Goodwill targets upscale consumer for stores, Web

WASHINGTON: Goodwill of Greater Washington (GGW) has begun a fashion blog and other social-media outreach intended to show younger, wealthier female patrons that its DC-area stores and e-commerce site offer the same clothing sold at vintage stores for a fraction of the price.

WASHINGTON: Goodwill of Greater Washington (GGW) has begun a fashion blog and other social-media outreach intended to show younger, wealthier female patrons that its DC-area stores and e-commerce site offer the same clothing sold at vintage stores for a fraction of the price.

Along with sponsoring a blog, the DC Goodwill Fashionista, which offers style trends and tips, Goodwill's new campaign includes a recent "virtual fashion show" produced by local designer and image consultant Tu-Anh. The show also features Goodwill items, a page on MySpace and other social media sites, as well as earned media outreach, including a recent article in The Washington Post.

Brendan Hurley, GGW's SVP of marcomms, says the social media strategy aims to draw a new class of patron to the stores without alienating Goodwill's core shoppers: slightly older, less affluent females. Geoff Livingston of Livingston Communications helped develop the plan.

"The social media [plan] made sense because we could communicate with them using technology they were very familiar with, reposition this merchandise with this secondary market segment, develop a more personal relationship with them, and convince them that the types of things you can buy at Goodwill, and thrift stores in general, is quality merchandise," Hurley insists.

The virtual fashion show, which used items for sale on Goodwill's eBay site, has drawn more than 11,500 visitors since its launch, Hurley points out, with 16% of visitors converted into online Goodwill shoppers. While the effect of the campaign on store visitors overall isn't easy to determine, Hurley notes, DC-area stores have seen a 16.5% increase in clothing sales and boast a greater than 8% increase in total sales in recent weeks.

Hurley says the blog, fashion show, and other outreach efforts all make note of Goodwill's overriding mission to "educate, train, employ and place people with disadvantages and disabilities."

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