Customer Success Stories
About Home Basics
Home Basics was established, in 1999, to provide furniture, white goods and other household items to those most in need in the Scottish Borders. As demand has grown so has their operations, they now have two premises; one is a store with attached warehouse in Walkerburn and a second store in Hawick. Their aim is to help people with a limited budget create a comfortable home environment by providing access to items donated by generous people throughout the Borders Area.
“It has helped us make our pricing consistent and give us live stock levels across both stores. There are so many benefits to Cybertill from processing and claiming gift aid, the reporting and visibility it gives you of the charity and much more.”
Explains volunteer Iain Weir
Home Basics had a manual system in place before deploying Cybertill. The old system was incredibly labour intensive, it also limited how they managed their operations, for example prior to Cybertill they had not claimed gift aid on donated goods. “Cybertill has helped us in so many ways,” explains volunteer Iain Weir. “It has helped us make our pricing consistent and give us live stock levels across both stores. There are so many benefits to Cybertill from processing and claiming gift aid, the reporting and visibility it gives you of the charity and much more.”
Cybertill has helped Home Basics raise awareness of which are their best-selling lines as Iain explains. “Before Cybertill, we never thought we sold many dining tables, but they were actually one of our biggest sellers. They come in and go out pretty quick, which is why we thought we never sold any, as the stock level always seemed to be the same. Cybertill has also helped us with the smaller items, pots and pans, bed linen, kitchen accessories things like that. It lets us see sets of things and what we have because sometimes the homeless section at the council may phone and say they are doing up some local flats and need 20 cups, instead of running around and counting what we have, we can use the system, it’s much faster. And with things like the invoicing and grants to customers, the council always want a breakdown of the items bought. With Cybertill you can print of a copy of the invoice and attach it to the receipt which makes it so easy, and saving us a huge amount of time in administration.”
There were several reasons why Home Basics went with Cybertill. “Being cloud based was hugely appealing as was the functionality, especially the automation and the single scan barcode for gift aid,” explains Iain. The cloud element was critical for several reasons. Firstly, it allowed management to access Cybertill from any location and it also enables live stock levels and data throughout the charity. “Real time data was really important. For example those customers who get grants could visit one store in the morning and use their grant and then later the same day visit the second depot and try to redeem their grant again. Before each depot would have to call the other store, this cuts down on time and makes everything more secure.”
Live stock levels also enable the two branches to find out more detail about available products, as Iain comments. “People come in saying exactly what they would like. For example, they want a red sofa. So in Cybertill the volunteer can very quickly check stock of both stores as well as reserve items.”
Home Basics are always using the reporting tools in Cybertill to evaluate every aspect of the charity. “We can see so many elements about the how the charity is performing. We can look at detailed reports about staff, stock, promotions and deliveries, the information is just there. It’s put it all into one neat wee system for us.”
An Inclusive System
Like many charities Home Basics actively promotes an inclusive policy for volunteers. For example there are some volunteers who can’t read and write. Before Cybertill they could not help with sales, as they were unable to write receipts. “Now they can process sales easily and see what the exact change is, without having to worry about reading and writing,” states Iain. “It’s provided that bit more confidence in the staff to take part in activities and also helps them to get back into work with experience of using an EPoS system.”
Volunteers were an important stakeholder when choosing a system and there were some reservations from volunteers. “There was some concern about how they (the volunteers) would cope, but now they are laughing at how worried they were. They are now having to do less and making more money. Nobody believed it would be this easy. Volunteers who work a few hours a week have picked it up instantly, which kind of speaks for itself.”
Gift Aid System
Cybertill’s unique single scan bar code solution (formerly called Advanced Gift Aid) contains a product’s price, category, donor ID and date it was donated. This makes managing and processing gift aid straight forward, all the volunteer has to do is scan a product’s barcode.
“One of the benefits of Cybertill is advanced gift aid,” comments Iain. “Products have one barcode, for the volunteers it’s great, they simply scan the product. Cybertill then manages and processes the gift aid.” In their first year of claiming gift aid Home Basics will claim around £10,000. For a charity with a turnover of less than £100,000 it is a substantial benefit. “We wanted a simple system to use, as we would be getting 25% (gift aid) for doing very little, if, and that’s the key ‘if’ people signed up to it. And with the simplicity of Cybertill people do.” And Home Basics has some very impressive figures for gift aided sales. “In the first quarter of using Cybertill 37% of our sales were Gift Aided. This is now 49% and growing.”
High Street Retail
The Cybertill system gives Home Basics the tools to manage their retail estate as any high street retailer would. They have developed a mailing list and loyalty card scheme so now personalise communications. “We can now see what people are buying, and find out more about them such as if they are a landlord, or a social landlord and what their buying patterns are. Also Cybertill gives us visibility of the business. Occasionally we’ll do a footfall count, Cybertill then converts the footfall numbers into sales figures. This helps us identify what marketing campaigns have worked recently. There’s a lot more Cybertill can do and it gives us so many more options.”
Home Basics has achieved some phenomenal results in a short period of time using Cybertill. An illustration of this is the Home Basics van, that is used for deliveries and collections. It used to be on the road 4 days a week, but now through demand it is on the road five days a week. The work Home Basics is doing is making a real difference in the Scottish Borders and Cybertill is central to this.