Charity Retail Systems for Regional Charities
In recent years retail has become increasingly important for regional charities, such as hospices, as a fundraising channel. They require a charity retail system that will help them optimise their revenues and open up new sales channels to them.
Regional charities, typically hospices, often have a large number of stores in the geographical area their hospice serves. Although the area may just be county wide the shops often serve many different and diverse communities. It is for this reason that regional charities need to understand what products sells well in which shops so they can ensure the right categories are sent to the right locations.
To be able to do this they require a charity retail system that can provide accurate and up to the minute data about: stock (on both bought in and donated goods), sales and donations across their retail estate. The Cybertill charity retail system is cloud based, this means charities can check all this in real time across all their stores in real time.
Cloud Based Charity EPoS
As Cybertill’s charity EPoS system is cloud based this means Cybertill host the software online, and charity shops and head office simply use it by going online. So software upgrades and data back-ups are managed by Cybertill and there is no need to invest in a central server.
This is something that appealed to Hospice in the Weald, as Retail Co-ordinator Chris Sharp, explains. “We wanted a cloud-based system, so we did not have to manage a central server.” This also enables Hospices existing IT infrastructures to focus on managing their day to day operations of running the hospice.
Dynamic Retail Operations
It is not unusual for hospices to have over 20 shops in their retail estate. So aggregating and understanding every store’s performance is critical. Our charity retail system comes with a wide array of reports, which can be run in real time, so hospices can make informed decisions about their estate and specific shops. It is this availability of up to the minute reporting that has helped Dove House Hospice change their approach to charity retail, as Marisa Haines, Retail Division Manager, comments.
"Through the reports generated in Cybertill we are now removing departments from shops, as each shop now caters for their customers’ needs. So we are looking at sales in a mainstream retail way. We used to churn out the charity shops, in that 40% of the shop floor was ladieswear, 20% menswear and so on. There are some shops that do really well with childrenswear and nursery goods and others it just doesn’t sell whatever price you put it at, so we remove that department. So now we are looking at maximising the sales per foot in each shop, whereas before we did not have the information.”
Multi-Channel Charity Retail
With so many stores regional charities can get some rare and unusual items donated. For these rarer items selling through your stores is not necessarily how you will get the best price for them. Selling online however opens whole new opportunities to you. Here you can reach more people who have special interests in rare items and are prepared to pay more for such things. With Cybertill charities are able to integrate ecommerce with their EPoS system. This means charity shops can add those rare items to the website, or depending on a charity’s processes they can ship it to head office for them to upload online.
How can you boost income?
Many of those who support a hospice do so because that particular Hospice has cared for one of their family or friends. And over time members of the family may move out of the area, but they are still keen to support the hospice. This is where catalogue sales can help boost income further.
St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House Hospices in Sussex use the mail order module to manage the distribution and sales from their Christmas Card Brochure:
We also run a big mail order business from our distribution centre. We send out 30,000 of our Christmas card brochures every year. This is managed in Cybertill as we can monitor what was being ordered as well as stock levels in stores and at the distribution centre. Now we know at any time what stock levels we have and what we have available, and we use historical data to predict sales.
Colin Wakefield, Head of Retail, St Barnabas House
Easy to Use Gift Aid Software
Arguably the main incentive for charity retailers is Gift Aid. For many hospices this can mean an additional several hundred thousands of pounds per year. Hospices need to ensure their gift aid software and processes are simple and straight forward to maximise these important revenues.
There is also the added burden of training thousands of volunteers on how to use the gift aid software. Cybertill’s Single Scan Gift Aid (formerly called Advanced Gift Aid) is the simplest and most efficient gift aid software available. Marisa Haines, of Dove House Hospice explains how it has helped them in-store.
“Advanced Gift Aid enables you to speed up the process at the till, as all stock has a barcode attached. It means we never miss a gift aid sale, or have a price go through incorrectly, and nobody can change prices on the tickets. It also has a knock on effect to other best practices. And from the volunteers point of view they absolutely love this, it's so simple for them. Now, it’s like playing shops, they are in Tesco’s and zapping everything and they love it.”
Marisa Haines, Dove House Hospice