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How Resale Owners are Preparing for Generation Z

Move over millennials – within a year, Generation Z will be the single largest demographic segment, and it’s time to adapt. Comprising 26 percent of the population, Gen Z is defined as those born between 1997 and 2015. Since members of Gen Z are different in key ways from millennials, this demographic shift holds some notable implications for brands and retail marketers.

Fortunately for resale brands like Winmark’s Once Upon A Child®, Plato’s Closet®, Style Encore®, Play It Again Sports® and Music Go Round®, Gen Z shopping habits and values align perfectly with the resale model.

Gen Z’s shopping preferences are profoundly influenced by three main factors – environmental sustainability, cost-effectiveness and positive peer reviews – which also happen to be the Winmark resale brands’ primary strengths. Consequently, Winmark brands are in a strong position to attract and convert these consumers into loyal, life-long customers.

Here’s more about what members of Generation Z look for in purchases, and how Winmark brands deliver in every facet:

Socially and Environmentally-Conscious Businesses

Over the years, sustainability has become increasingly important to consumers, especially as millennial buying power overtook the marketplace. This trend is not something that we’ll see slowing down any time soon.

Generation Z members are just as willing to put their money where their mouth is – or keep that money in their wallet. In fact, 67 percent of Gen Z-ers have stopped purchasing a product or service or would consider doing so if a company behaved in a way that didn’t align with the consumer’s values.

And, with the overwhelming majority of Generation Z consumers prioritizing environmental sustainability, it has become increasingly clear to many companies they need to abandon wasteful practices that have previously gone unnoticed or ignored.


For that reason, many brands have shifted their focus and values accordingly, in order to appeal to the increasingly socially and environmentally-conscious consumer. However, resale brands whose mission has always been centered on sustainability don’t have much adapting to do.

By keeping clothes, musical instruments and equipment, sporting goods and countless other products out of landfills, Winmark brands alone have made a substantial impact on environmental sustainability. In just one year, resale concepts recycled 2 million tons of textiles – 14 percent of clothes and 17 percent of bedding – that would’ve otherwise piled up in landfills.

Not only that, by encouraging consumers to purchase gently used instead of brand new items, resale concepts like Winmark brands have been able to prevent countless instances of overproduction. When consumers buy gently used resale items, they help skirt the environmental costs associated with agriculture and manufacturing-related pollution.


Because they promote sustainability and avoid wasteful and harmful production practices, resale brands are able to naturally resonate with socially and environmentally-conscious consumers.

High-Quality, Budget-Friendly Brands

Many Gen Z members remember the 2008 recession. Having grown up in that climate, unsurprisingly, most of Gen Z values frugality and financial security more than previous generations. Demographers even compared Gen Z to the Silent Generation, who grew up in the midst of the Great Depression, for their shared tendency to stretch their dollar.

So, it’s no surprise Gen Z-ers are not as willing as their predecessors to overspend on essentials, like clothes, or on hobbies, like sports and music activities.

Resale brands offer consumers the established, high-end brands, which have long been staples for U.S. consumers, at a fraction of their retail price. From gently used guitars and fitness equipment to jeans and jackets, Winmark offers all these products to consumers at a 70 to 90 percent discount – making resale a go-to option for many Gen Z buyers.


Peer Recommendations

Resale brands are already positioned for success as more Generation Z consumers flood the marketplace. But, that’s not to say there aren’t additional opportunities for growth. Generation Z consumers also increasingly value peer recommendations over traditional marketing methods.

In an era where a friend’s recommendation is as accessible as an anonymous online review, it’s more important now than ever for brands to prioritize customer service. While resale brands already have a leg up on other industries in resonating with the changing consumer base, they shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of good, old-fashioned guest service.

That’s why Winmark has long prioritized top-notch customer service in each of our brand’s resale franchise locations. With our unique two-tiered business model, we’re able to provide high-quality service to sellers and buyers, often converting sellers into paying customers.

Our strong training and support programs emphasize the importance of good customer service at every level while offering franchise partners concrete strategies and guidance to constantly improve their guest experience.

Winmark’s proprietary point-of-sale (POS), inventory management and other software systems automate many of our franchise partners’ business operations, freeing up their time to solely focus on the customer and providing a superior experience.


With all the systems and support in place to provide premier guest service every time shoppers walk through your doors, you can rest assured you’ll get positive reviews and consistent recommendations. This is not only one of the most credible, impactful and cost-effective marketing methods, it’s also one of the most important factors in Generation Z consumers’ buying decisions.

Generation Z will make up 40 percent of consumers by 2020, making now a critical time for brands to adjust their strategy and capture the new thrifty, forward-thinking consumer. For resale brands like Winmark’s, whose inherent business model aligns well with these changing preferences, we’ll continue delivering the best products the industry has to offer – as we have been for more than 25 years.

Are you interested in a business opportunity in a growing industry that appeals to today’s value-conscious consumer? Contact us today to learn about resale franchise opportunities with Winmark Corporation’s brands.