As the hospice retail sector changes and adapts to customers’ needs alongside the wider retail market, we’ve listed our top five simple steps that hospice retailers can take to boost revenue.
1. Don’t miss out on gift aid sales
The first step to increasing revenue for your hospice shop(s) has to be claiming gift aid on donated goods. If you’re not signing up your supporters for gift aid when they donate items, you’re missing out on 25% on top of each of those sales.
Many hospices are reluctant to do this or are struggling to do it accurately because of daunting administration work and relying on staff in store, often volunteers, to follow a process for gift aid sales.
This may mean volunteers having to first decide whether it’s a gift aid item, record it by writing it on a piece of paper, scanning a barcode or peeling off a label, then enter the price (correctly) and select the right category. Sounds complicated right?
There is a much simpler and easier way - a single barcode to record the gift aid donor, the price and category all at once, a technique used in our Advanced Gift Aid module. This automatically makes gift aid capture much more accurate, with no room for human error, and empowers volunteers to sign more supporters up knowing that it’s no longer a complicated process.
With a true picture of what each of your stores in taking in gift aid, you can increase this even more by setting and tracking targets for each store, making it a fun competition between them to claim the most gift aid or sign up the most supporters for the week, month etc.
2. Ensure supporters feel valued
Supporters are what keep hospice shops going through their donations of unwanted goods and purchasing others in store. It’s important that they feel valued and want to keep coming back to you. There are many ways to do this, from offering a loyalty scheme for points, rewards or discounts, running loyalty events or simply keeping in touch with your supporter database on a regular basis. Send out news, exclusive offers and even case studies about exactly what their money/donations go towards to show your appreciation for their loyalty.
3. Be social media savvy
Social media is a great way to keep in contact with your supporters and promote your various shops. Just like high street stores, charities can hold flash sales or promotion to drive visitors and social media is one of the best ways to spread the word about these instantly to boost footfall and sales. Use regional hashtags to promote different stores.
Get smarter with how you use social media by monitoring your sales up to the minute, see what’s doing well or what isn’t and act accordingly. For instance, if a store is struggling on any given day, you can instantly promote a flash sale on social media to try and boost sales. Encourage supporters in store to follow you on social media, so the two channels work together.
4. Make the most of online retail
Just like high street retailers, hospices can benefit from the increasing popularity of selling online, whether that’s through their own ecommerce website or an eBay store. Shoppers’ habits, even hospice supporters, are changing and they’re demanding more convenient ways to purchase from their favourite retailers.
However, some hospices may not have taken that next step into multi-channel retail for a number of reasons:
- Difficulty of managing inventory across multiple channels, especially donated item
- Reluctance to miss out on gift aid by selling online
- Staff and volunteers may not be confident enough or feel they have the right skill set for selling online
With the number of rare and valuable items that hospice retailers get in, selling on eBay or an ecommerce site can help you get the best possible price by extending your reach to a new market. With a unified charity retail system, including a single product database, selling via these multiple channels can become simple and result in a substantial increase in revenue from those items.
5. Pop up shops
Our final tip is to make sure you also have your retail hat on at any events your hospice manages or takes part in, from fairs to charitable runs, or even create your own pop up shop!
These can be a great place to sell both new and donated goods, generate additional revenue outside of your shops and can also help you test the waters for a new charity shop in a different area.
For more insights into charity and hospice retail, or if you have any tips of your own to share with others, make sure to follow us on Twitter @charity_store.