious living, ethical, and sustainable fashion. Alex has worked in many countries to address social and environmental issues. He speaks three languages and holds two Master of Science degrees in Engineering from SIGMA and IFPEN schools.