Editorial Notebook

The benefits of digital thrift shopping

In today’s digital age, online shopping is one of the most popular and convenient outlets for consumers to make purchases. From essential items to entertainment and fashion trends, you can obtain virtually anything with the click of a button and the price of shipping. However, the market for secondhand items is often underutilized.

Shopping online for secondhand clothing comes with a world of benefits. It is better for the environment when we purchase secondhand items, especially when these items might otherwise end up thrown away. Encouraging the circulation of clothing reduces the waste we put into the environment.

It is also economically beneficial for consumers to shop secondhand. In the fast-paced world of fashion, trends can change overnight. It can be hard for people to explore different clothing styles without spending enormous amounts of money on new clothing. When you choose to shop secondhand, not only is it generally cheaper, but you can also contribute old or unwanted clothes for other people to buy.

But how can the average consumer use the digital marketplace to effectively shop secondhand? The best advice I can give is to take full advantage of filtering to curate the items you are sorting through. With countless items for sale on hundreds of different marketplaces and apps, you need to have some idea of what you’re looking for. Whether that be specific items, brands, or trends, it saves time and money to filter for these things before you begin your search. Although sometimes you may come up short on more specific items, with a little patience and persistence, something satisfying is sure to pop up.

Another key strategy is to pay attention to descriptions and photos provided by the seller. While some marketplaces quality check all the items that are posted, most do not. It can be difficult to get your money back if the item comes in subpar quality, especially if you missed something in the original listing. To avoid this, double check the listings for items you hope to purchase and take advantage of seller reviews on consumer-to-consumer marketplaces. If a seller has many bad reviews for the quality of their items or service, you should avoid buying from them.

By using these two strategies, my personal experience with online secondhand shopping has been overwhelmingly positive. As someone from a small town with not many secondhand shops near me, the ability to find unique and sustainable items without breaking my wallet is invaluable. A few online marketplaces I use most often are Depop, Thredup, and Vinted. While these sites have their pros and cons depending on what you're looking for, secondhand shopping, especially when integrated with the digital world, allows people to not only make a positive impact but easily explore new styles.