How to start a store of second-hand/used products?

. 7 min read
How to start a store of second-hand/used products?

Investment, profits, steps & more

A gradual transition that we have noticed over the years is the rising popularity of used products among consumers. The reason for it can be traced to the consumption pattern of people. Gone are the days when people bought products to last a lifetime. Today’s generation believes in upgrading it. From cassette players to CD players to Bluetooth speakers and live streaming of music, we have constantly upgraded our products.

What happens to the older products when we replace them with new ones? This is where second-hand or used products stores come into the picture. With people frequently disposing of their products, there are better chances now than ever before that you will get a used product in good condition.

This is why starting a second-hand products store is among the most viable and unique business ideas. But from identifying the right product, market, and location, to making sound investments in the inventories, to marketing, pricing, and quality assurance strategies – when done right, starting a second-hand products store can be a detailed procedure but also be one of the best businesses to start now.

What kind of used product?

There are a variety of options when it comes to used products. To begin with, it should be something you should be comfortable with. If you want to open a used vinyl record store, you should have a decent knowledge of music. If it is a gadget you wish to deal in, you should have the skills to understand its workings.

Second-hand book stores, used furniture shops, and thrift stores are just as popular options. You should be careful not to open a used store for products that most people like to own first hand, like daily use personal items like cosmetics or mattresses.

Your choice of the product would also depend on the place you are in. Places with many educational institutions will have thriving used furniture or bookstores. Similarly, a posh part of the town could be receptive to antique stores.

Identify Your Audience written on a paper pinned on dart board

1. Identify your audience

Selecting a viable product is one part, but you also have to ensure that there is a ready market for such products. You may have the finest products one could ever curate, but in the absence of a target segment, your store might still fire a blank. Considering the demographic of the location and the consumption pattern is important in deciding the product.

A used smartphone store can perform well in a lower-middle-class neighbourhood, as people would aspire to own high-end smartphones for cheap, provided you ensure good product quality. Opening a used sports gear shop near a sprawling sporting complex can be the best business idea, provided it gets good footfall. Many times, gauging the presence of a target audience is also an intelligent guess, as your store may trigger a previously hidden demand for the product.

2. Build your inventory

Used product stores are not about quantity; it is the quality and inherent value of the product that matters. In a new product store, you can buy your inventory as per your sales and market demand without worrying too much about the quality of popular products.

The same is not true for second-hand stores. Even an iPhone 10, if used, can be of poor quality due to misuse by the original buyer. Every item has to be carefully checked and collected, and it is a gradual process. Second-hand store owners make an effort to visit garage sales, auctions, clearance sales, online deals, etc.

3. Hiring the right people

To make sure that you are not overburdened with every aspect of the store operations, you have to hire the right people to work in your used products store. If you are good at sourcing, you should have someone to look after the salesmanship and administration.

Alternatively, if you spot a good sourcing person, you can rely on the person to get quality products for your store. You must remember that the growth of a business is possible only if you maintain bandwidth for expansion-related activities rather than remaining forever busy with day-to-day activities.

4. Quality assurance

Conventional perception would agree that quality and second-hand products don’t go hand-in-hand. But, the truth is that quality is even more important in the case of second-hand product stores. If products in a new product store turn out to be of poor quality, it is as much the fault of the manufacturer as it is of the seller, if not more.

But the owner of a second-hand store stands alone if the product is inferior. Therefore, price and quality are both given due importance by every successful used products store.

5. Pricing

Striking a balance between price and quality is vital for the goodwill and sustainability of a second-hand store, more than in any new business ideas. As there is no fixed price for second-hand products, the sourcing price is key to the pricing of the product.

However, you may want to avoid going for bargains at the cost of quality. You will also have to master the fine art of negotiating as a common expectation among buyers of used products is that of a good bargain.

6. Accounting infrastructure

Just because your products are second-hand, it doesn’t mean that you should approach your business any less professionally. Equip your business like a modern enterprise, even if it is at a modest scale. Streamline your finances, maintain proper accounts and adhere to the laws of the land, as applicable to second-hand stores.

Online maintenance of accounts through digital ledger apps like OkCredit gives small business owners the convenience and flexibility of maintaining paperless accounts, pulling out reports, and facilitating digital transactions. OkCredit’s Digital Bahi Khata supports local Indian languages and makes interaction and collection from customers more streamlined.

7. Marketing plan

As a newly opened store, sufficient marketing is important to establish your store in the public recall. Use marketing campaigns that are relevant to your location, be it billboards or newspaper ads. Promoting it as a zero-waste business can be a good start.

A second-hand store is one of the best small business ideas, and you can capitalise on your launch event to engage more people and grab maximum eyeballs. It could be opening day discounts and offers, contests, shows, etc.

8. Online presence

You can build an online presence not only as a part of a marketing strategy but also in sales. Cater to the net-savvy consumers by replicating your physical store in the virtual space as well. You can post in specialised used product platforms and/or open your very own website.

You can use your digital skills to leverage social media to popularise your store. Facebook and Instagram pages can be used to share newly listed products, engage social media followers and interact with them. If you provide after-sales service, you can also use social media platforms to give more prompt responses to your customers.


Small businesses like a used products store can grow faster and more holistically with proper planning and infrastructure. With digital interaction with customers, the use of tech-enabled tools like OkCredit ensures that repetitive tasks like payment receipt and performance analysis are not slowed down by physical bookkeeping limitations.

Apart from getting the basics like a product, target audience, and promotion right, having the right infrastructure helps businesses ensure operational smoothness. This enables them to free up time and resources to concentrate on their growth trajectory and expansion plans.

Therefore, a well-rounded strategy can be hugely beneficial while opening a new second-hand products store. We hope that your new second-hand store sustains and grows with your meticulous planning and execution.

Also Read:

1) How to start a furniture manufacturing business?
2) How to Start a Furniture Upcycling Business?
3) How to start a business of eco-friendly & organic cleaning products?
4) How To Start An E-waste Recycling Business?

Stay updated with new business ideas & business tips with OkCredit blogs in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Marathi & more!
Download OkCredit now & get rid of your bookkeeping hassles.
OkCredit is 100% Made in India.


Q. Do second-hand stores sell the latest fashion?

Ans. The owner of a second-hand store may keep items that are in fashion. However, being used items, it is likely that most of the items wouldn’t belong to the latest trend.

Q. How to convince customers about a second-hand purchase?

Ans. People may look at second-hand goods with suspicion, so it is important that you deal in products that are timeless and are not affected by the change of ownership, like books, for instance.

Q. Do second-hand stores have a return or exchange policy?

Ans. Second-hand stores generally don’t have a return or exchange policy. Some stores may allow an exception based purely on the cordial relationship with the customer.

Q. Can second-hand stores buy items too?

Ans. Second-hand stores may accept used products from walk-in buyers, but it is a business call for them. Many owners rely on trusted vendors for quality second-hand products, while some may be open to a “buy and sell” second-hand store.