Sunday, December 26, 2010

Goodwill Becomes "Cheap Chic"

If you're anything like me, in the past you have thought of Goodwill as a great place to drop off clothing and household items you no longer need ... and a great place to pick up a fun Halloween costume without breaking the bank.

For years, donors and retail customers represented two entirely different targets for Goodwill. But, the Great Recession has changed Goodwill's customer base a bit.  According to IBIS World, the 2,000 national stores rang up $2.8 billion in retail sales last year, up 56% in the past three years. And the household income of Goodwill shoppers has been on a steady incline.

Today, many of Goodwill's donors have become their greatest shoppers. Interestingly, while economics may have propelled them into the stores, it is the spirit of the hunt that keeps them coming back for more.

But, to solely credit Goodwill's recent success on the recession isn't telling the whole story.

Goodwill has implemented an all-out marketing campaign in recent years that has done an admirable job in both raising the profile of their stores and recreating the overall image of what's inside their four walls. So much so, that they have created a sense of "Cheap Chic," actually making shopping at Goodwill somewhat fashionable. 

Their Halloween billboard cleverly morphs the Goodwill logo into a number of Halloween characters, including the recognizable images of a mummy and a whiskered cat.

A cooperative marketing campaign with Levi's resulted in a Goodwill recommendation on Levi's tags: "Donate to Goodwill when no longer needed and care for our planet."

Affiliates in Washington DC created a Goodwill Fashionista blog, inviting shoppers to learn about and comment on different fashion trends.

Goodwill has worked hard to entice people to join the Goodwill team promising: "Our organizations are vibrant, innovative places to work, where employees are valued for their talents."

Overall, Goodwill has done what any good marketer should (but often doesn't) do ... capitalize on a market condition or consumer trend.

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