Goodwill Industries of the Valleys

Pricing Systems at Goodwill

Goodwill Industries of the Valleys receives thousands of items each day at its retail locations in Central, Southwest, and Southside Virginia. These donations fuel the retail stores that support the job seeker services provided by Goodwill in the local community.

Goodwill uses pricing guidelines to assist employees as they determine how to price an item. While employees use a computer system to create the pricing stickers, the system provides a range of 5-10 prices for an item category. The computer system does not designate among brands.

“Perhaps the biggest misperception related to pricing is that our employees look up each item prior to pricing,” said Cathrine Marston, project manager for Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. “This would take too much time, and it would stall the intake process for items. Our biggest priority is ensuring that items make it to the sales floor, so that we continue to have fresh stock for thrifters.”

Instead, Goodwill asks employees to only place items on the floor that are worth a minimum price. As an example, the baseline price for boots is $5.99, meaning a pair of boots should be worth at least $5.99 to move to the sales floor. “Worth can be subjective, which is why our employees participate in ongoing professional development to improve their skills,” said Marston. “Empowering our employees to make these decisions is an important part of our business model.”

At Goodwill, retail employees have the autonomy to make decisions that are best for their store, which is why no two Goodwill stores look the same. An employee working in the housewares department determines which items to stock from the storeroom, and the placements of those items on the shelves. Goodwill trusts employees to make these decisions, empowering them in their roles.

A common refrain heard from customers is that items from discount retailers are sold for more at Goodwill stores. “If an employee does not shop at the specific store, or isn’t familiar with the brand, they would be unaware of the retail price for the item,” said Marston. This is one reason why store managers strive to place employees in jobs that are good fits for their skills and interests.

“The final check on pricing is our customers,” said Marston. “When items are not moving off the shelves, we check to see if pricing is a factor.”

For more information on pricing and sales at stores in Goodwill Industries of the Valleys’ service area, visit

donation icon