Using Nostalgia to Sell Retro Products Online

Ah, the good old days – when video games came on cartridges.

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion that connects us to the pleasant parts of our past. A lot of things can trigger nostalgia, including visits from old friends, photo albums, and vintage merchandise. In fact, the pull of nostalgia is so strong, time-honored goodies are considered collectibles and must-haves in many circles.


This creates an opportunity to serve an audience of dedicated consumers who know what they want and are willing to pay for it.

Here are a few tips for using nostalgia to sell retro products online.

Offer Unique & Rare Items

In the past, the hunt for vintage curios took place at flea markets, garage sales, and antique stores — and they still do in some cases. However, the advent of ecommerce has changed the game. Retro fanatics can now peruse the web to find whatever bygone collectible they desire.

This reality creates new challenges and opportunities for ecommerce sellers. First, it increases the level of competition in the retro marketplace. Second, it provides e-sellers more access to vintage items through online auctions.

It really doesn’t matter what you sell, as long as it has an audience. Consumers interested in almost anything you can imagine, including classic video games, old toys and dolls, vinyl records, retro clothing, vintage jewelry, baseball cards, magazines, and so much more.

Tap into Keen Audiences

Not sure if your chosen product has an audience? It’s time to do some research. Scope out online communities related to your market. Examples include Reddit’s r/VintageFashion discussion board, YouTube’s retro video game reviews, or blogs discussing classic Levi jeans.

These groups are prime resources for determining what’s valuable and what isn’t. They are also great places to discover would-be customers. Consider posting your own materials to these sites to garner attraction for your retro ecommerce website.

Offer Your Expertise

Already know your product offerings front to back? Believe you have something valuable to say about your curios? Spread your wisdom to your audience.

Operating an ecommerce blog or online video series is a great way to inform your customer base and find new potential buyers. For instance, if you know Led Zeppelin’s In Through the Out Door album cover reveals it’s true colors only when wet, you will undoubtedly find an online audience who wants to see it in action. Heck, you might even find a few buyers willing to spend big bucks on an unspoiled copy of the album.

Match Your Design to Your Products

Another way to trigger shoppers’ sense of nostalgia (and desire to buy) is through web design. While you can certainly create a modern-looking website selling vintage goodies, it’s arguably better to match your site design to your product offerings. Sell classic arcade games? Experiment with black and green fonts and logos to really play on the styles of the time. Sell 80s toys and trinkets? Stylize your logo to look like an alphabet block or reminiscent of a Radio Flyer wagon.

Need to update your logo? Shopify offers tools to design a free logo online, as well as customizable web templates to match your brand identity.

Prioritize Safe Shipping Practices

Secure shipping is a must when sending old or delicate items through the mail. Since many of these products are out of circulation, they can never be replaced. It’s also a good idea to insure your merchandise to avoid expensive losses.

Nostalgia is a potent emotion. Use the above tips to run a successful ecommerce business selling retro goodies and curios.