Does your Thrift Store need a Makeover?

How long has it been since a customer walked into your thrift establishment and went “Wow” and just stood there in stunned silence? Have they ever?

If it has never happened, or its been awhile you may need to step back and take a moment to give your store a good once over. What do you really see when you drive up to your store each day? How about when you walk in through your doors each morning. Are you blown away by the overall appearance, the atmosphere, the merchandising, the spacing and the cleanliness of your store?


  • Overall Appearance
  • Atmosphere
  • Merchandising
  • Spacing
  • Engagement


  • First impressions can go a long way toward making your store a success. When your customers walk in are they “Wowed” by the appearance of the store? Do they act like kids in a candy store for the first time? Are they in awe of your displays and the merchandise you carry? Do they comment on how clean your store is?


  • Make your store warm and inviting. I love it when customers tell us they would like to live in our store! Your store should look like a million dollars (you really can achieve this on a minimal budget) and be incredibly inviting.
  • Use good lighting. Varied lighting is not a bad thing, and can be used to great effect. Brighter lighting can be used to highlight more valuable items and to set moods depending on the sales area.
  • Music. Music can really add to the atmosphere of your store but choose it carefully and make sure it fits with the overall theme of your store.
  • Smell. Thrift store are notorious for smelling bad. Mildly scented candles that match the interior of your store can make a huge difference.
  • Cleanliness. Make your store so clean and organized it looks spotless! No one wants to shop in a dirty and ill kept environment.


  • Know your target market. That means finding your niche and carrying products that fits the customer base you are trying to sell them to.
  • Creating smaller sections within larger sections works well. Beautifully designed and well thought out displays featuring different types of merchandise creates visual pictures for your customers, and will increase your instore sales.
  • Level up when creating your displays. Multiple levels of merchandise not only catches the eye, it provides you with additional space where you can display your items.
  • Keep a professional look to your displays while at the same time making them fun and interesting.
  • Switch it up. Change your displays on a regular basis, even if it means just rotating items to different areas of your store and perhaps displaying them in a whole new way.


  • One of the compliments we received on a regular basis was how well everything was spaced and displayed. Spacing can be used to control customer flow, and allows for easy viewing of the items you have for sale. A cluttered sales floor doesn’t look good, and makes it hard for shoppers to get around.


  • Customer engagement is not optional, it is essential if you are going to be successful. It always pays to get to know your customers so you can know their likes and dislikes, what they are looking for, and even what they think of your store.
  • Get out from behind the counter, thank them for coming in and introduce yourself. Ask if you can be of assistance, and let them know you are there to help them in anyway you can.
  • Share with them the backstories behind the items in your store. Most customers enjoy hearing the stories, and it will help you engage with them on a deeper level.
  • Feel free to ask them what they think of your store. Most will be honest with you, and it is a great way to get feedback. You may even get some great ideas from your conversations.
  • Regardless of whether they purchase anything or not, thank them for coming in when they leave, and ask them to tell others about you when they have the opportunity.

In Closing:

Be uniquely different. Stand out from the crowd. Give a new meaning to the words “Shopping Experience”. Treat every customer like a “Treasured Guest”. Engage with them and really get to know them. Make them “Feel at Home” and in doing so make them customers for life. Be professional in every aspect of your business. Never stop looking for ways to improve. And above all, learn to love what you do again!

Published On: May 31st, 2023 / Categories: Marketing Strategy, Merchandising, Staging, Thrift Re-design /

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