Starting a Second Hand Online Store in 2021: Everything You Need To Know

It won't be wrong to say that second-hand online stores are trending right now. They were a huge hit during the lockdown and entrepreneurs made millions by selling old electronic appliances, clothes, gadgets, smartphones, furniture, and much more. Even today, people feeling the nip of the COVID-19 pandemic are cleaning out their wardrobes as bargain seekers are eagerly making bids. That’s why this is the perfect chance for opportunistic entrepreneurs!

If you also want to start your own 2nd hand online store, then, you have landed in the right place. In this blog, Techosquare will discuss everything you need to know about starting a second-hand online shop in 2021. Let’s first learn what exactly a thrift store is.

What is a second-hand online store?

A second-hand online store is a type of e-commerce website where pre-owned items go under the hammer. 2nd hand online stores majorly fall into 3 categories: non-profit thrift stores, consignment shops, and virtual flea markets.

Non-profit thrift stores are operated by charity organizations to raise money and support communities. Consignment shops, on the other hand, is a 2nd hand online store where people list their used items to sell and give some commission on the sale to the website owner.

Similarly, the online flea market is a multi-vendor marketplace where lots of sellers come together to list their catalog and attract purchase bids. Popular examples are Goodwill Industries and eBay.

Why start a second-hand online store?

In 2020, the personal luxury goods second-hand market worldwide was valued at 28 billion euros. While a lot of it is unfolding online, that’s just the luxury goods market. Here’s why thousands of entrepreneurs are focusing their energies on dominating the second-hand e-commerce market:

#1 Widened scope

Physical second-hand shops cater to customers who are in the area. But that is not the case with 2nd hand online stores. You can extend your business to people all over the country or around the world, expanding your customer base and potential revenue in the process.

#2 Customer data insights

One of the best benefits of running a second-hand online store is that you can easily collect and act on your customer data. If you truly are looking forward to being hyper-focused on your customer’s taste, then, you need to own your consumer data.

Selling 2nd hand products at your online store will let you collect customer’s data by tracking site interactions. Consistent feedback and actionable insights will continue to improve customer experience and subsequently profits.

#3 24/7 shopping

Another major advantage of owning a 2nd hand online store in 2021. Forget paying rent for a building and investing in employees; your second-hand online store will always be open for business. Your customers can check our second-hand products and make a buying decision at any time, be it day or night.


This sort of accessibility is a huge competitive advantage for most online businesses. Not only does it make shopping easier for customers but it also brings you sales while you are busy with other business aspects.

#4 Meet customers

Unlike physical retail stores, running a second-hand online store brings the opportunity to engage with your customers using different platforms. They can discover products through Instagram, site search, and community mentions. 2nd hand online shop allows entrepreneurs to exclude friction points and makes it convenient for the buyers to buy the product they need.

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Second-hand store: Industry Stats and data

In the COVID times, a lot of us are trying to save money and prefer pre-owned products rather than brand new ones, especially in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, India, and Canada.

Let’s have a look at the data and figures country wise: 

US 2nd hand business: According to a report by Statista, US second-hand goods retail sales store sales amount to 1.17 billion US dollars in January 2021. However, with a great consumer shift in online shopping, this figure is rumored to be increased by 3.5% in April 2021.

Between 1.17 billion sales, the used smartphone market (including both refurbished and 2nd hand smartphones) in the US has a share of 24.4%. What’s interesting, this number is expected to grow up to 27% by the end of 2024.

UK pre-owned products business: With the rising concern about the environmental and ethical costs of the consumer goods industry, the 2nd hand market in the United Kingdom has seen growing importance in recent years. As per the statement given by Fashion United, there has been a 404% year-on-year increase in used goods sales since 2018.

What’s more, the total number of active once-loved stores has also increased over these 3 years. The United Kingdom now hosts 3943 offline and online stores specialized in selling second-hand goods in 2021.

India pre-owned business: India is nowhere lagging when it comes to buying second-hand products. Ecommerce giants like Flipkart and OLX are bullish on the used and refurbished goods market in the country, with a special focus on electronics, furniture, smartphones, and gadgets.

A report from IBEF states that the market size of the used goods in urban India was 22,000 INR crores in 2014. The total sales of used goods stock are expected to hit 45,000 INR crores by the end of 2022.

Canada 2nd hand business: Canada is a wealthy country and one of the largest traders in used goods and worn articles. Statista states that over 30.53% of Canadians have shopped from vintage clothing shops. In fact, the number of used merchandise stores, be it offline or online has also increased to 542 alone in Ontario as of December 2020.

Even if you are not from the above countries, starting an online store for once-loved products could be a great idea. That’s because:

  1. Online shopping is kicking off across the globe
  2. COVID-19 pandemic may not end anytime soon and demand for once-owned products will go up
  3. Demand for recycled products and vintage clothing is at an all-time high

2nd hand online shop development process

Launching a second-hand online store might not be complex but launching a successful one is indeed daunting. Here are the steps involved in the development of 2nd hand e-commerce shop: 

#1 Identify your niche

If you have ever visited physical second-hand stores or thrift shops, then, you must already know they can be pretty overwhelming. Old books, CPUs, mobile phones, old chairs, dining tables, antiques, and whatnot are crammed in a small space. Most online second-hand product stores on the other hand are focused on a specific niche.


Use social media groups and forums to analyze what’s in great demand locally and globally. Also, look over your competitors; know who they are and what they are offering. These steps will not only help you determine a niche for your second-hand store but also help gather enough stats to make your products, services, and shop stand out. 

#2 Study the market

Market research has always been the key to setting up and running a successful venture online. By studying the market, you will get a better understanding of your target audience and help build a sturdy catalog of products.

Conduct keyword research to visualize how many people are searching for specific second-hand products during any given time period. Find the trends and put a big picture in the perspective.

#3 Create your brand

Once you are done selecting the niche and studying the used-goods market, start putting some thought into your online brand. Choose a brand name for your 2nd hand online store. Also, design a unique logo for it. By doing so, you will be able to put some real thought into your identity and target audience.

Select a name that is not only unique but also clearly indicates what your business is all about. Consult your local business name registry to ensure that you are not choosing a business name that is already claimed by someone else.

Pro tip: It would be worthwhile to check if your favorite 2nd hand online shop domain name is available for buying or not. In case your domain name is currently being used, consider a different business name or TDR.

#4 Source the products 

Here comes the most fun and exhausting part! It’s time to source products that you want to sell. You could find them all around your city. This includes flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, clearance sales, craigslist, and even other thrift stores.


Look at their general condition once you see items that fit your 2nd hand online store criteria. Of course, you could also source them from sites like eBay but sourcing locally means getting the best deals as there are fewer customers and less competition.

It’s also a wise decision to source products from a wholesaler. Once you are sure that products are readily available, it’s time to build your online store. 

#5 Select the right platform

There are two popular e-commerce solutions for starting a 2nd hand online store: 

  1. Custom e-commerce solution
  2. Turnkey e-commerce solution 

By using a custom e-commerce solution, you build a 2nd hand online shop from ground zero. It is best suited for those entrepreneurs who require total control of their online selling strategy. A team of designers and developers is required to develop such an online store from scratch. The cost of setting up a second-hand online store using a custom e-commerce solution would vary from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on the store size and business goals.

Turnkey e-commerce solution, on the other hand, is at the opposite extreme. If a custom second-hand online store development is about building a PC, a turnkey e-commerce solution is simply purchasing it. We say it straight off the bat that it is an ideal solution for those who lack technical knowledge, are tight on budget, and want to start selling their products ASAP. 

2nd hand stores built using turnkey e-commerce solutions like SwiftKart bring the best of both worlds by ensuring quick turnaround, low building cost, airtight security, and high scalability. 

Learn more about e-commerce marketplace software for starting a 2nd hand online store in 2021.

#6 Promote

Ta-da! You know almost everything about starting a second-hand online store in 2021. Now that your niche and brand name are finalized, the online store is ready, your products are listed, and the website is up, you are ready to start to make sales. But wait, how will your business appear in front of potential customers?

Well, to allure them to your 2nd hand online shop, you have to create a marketing plan. There are several marketing practices to utilize for your e-commerce business. Google ads, paid social media ads, SEO, content creation, social media, and brand building are some of the most popular options. Use them to build excitement about existing and upcoming products. Make sure to keep investing in marketing to boost traffic as well as sales.

Above are the steps involved in launching a 2nd hand online store in 2021. We bet you have figured out how much easier and beneficial it is to launch a second-hand e-commerce shop. Okay, not that easy but by taking one step at a time, you can get your second-hand store up and running within months.

Got any queries to ask? Send them at and have them answered by our web development experts.

Also read:

  1. Brick and mortar stores go online
  2. 13 e-commerce business niche ideas worth exploring in 2021
  3. 70 solid e-commerce features to start and scale your online business