Navigating Online Vs. In-store Clothes Sales – Pros & Cons

Last Updated on by Bree

Navigating Online Vs. In-store Clothes Sales - Pros & Cons

Are you wondering if selling your clothes online or in a brick-and-mortar store is best?

While one path leads to reaching buyers online without much effort, the other encourages walk-ins.

If you resell part-time, I’ll encourage you to sell online only.

But if you resell your clothes as a full-time business, you must decide which is best for you.

Let’s dive in and discuss the pros and cons of selling your clothes online vs in-store.

Pros of selling your clothes online

Zero cost platforms:

One of the pros of selling your clothes online is that you’re not paying for the platform to list.

It is free to list on most reselling platforms.

So you can sell without the upfront investment in a physical store.

Direct profits:

Selling online involves fewer go-betweens.

And you keep a higher percentage of the profits.

Since there is no extra cost of running a store.

Immediate transactions:

When you sell your clothes online, transactions are faster.

And you get your funds as soon as the buyer receives their orders and rates you.

Marketplaces like Facebook marketplace pay directly into your bank once the buyer accepts the item.

But Mercari and Poshmark pay your funds as store credit.

And you have to request for the money to be transferred to your bank account.

Just keep that in mind.

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Wide reach:

Another pro of selling your clothes online is that you’d reach more people around the country.

So it’s not just people in your area like a brick-and-mortar store offers.

Flexibility and control:

When selling online, you can set your prices and rules.

Some sellers write their listing descriptions that don’t accept returns.

So buyers already know that before they purchase from such sellers.

You can even add that the price is firm.

That can help you weed out low-ballers.

Selling online is convenient:

Also, selling your clothes online is convenient because you can do it anywhere – on your phone or computer.

Unlike being tied down to where your physical store is located.

So, even if you move to a new place, you only need to update your address on the reselling marketplace app.

Cons of selling your clothes online

Putting your fashion pieces up for sale online often involves a fair share of challenges.

Listing and pricing your clothes can be exhausting:

The listing process is one of the main stressors of selling your clothes online.

You have to take good quality pictures, take measurements (sometimes), write descriptions, and price the clothes.

This can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

And imagine if you sell on several online marketplaces.

The stress can drive one crazy.

But apps like Crosslist(affiliate link) can help you cross-post your items to other marketplaces just from one listing.

So you won’t have to list on all the platforms physically. Whew!

Selling fees can eat into your profits:

Most reselling marketplaces charge selling fees and processing fees, which can eat into your profits.

Some charge a flat fee, while others are percentage-based.

You can add the selling and processing fees into your pricing to avoid selling at a loss.

The stress of inventory:

Most of us sell to declutter our wardrobes.

Selling online can sometimes be slow.

This means you can’t declutter your closet as quickly as you’d like to.

Unless you sell your clothes on Thredup.

And for those of us who buy the inventory to sell, you’d have it stored in your space for a while.

Unlike when you have a store where everything is already on hangers and more organized.

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Scam buyers:

As convenient as selling online can be, it is also where scam buyers hang out.

Some buyers will convince you to sell outside the platform, lie about the condition of the item you sold, or even claim they never received their order.

My advice?

  • Never accept payment outside the marketplace you’re selling on.
  • Always ship with the marketplace prepaid shipping label.
  • And take pictures of the item’s condition before shipping it, in case the buyer tries to pull a fast one of you.

The stress of shipping:

As if the buyer scams aren’t stressful enough, shipping has its own complications.

If you have a busy life, making time to ship a purchase can be challenging.

Also, ensuring you’re covered for lost or damaged goods in transit is a consideration you mustn’t overlook.

Even worse is shipping to the wrong address.

Check out this post.

Possible returns:

Returns are another con of selling your clothes online.

Most online reselling marketplaces have strong buyer protection policies, which is good.

But some buyers abuse it.

Even after reading the description of a listing, some buyers will still ask for returns because they changed their minds or the clothes don’t fit the way they expected.

Which isn’t your fault?

Please read this post to avoid returns when selling online.

How do you manage these cons of selling online?

To manage these cons, staying organized and well-informed is critical.

Use tools and resources provided by online platforms to streamline the listing process.

Include selling fees in your pricing from the get-go to maintain profits.

And protect yourself from scams by only accepting payments on the platform.

Also, as I said before, take pictures as proof of the condition of your clothes before shipping them.

Lastly, ship with the platform prepaid shipping labels so you and the marketplace staff can track your shipments.

These simple tactics can help you sell online more smoothly.

Pros of selling your clothes in-store

Selling clothes through a brick-and-mortar store offers unique advantages that may not be available online.

Primarily, the potential of engaging with walk-in customers adds a personal touch to each transaction.

Walk-in customers:

There’s a tangible connection that you can establish with clients who visit the store.

This direct interaction fosters trust and can lead to increased loyalty.

Harmonious customer relationships often translate into frequent visits and referrals, boosting sales.

Woman looking at clothes in a store

High satisfaction rates:

Another substantial benefit is the likelihood of higher customer satisfaction.

Buyers appreciate the opportunity to try on clothes, feel the textures, and view colors in natural light.

Which is unavailable when they shop online.

Also, this hands-on experience reduces the chances of returns.

And satisfied customers are likely to recommend you to their friends.

Another advantage of selling in-store is that, after a while, you’d know what sells and stock more of it.

Which improves sales, too.

woman hanging a bag to a customer

Cons of selling your clothes in-store

Rental fees:

Paying rent in a physical store can eat into your profits.

Especially in busy retail locations.

Uneven sales days:

Income may fluctuate dramatically, with some days generating little to no revenue.

Which can make financial planning challenging.

I’ve been to several thrift stores in my area.

Some days, they’re busy, and others, the stores are empty.

And when you’re not making money, how will you continue to operate your business?

Window shoppers:

Walk-in customers won’t always translate into sales.

Many passersby may browse without purchasing.

Some people go to malls to look around, do window shopping, and leave.

I do that a lot with a close friend of mine.

It was during one of our mall walks that I discovered those cool thrift stores.

And I felt kind of sorry for the store owners when I walked in and out without buying anything.

woman window shoping

You have to price your items high to make profits:

Another con about selling your clothes in-store is that you must price high to make profits.

Because you must earn enough money to pay rent and other fees to run the store.

The thrift stores I visited in my area have really pricey items.

And they sell good stuff.

But you know how most of us view thrift stores?

We see them as places to buy treasures for less.

So it’s weird to see a dress priced high in a thrift store.

But I understand the owners need to make enough to run the store.

Fit and theft issues:

Customers trying on clothes can lead to wear and tear.

Not to mention the possibility of theft.

And investing in security measures can be costly and also impact your profits.

Also, you can’t install cameras in the changing rooms.

So you can’t tell what the buyer paid for or stole.

I believe theft is why Burlington’s changing room has been out of use.

I may be wrong.

Choosing the right place to sell your clothes

Deciding whether to sell your clothes online or in-store depends on the advantages and challenges unique to each method.

Online marketplaces are enticing if you value convenience and reaching more buyers without leaving your home.

They allow you to list your clothes swiftly, conducting transactions from anywhere at any time.

The direct profits you keep are also appealing, minus any fees associated with your chosen platform.

Keeping most of the profits, with the added benefit of quick sales, makes selling online attractive to many.

Conversely, selling clothes online requires detailed listing, good pictures, and accurate descriptions.

And you have to deal with selling fees and shipping even when you have other commitments or potential buyer scams.

These cons can make selling online stressful and costly.

In a store setting, walk-in customers provide immediate sales without the uncertainty of shipping.

However, rental costs, inconsistent sales, and possible theft can reduce profits.

And increase the cost of running the business.

Ultimately, selling online or in-store depends on your goal and the control you want over the process.

So, what’s best for your wardrobe?

Depending on the kind of clothes in your wardrobe, you can choose to sell online or in-store.

But let me warn you that online buyers are more likely to scam you of high-end items.

So be careful out there.

However, if you have other major commitments and don’t see yourself selling online or in-store, send your clothes to Thredup.

They’ll take the pictures, price and list the clothes, and ship them for you.

And you may or may not make a lot of sales.

But you’d declutter your closet and have space for new clothes.

Conclusion on the pros and cons of selling online vs. in-store

So those are the pros and cons of selling your clothes online vs. in-store.

If you find this post helpful, please share it.

Where are you currently selling your clothes?

What are the pros and cons you’re experiencing?

Please share with us in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

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