Guest blog: Right time to go online!

“We feel that the demand for second-hand clothes is more than most people think. The world is falling in love with sustainable consumption, but it could have been at a greater scale were there convenient ways to sell and buy things online.“
Tanya, Co-founder of Zipsale.

Some charity retail operations in the UK don’t have streamlined online sales channels and some are not engaged in online sales at all. Online sales have been steadily catching up and overtaking traditional retail for about a decade. The events of this year have further intensified this transition and changed people’s shopping habits and lifestyles.

“In some respects this makes charity shops vulnerable as they are traditionally relying on footfall
Maria, Co-Founder of Zipsale

This is not a fault of charity shops, though. There are inherent problems with selling second-hand clothes online, which makes the process troublesome and, for some shops, completely impractical. We see this as the key bottleneck preventing charity shops from enjoying much better sales and as an interesting problem we try to solve. We understand where the issue lies and have invested in a digital service to help to overcome it.

Starting off as a designer clothes resale service, we’ve experienced all the rapid tides of the second-hand market, including the problems associated with highly diverse stock (by types, brands, sizes and quality). Such items are difficult to catalogue and market which results in low turnover and poor sales conversion of online listings. We figured out that the best way to speed up the sale process was to increase the reach of potential buyers by placing items on sale on as many online marketplaces as possible at the same time. By increasing the number of simultaneous listings on several marketplaces and choosing the most suitable platforms for each of the items, we managed to increase our online sales by almost fivefold.

“We understand that successfully operating on the second-hand market requires access to a much broader buyers’ base compared to when you are dealing with primary sales.”
Egia, Co-founder of Zipsale

This was when we realized that this process needs to be automated. We’ve been through a bumpy road of platform development and negotiations with major marketplaces to make a sales process as sleek as possible.

Zipsale helps you to list and sell your products on multiple marketplaces, giving you one central interface to manage your listings. We operate on the UK and European markets and it is simple to use:

  1. Create or use your current accounts on your favourite marketplaces (at the moment we cooperate with Depop, Ebay, Gumtree and Bonanza, and by the end of the year we anticipate up to 15 UK and European additional marketplaces)
  2. you choose marketplaces on which you would like to upload your items: it could be either those marketplaces you have worked with before and you have a professional account on, or you can pick the new ones. 
  3. the Zipsale team helps you set up an account on those marketplaces you have never worked with before. No more language barriers or constant internet surfing in order to find the ideal place to sell.
  • Create a catalogue 
  • you upload your catalogue of items using the dashboard of your account, using Google or excel spreadsheet, or any other format
  • If you don’t have a digital catalogue of your items, we can help you create it with additional services like tutorials, photos, etc.
  • List from one account everywhere
  • listings are created from products in your catalogue in the Zipsale interface of your account 
  • one item can be linked to one or more listings on every channel you have in Zipsale
  • Sell and manage your items
  • you receive information regarding your item sale process
  • you can manage and edit your items both in the catalogue and on marketplaces from one central place – your Zipsale account 

Why are we doing this and why are looking for charity shops to cooperate?

First of all, at Zipsale we truly believe that sustainable consumption is possible, and our mission is to do our small bit by creating a smarter way of selling things. We also believe that the second-hand market has a great growth potential, as more people look to shop ethically and embrace the circular economy. We think that charity shops can be the right starting point for implementing our technology and are able to immediately benefit from it.

We are keen to present our solution to Early Birds for a free trial and are looking forward to some exciting cooperation! Please contact Maria Yavorskaya at maria@zipsale.co.uk if you would like to know more.