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Trending in 2022: 5 ways to market your resale business
Photo: Wendy Wei/Pexels

Trending in 2022: 5 ways to market your resale business


Trends come and go, but they can be useful when marketing your vintage resale business

How much do you keep an eye on what’s trending in the vintage resale market?

It’s a new year, which means brands, media outlets and analysts send out a tidal wave of trends forecasts.

What will the retail landscape look like in 2022? What products will be hot and not? What do we expect shoppers to prioritize in the upcoming months?

Authenticity should always come first for a vintage-selling business. The vintage resale market is comprised of independent, small-business owners who are tastemakers in their own right. Your style, curation and unique inventory are ultimately what resonate with customers, not fads.

Originality is valued in the industry, and so is sourcing what you love.

“Trends come and go, and luckily, being a small business, you can react really quickly to those trends,” says Jodi Lai, owner of Moonshine Vintage. “I want to be proud of what I’m creating and what I’m putting out there. And I think being consistent with what I love is the way to do that.”

But trends can be useful to reference when developing a marketing strategy for the year.

If you understand where consumer desire might be heading on a global, national or local scale, it can help you to enter the minds of your buyers so that you can anticipate their purchase patterns and possibly increase your sales — if that is a goal of yours. (If selling is more of a hobby for you, this may be less important.)

Think of trends as an added bonus — one that allows you to get to know what your potential customers might want.

With that in mind, we sifted through a number of recent trends reports, including those published by popular selling platforms Etsy and Instagram, to bring you the most relevant insights that could benefit your resale business in 2022.

1. Use what’s “hot” in an unexpected way.

In the ever-evolving world of social media and e-commerce, keeping up with trends can be challenging for a small business.

Establishing even just a general idea of what could be popular this year can help you to prioritize or switch up the marketing of certain products in your inventory.

Here’s what will be hot in 2022, according to the experts:

Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy’s trend expert, predicted that “2022 will be all about finding balance in all aspects of our lives” in the company’s early 2022 trends report. She said the Swedish concept of “lagom,” which translates to “not too much, not too little” will dictate style choices and shopping habits.

Colour is always a big marker of trends in design and fashion. Pantone’s colour of the year for 2022 is Very Peri, a periwinkle blue shade, and Etsy’s is emerald green.

The data in Etsy’s report, which covers the period between July 2021 and October 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, shows a 67 per cent increase in searches for “emerald green.”

In decor, shapes such as arches, pyramids, squiggles, scalloped and rounded edges continue to remain popular, according to Etsy’s report. In fashion, Y2K and 1990s looks remain popular with Gen Zs and Millennials.

Here are some of the search terms that showed an increase in year-over-year use on Etsy between July and October 2021:

  • Pastel room decor (up 2,627%)
  • Denmark pastel (up 28,705%)
  • Squiggles (up 177%)
  • Marble candle holders (up 263%)
  • 70s lighting (up 368%)
  • Vintage lighting (up 25%)
  • Y2K (up 50%)
  • Vintage plaid (up 66%)
  • Pastel goth clothing (up 34%)
  • Velvet chokers (up 365%)

Over at Instagram, the social media giant recently debuted its first-ever Trend Report, which brings together interviews with Gen Z creators alongside a survey of 1,200 U.S. social media users aged 13-24.

The report predicts interest in alt-fashion will remain high (think terms like “dark academia,” “goth,” “goblincore” and “nostalgic wear”), with 50 per cent of survey respondents planning to dress in those trends this year.

According to Vogue, costume jewellery — think big earrings, ornate necklaces and brooches — is making a big comeback.

The numbers on Etsy corroborate: the company noted a 62 per cent increase in searches for “butterfly brooches” during July and October 2021 compared to the previous year. (Looking for some of that jewellery? Check out our list of 11 Vintage and Pre-Loved Jewellery Shops.)

Application tip

First, source what you love. If the products above don’t fit with your inventory, there are ways to incorporate trends in the marketing side of your business.

For example, try incorporating a popular colour into your photography backgrounds and see if you get more engagement. Or aim to channel the Swedish concept of “logom” in your product vignettes.

2. Roll out your inventory depending on the season.

We all know some products are more popular than others at certain times of the year.

Think like a retail store and capitalize on the shift in seasons by offering products that people will need just before they actually do.

You may want to drip summer products throughout the summer (and you should), but consider doing a larger collection release just before the season starts, to allow for shipping delays and to ensure your customers can get maximum value on their new-to-them purchases throughout the season.

January, for example, is a month that many people spend reorganizing and cleaning their homes, and could be a good time to roll out some of the storage solutions you’ve been collecting — such as cabinets, bar carts, catchalls, dressers and storage bins — or, if you’re a vintage fashion shop, maybe you post more of your comfy, warm loungewear.

In anticipation of what your customers will want when the new year rolls in, you could start offering those items during the period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, when many people are on holiday, scrolling and shopping on their phones or tablets during their downtime, and starting to think about their New Year’s resolutions.

When Lesley Metcalfe, owner of Fox & Phoenix Vintage, set up her booth at a December edition of Toronto Vintage Pop-Up Markets, she made sure to pack more items in categories that were a sure bet at that time of year.

“Despite COVID, it was still the season of entertaining. I knew if people were having a small gathering of 10 or less that entertaining would still be a potential factor at that time of the year,” she says. “So I sold a lot of decanter and glassware sets for the bar.”

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Etsy’s report suggests incorporating seasonal trends in listings, from item descriptions to titles and tags — which is also sound advice for other selling platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

Some of the keywords on Etsy that got extra play in June 2021 over the previous month were for seasonal items that would help shoppers with outdoor entertaining. Search terms such as “glassware” and “serving tray” were up 670 per cent and 913 per cent, respectively.

You can also find trending topics related to the period of the year or day of the week, and use them as hashtags in your listings. Temporarily changing your shop’s cover photo, or adding a seasonal element to your profile picture, are other ways you can capitalize on the season.

Application tip

Note days or periods of the year where you might be able to drop collections related to seasons or holidays. Set workback reminders leading up to each collection to remind you to prep your listings and marketing visuals, or to fill in any remaining holes in your inventory.

3. Target your ads.

Now that you know some of the products, colours and seasons that might get more attention online throughout the year, you can decide what posts to boost or listings to sponsor, and when.  

For example, if you plan to do paid social on one of your product listings, you could choose an item that people might really want during the period you plan to pay for the ad.

And if it’s a piece of content you’ve created that you want to turn into a sponsored post, think about what might be most useful to your potential customers and when.

Maybe the Instagram Reel you posted at the end of last summer that highlighted all of the outdoor markets you went to would be a great way to kick off summer 2022 as a boosted post, so your customers know you’ll be back out there again this year.

The purpose of advertising is to show your product to more people, and to strengthen brand recall.

So consider who you want to see your ad. On Etsy, you can set the location for ads to include only countries you ship to, and then the platform’s algorithm will show the listings to people whose search inputs indicate that they might be interested in your product.

On Facebook and Instagram, you can use the Ads Manager to create highly targeted audiences based on parameters such as purchasing behaviour, interests, location or life events.

Or the audiences can draw upon your existing customer base or on people who have engaged with your brand. If you have noticed a trend among your customers and want to show your ad to more people like them, you can identify that when you build your target audience.

Application tip

Define who you want as your target based on the observations you have collected about your customers, and on what’s taking place in the larger marketplace.

Notice when your followers or customers engage with your brand. What are they saying? What products elicit the most engagement? Then serve up a related ad and see where it goes.

4. Set up shop where your customers are.

Instagram’s Trend Report shows that 25 per cent of its survey respondents will shop directly through Instagram’s in-app platform in 2022. And nearly half of the young people surveyed who are interested in new shopping experiences use Instagram to regularly shop.

Nearly one in four of those respondents say they plan to shop through online thrifting platforms including Depop and Poshmark in 2022. And about 24 per cent said they plan to sell their own goods through social media or an online shop this year.

Instagram and Etsy are two of the most common places to sell online, but there are many others (see our post Where to Buy & Sell Vintage Online for more ideas). Ask your customers where they live when they’re online and make sure you are selling and marketing in those places.

You may find that many of your current clients shop on Instagram but they also are big users on Etsy, and you don’t run a store there yet.

This might tell you it’s time to cross-list (just have a system in place for the possibility of two orders coming through for the same thing at the same time), or to open an Etsy shop that offers different inventory selections.

Conversely, if you make most of your sales in-person at markets and don’t move much product online, you might consider opening a booth at an antiques mall or communal space focused on small business vendors in your local area.

Application tip

Take stock of your selling platform(s) at least once or twice a year. What works, and what doesn’t? What do your current customers like about your shop?

Use these insights to expand your selling territory into new markets.

5. Become your own trends expert.

What the world wants and what your customers want might be two very different things.

So when planning your sales and marketing for the year, your first point of contact is your customers themselves. No one else has the knowledge and user experience of your brand like they do.

Talk to them at events, chat with them online, post surveys on your Instagram stories, add a field to your online checkout form — do whatever works for you to get the feedback you need.

You should know your ideal customer inside and out, and always think about them first before factoring in any advertising metrics or traffic stats.

Application tip

Keep track of everything! You’ve curated your inventory — now look at what sells, when it sells and how it sells. Then do it again. Source, sell, track, repeat.

For more ways to grow your resale brand, check out our post 15 Growth Hacks for Your Vintage-Selling Business.

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