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Goodwill of OC Continues Modernization Push

The second-largest nonprofit in OC, Goodwill of Orange County, has continued to push forward in the organization’s digital effort to expand its thrift services and modernize its retail offerings.

Created and operated by the Santa Ana-based nonprofit and used nationally by the Goodwill organization, ShopGoodwill.com launched its first-ever mobile app in the last week of March.

The launch follows a recent modernization of ShopGoodwill.com and a branding refresh done last year. The redesign of the website was a step towards the development of the app, breaking ground last summer as many newer features would support the app’s abilities, officials said.

The app allows consumers to browse, bid and buy from the phone, featuring category searching, quick bids, and personal shopping services along with real-time push notifications on favorite items.

Users have access to listings from over 130 Goodwill locations selling across the country, and an inventory that includes more than 300,000 items.

Foundation for Future

Approaching a more mobile aspect of Goodwill’s services, Chief Executive Nicole Suydam knew the importance of maintaining a strong online presence and the outreach possibilities of e-commerce business. With the challenge of each thrift piece being unique, the mobile app marks a focus on bridging a gap between the online and physical sectors of the nonprofit, she said.

The app’s launch “is really the beginning of future innovation for ShopGoodwill.com. We see the app as the foundation for big opportunities to merge brick-and-mortar thrifting with on-the-go shopping,” Suydam said.

Suydam told the Business Journal that more people found the website during the pandemic, as page views reached 27 million in the last week of 2020.

In 2021, the site grew 42% to sales of $244 million compared to 2020, and currently reports 2.9 million registered customers. More than 70,000 of those registered joined the site in 2022.

“The site will continue to be forward looking,” she said.

A Springboard

The Goodwill team also encourages local involvement in the e-commerce market, training sellers from all over to learn how to list the best items online for the most profit. The top category online is jewelry, with clothing and electronics closely behind.

The organization recorded over 6.2 million items sold online last year with an average price of $39 per item. The app aims to enhance this shopping experience, for both sellers and consumers.

“The app will be the springboard to a lot of coming features that we’re getting close to talking about,” vice president of ShopGood Will.com Ryan Smith told the Business Journal.

Smith is a 16-year veteran with Goodwill, having worked his way up through the online operations of the site most recently working as its senior director of online operations and promoted to VP in January of 2022.

With more promotion in the works for later in the year, Smith and his team hopes the app “becomes a central digital hub for shopping at Goodwill.”

$1B in 2021

The ShopGoodwill.com site was built in 1999 by Goodwill of Orange County and is still owned and operated by the Santa Ana-based division, though it is used nationally by its parent organization.

Inventory for the online shop is culled from over 100 Goodwill locations, with items sold either through auction-style purchasing or a buy-it-now feature.

The e-commerce site topped $1 billion in cumulative online sales in 2021, and continues to expand; over the past 16 months it has seen some $1.3 billion in sales.

When asked about competition for its new app, Smith pointed out the philanthropic mission behind the organization’s operations. “Other [companies] are about relieving customers of their products for a revenue play. We are positioned uniquely in that the mission of our programs gives us added value in those interested in those secondhand products,” he said.

“We were really in the thick of it last year – now we’re building,” Suydam said. 

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