1. What do you believe the purpose of Op-shops is?
* To raise money for important charities and non-profit organisations,
* To provide second hand products to the public,
* To encourage consumers to buy second hand,
* To engage the local community, by way of volunteer time and commitment,
* Reducing the amount of unwanted products discarded to landfill
2. Why do you believe Op-shops are important for the community?
Op shops are often staffed by volunteers in the local community. Op-shops can therefore provide workers with a sense of acknowledgement, achievement, work experience and a way to gain new friendships.
3. How well do you believe Op-shops are utilised by the public?
I’d say the percentage of general public that donate goods, far exceeds that of which actually buy products in op-shops, therefore op-shops are probably not utilised as much as they could be.
A change in some larger chain op-shops presenting themselves as boutique outlets rather than traditional op-shop settings may play a part in increasing sales and commitment to second hand shopping, but few op-shops are able to afford to present their stores this way.
4. What do you think could be done to improve Op-shop use by the community?My thoughts:
An incentive card scheme might work, much like the ones offered in Savers. Although Savers is not theoretically an ‘op-shop’, they do offer card incentives to anyone that donates unwanted items. Cards are stamped each time a donated bag is received. With each stamp, a percentage off will be allowed by the donator on next shop, i.e. one stamp will receive 5% discount (with one bag donation) up to 20% discount with 4 stamps (after 4 bag donations).
Other promotional activities which encourage the community to frequent op-shops more often would be campaigns such as the BuyNothingNew challenge and competition, which runs each October.
The majority of consumers are now online with internet access. Another way to connect with the community would be for individual op-shops to set up their own free facebook page. Photographs of interesting donations could be posted on their facebook page, allowing followers to interact, and possibly encourage a visit / purchase from their local store.
Readers, do you have any further thoughts or ideas to share on Op-Shops? If you are not based in Australia or New Zealand, your answers relating to thrift stores or charity shops would I am sure be equally beneficial
There is an additional online survey to gain a public opinion on op-shops which can be completed here