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What Drives Client Satisfaction at Non-profit Thrift Stores?


  • Wodon, Divya
  • Wodon, Naina
  • Wodon, Quentin


While thrift stores are associated with the idea of thrift, it does not follow that they attract only clients with limited resources who are highly price sensitive. Today thrift stores are becoming less stigmatized and are attracting middle class clients and the better off as well. This suggests that beyond low prices, the clientele may be sensitive to other aspects of the thrift store experience, including good old customer service. The purpose of this paper is to measure and assess the drivers of client satisfaction using quantitative and qualitative data. The paper relies on a client survey implemented among the clientele of Martha’s Outfitters, a highly successful non-profit thrift store located in Washington, DC, in order to assess through basic statistics, regression analysis, as well as responses to open ended questions what drives the high level of satisfaction observed among the clientele. The results suggest that the principal factor leading to high satisfaction among the clientele is the quality of the store’s customer service. Low prices, variety in the available stock of merchandize, quality of the available merchandize, and convenience (including in terms of location) also play a role, but a less important one.

Suggested Citation

  • Wodon, Divya & Wodon, Naina & Wodon, Quentin, 2013. "What Drives Client Satisfaction at Non-profit Thrift Stores?," MPRA Paper 56942, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:56942

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Turley, L. W. & Milliman, Ronald E., 2000. "Atmospheric Effects on Shopping Behavior: A Review of the Experimental Evidence," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 193-211, August.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7634 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jouret:v:86:y:2010:i:4:p:355-371 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:eee:jouret:v:85:y:2009:i:1:p:31-41 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:jouret:v:85:y:2009:i:1:p:15-30 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Wodon, Divya & Wodon, Naina & Wodon, Quentin, 2013. "Thrift Stores Funding Food Pantries: A Win-Win Strategy for Nonprofits Serving the Poor?," MPRA Paper 56941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Wodon, Divya & Wodon, Naina & Wodon, Quentin, 2013. "Opening a New Nonprofit Thrift Store: Performance, Competition, Pricing, and Financial Sustainability," MPRA Paper 56943, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Divya Wodon & Naina Wodon, 2013. "What Drives Individual Sales at Nonprofit Thrift Stores?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(4), pages 2791-2800.

    More about this item


    Thrift stores; Nonprofits; Client satisfaction; Customer service; Secondhand clothing;

    JEL classification:

    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship


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