Selling vinyl is just like selling clothing…..

The principles behind selling vinyl are much like selling clothing because if you haven’t assessed the condition and brand/type correctly it practically offends your customer. Getting the pricing of vinyl right is imperative just like pricing different brands of clothing. For example that Primark dress that has been donated in perfect condition still needs to be priced cheaply in comparison to the detailed Karen Millen dress that has a few sequins missing.There is just still so much more value left the Millen dress and just like a vinyl record its important to declare its imperfections on the pricing ticket which the customer will respect.

With Record store day just around the corner on April 18th , celebrating independent record stores all around the country, its a good time to think about the vinyl offering in Charity shops. Vinyl is forever been considered to be making a comeback, but in the charity shops it has never gone away. In this department charity shops have a unique position on the high street , purely because in many towns there isn’t an independent record shop.

The standard of the charity shop offer on records varies considerably and there is still often the site of a box on the floor featuring a selection of naff, unchecked, block priced records. It makes for quite a sad site and doesn’t do the image of record buying in charity shops any favours. The positive outcome of this if all the charity shops down your high street are doing like this, is that you have the chance of cornering the market and making your shop a destination for vinyl shoppers. To make a department a success you don’t need to have heaps of 1st pressing Beatles records in perfect condition, just like how you don’t need to have a shop of designer clothing to be a successful clothing store. There is money to be made in following a series of basics and getting the offer right for your market.

The key basic in selling vinyl is to make sure you check the condition of the vinyl and get the price right. Doing these two things before you start focusing on anything else will start building confidence in your offer from your customers. Getting the price right of your ‘Primark records’ from your ‘Prada records’ is key to gaining respect in the vinyl field, if the cheap stuff is the right price then your more likely to achieve selling your higher priced records. Merchandising wise selling and displaying vinyl well can really add to the look of a shop and some great displays can be created using records.

Clic Sargent Bristol

Key Tips:

  • Pricing – There are a few things for consideration when pricing records.Firstly paying attention to current trends and if certain retro artists are doing the rounds on the festival scene they could be worth featuring and have a bit more value to them. Secondly if your just starting out with vinyl the internet can be an excellent but dangerous place for pricing. Using eBay can be great if its used in the right way, it lets you know if the market is saturated with copies of the same record making it less valuable and if you look at the completed listings that can help you sort your better records from the basic ones.  There are lots of vinyl selling sites to such as that can help inform your decision. Condition is paramount to these things so always remember that when your looking at guidance on the internet.
  • Window displays – Show off what your selling to your target customers, could also not just be for selling but for letting people know you want donations of vinyl. Depending on your window, its important to remember that the sun can damage vinyl and anything of value would not be worth risking damaging.
  • Display area in the shop – Think about where you would want the department to be in your shop, vinyl can sit quite well next to products like books or men’s clothing.
  • Having a vinyl player in store, giving the opportunity to play some vinyl in store or letting a customer give something a listen to help encourage them to make a purchase.
  • Refund policy – Worth displaying even if your shop doesn’t do refunds, so the customer knows where they stand.
  • Online selling – Getting quite niche donations that have a value to them, could be worth setting up an ebay account.
  • Volunteers – Advertising for a vinyl volunteer could bring in people who might not have volunteered for you before and if they are a vinyl lover they would have a good base knowledge that would be very valuable.
  • Sourcing donations – Letting your donors know that you want vinyl, could be done with flyers, posters, window displays..
  • Request list for customers to let you know what they are looking for.
  • Stock swapping – with another branch if you find for example that they sell classical music really well and you don’t.
Oxfam Books and Music Jesmond
Oxfam Books and Music Jesmond – This is a specialist shop but its great inspiration for a general store to think about creating a music/vinyl area.
BHF - Not the most exciting merchandising in the world but they certainly make their point about wanting stock.
BHF – Not the most exciting merchandising in the world but they certainly make their point about wanting stock.



Sue Ryder Goose gate – I spy Cliff and Bing so not high value but displayed so creatively it makes them look an attractive purchase.

Ribbet collage


3 thoughts on “Selling vinyl is just like selling clothing…..

  1. I hate how Sue Ryder hang their vinyl like that, it’ll damage the sleeve which is especially bad if it’s a valuable record…


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