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How Winmark Quality Control Captures Thrifty Shoppers

Can you tell the difference between resale and retail? Many shoppers can’t, and resale shops today look more like traditional retail stores. Resale is becoming a bigger segment in fashion, sports and other industries and is expected to reach $41 billion in revenue by 2022.

That’s because these days resale isn’t just for consumers with tight budgets. For many, there’s pride in the pursuit of the perfect discounted piece, but some still harbor misconceptions about resale items. In actuality, top resale brands have developed tactics to consistently secure high-quality inventory at unparalleled prices.


Inventory management can make or break a resale business. Resale leaders like Winmark have perfected this model. Winmark concepts offer cash on the spot to sellers and often feature designer steals on the shelves, turning quality control into a science. Franchisees with Winmark’s family of clothing resale concepts – Once Upon A Child®, Plato’s Closet® and Style Encore® – value this process and with it have helped the brand change the face of resale.

Inventory Management

In resale, your customers are also your suppliers, so it can be challenging to strike a balance between buying unwanted items and selling in-demand items. Winmark conducts ongoing market research to develop inventory best practices for franchisees. This is particularly helpful for apparel-based brands because fashion trends change so quickly.

While traditional retail stores change their inventory with the season, Winmark brands buy all seasons year round. Renae Gaudette, vice president of franchising, said this is the foundation of Winmark’s success.

“We can’t assume that customers will come back in our stores to sell product when we need the inventory,” Renae said. “We needed to adjust our inventory strategy to take in items when the customer was ready to sell the product – regardless of the season.”


Resale stores are not only searching for popular items, they must consider the quality of the items customers bring in.

“Our buying standards are based on condition, quality, and demand,” Renae said. “Our stores do decline certain products, but we take it as an opportunity to educate our customers on what we really need.”

Marketing Support

Winmark marketing uses a dual-approach method since the brands must attract both sellers and buyers. They leverage diverse marketing channels to reach a wider audience with different motivations for visiting the stores.

“We use an approach that involves digital, social and in-store experiences,” Renae said. “Social media has been a growing avenue that allows our franchisees to show pictures of the product they sell that says to our customers, ‘This is the product we have for sale, we also need product from you like this.’”

This method appeals to both buyers and sellers and creates loyal customers eager to buy and sell again.

“Our customers don’t view us as a typical resale store. They have the same standards and expectations for us as a regular retail store – we just happen to provide a wide variety of quality, gently used clothes at an ultra-high value of up to 90 percent off regular retail prices,” Renae said.

To learn more about pursuing your passion and becoming a business owner with one of Winmark’s franchise brands, check out our website here.