Hospice retail is evolving and has changed more in the last 5 years than in the previous 25.
One thing that has triggered this evolution is the rapid growth of technology within the sector which shows no sign of slowing down. According to CharityStore Director Rob Finley:
“In the past five years, we have seen a true transitional shift in the sector. We’ve certainly seen a huge upturn in the amount of charities and hospices coming to us with questions about how to go digital and retail in a more diverse way to meet the demand of a new kind of consumer.”
Over 8 years ago, St Elizabeth’s Hospice were still using simple cash registers across its 10 shops in East Suffolk and South Norfolk, unable to track or store the most basic financial or customer information. In a bid to keep up with new and growing customer demands, the hospice looked to CharityStore to improve functionality and are now leading the way for keeping up with these demands.
Increasing revenue, loyalty and efficiencies was high on the list of priorities for St Elizabeth’s Hospice, they needed to improve functionality both for their more demanding and digitally-savvy consumer, but ultimately to help maximise revenue.
Lois Peart, Retail Support Manager at St Elizabeth Hospice, said: “For us, CharityStore is a business-critical tool. It’s transformed the influence of the technology on retail operations and on business growth.”
With critical issues such as security and unreliable, intermittent broadband connections in certain locations, St Elizabeth’s Hospice instantly saw the benefits of a Cloud EPoS, being able to capture and store data even when they were offline.
“It’s virtually impossible to commit fraud with a CharityStore system,” says Lois. “There are lots of elements in it that make it very safe.”
Implementing CharityStore’s head office system across the Hospice’s existing 27 retail stores has bolstered their knowledge, allowing them to make informed and data driven decisions to get the best out of the system.
“We can now run quarterly reports to evaluate the financial health of each shop looking at how well each line of goods is doing and modifying merchandising space, stock, pricing and promotions based on that information to ensure costly shelf space is utilised effectively.
“It is straightforward too to compare shops and use the outcomes to improve business across the board; for example, learning useful lessons from those shops with particularly high donation rates.”
Implementing the CharityStore Gift Aid supporter card has made the most out of intelligent customer data and has proven to be a success when it comes to increasing loyalty and return custom.
“Offering CharityStore Gift Aid supporter card has encouraged people to donate goods and reclaiming tax has made for a very positive revenue uplift.
“The card combines with our loyalty scheme which has also encouraged more donations and more repeat custom. When the shopper’s card is scanned at the till, points are allocated for the purchase. The credit accumulated on the card can then be offset against future purchases. It has been really effective.”
Setting their sights at how the future of Hospice retail is evolving, St Elizabeth’s have pushed forward to expand into more diverse ways, such as the Lottery module and more online selling. With automated software updates and data back-ups, the Cloud based EPoS technology continues to evolve. It is an exciting time for the next stage in St Elizabeth's 28-year journey in the charity retail sector.
“Our business has been transformed by the introduction of CharityStore technology. The whole system is streamlined and efficient, taking the management of our shops to a whole new level of sophistication.
“There are many areas of the system we haven’t yet utilised and we think the future will be exciting with CharityStore. As for our return on investment, the processing of Gift Aid-ed goods alone has paid for the system.”