October 15, 2023
The New York Times recently published an article featuring Patricia Hambrick, Master Lecturer of Marketing, discussing how e-commerce is a challenge that Goodwill needs to navigate to better fulfill its mission of providing job opportunities for those in need.
Goodwill still has a long way to go when it comes to online shopping. The company has faced mounting competition from online platforms like ThredUp, Poshmark, and Etsy’s Depop for more than a decade. The Goodwill network consists of 154 independently run organizations that control their own inventory and chief executives. In the past year, many Goodwills have contributed to a new site, GoodwillFinds, but it has still been difficult to navigate the e-commerce landscape.
Hambrick adds, “They are the ultimate brand name in thrifting,” she proceeds by saying that Goodwill shoppers need “to get an awareness that they actually have anything online because that’s not necessarily where you would think.”
As part of Goodwill’s sales targets, they hope to attract customers with a “high lifetime value” and are monitoring the commission structure, which could eventually allow the website to break even. E-commerce operations involving machine learning and seamless distribution channels have been the focus of major retailers for years. A couple of years ago, Goodwill began working on its latest e-commerce venture. Creating a standard customer experience remains a challenge, but Goodwill is building tools that are starting to make it possible.