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Consumers are constantly looking for more and more convenient ways to shop. It’s predicted that by 2024, 88.4% of UK shoppers will be doing so online. And the pandemic only increased consumers’ need for online shopping. 

Physical stores and charities go hand in hand, so this sector in particular was hit particularly hard by the lockdown. So how did they adapt to these changes? And with lockdowns coming to an end soon (hopefully for good), is there still merit in adopting this kind of approach?

How the pandemic has impacted shopping habits

Due to the pandemic, online shopping saw its largest year-on-year growth since 2007, rising by 36.6%. And 46% of UK customers bought products they’d only previously purchased in-store. But while online shopping soared, footfall in charity shops decreased dramatically. 

With lockdown ending, you might think in-store sales will catch up to online, but that’s not necessarily the case. In-store sales will increase, but probably not to what they once were. A recent report suggests the pandemic accelerated shifts in consumer behaviour by five years. And it seems unlikely that we’d take a step backwards when consumers have been converted by the convenience of online shopping and click-and-collect services. 

How are charities adapting?

Many charities are now offering online alternatives to make up for lost footfall in brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, Seven out of ten large charities now sell their products online, and third-party sites are particularly popular in the charity sector. 

Charities such as Cancer Research, RSPCA, Comic Relief, and many more have taken to websites like eBay for a new way to sell their products. Though the issue with using third-party sites is that charities don’t always receive 100% of the profits. That’s why many, like Oxfam, have created their own Ecommerce sites to drive sales, either on their own or as a combination of both.

How OpenCart can help

OpenCart is one such Ecommerce choice that charities could use. But it can cause issues when it’s completely separate from your usual operations. What you want to be able to do is have your OpenCart site integrate seamlessly with your current setup.

With a simple click of a button on your website – such as a “shop now” button – customers would be directed to your OpenCart site. And unlike other third-party platforms, it would be customisable to match your charity’s branding. On the back-end, it should synchronise with your system, allowing you to track sales and manage stock.

That’s the ideal solution and makes OpenCart the obvious choice. We’ve seen how important this is for charities, which is why we’ve made sure integration with our CHARiot system is simple. You can do all of the above and compare your online and in-store sales at a glance, completely hassle-free.

Online shopping isn’t going anywhere, lockdown or not. There’s no better time to ensure your online platform meets the needs of today’s consumer. If you can create a quality online experience, you can keep bringing in the money you need to really make a difference.

If you are looking to make the most of your online offering, Charity Retail Systems can help. From setting up an OpenCart site to integrating it with your pre-existing system, we can ensure you’re in the perfect position to draw as much value from your donors as possible. To find out more, send us an email to sales@nisyst.co.uk and we will be happy to help.

When we think of charities and fundraising, we think of traditional methods, like encouraging donations with street volunteers and partaking in events such as bake sales and marathons. But times are changing. Young donors are twice as likely to give to charity via their smartphones than previous generations. 

With the UK still in lockdown and technology developing more each day, there’s been no better time for the charity sector to use tech for fundraising efforts. Here are three ways charities are using technology to boost their fundraising in 2021…

Mobile donations

Only 34% of payments are now made in cash. That’s a dramatic change from 2006, when cash made up 62% of all payments. The convenience of card payments and payment services like Apple Pay is changing the way we spend money. 

As such, Apple Pay donations have been very effective for some of the UK’s biggest charities, a feature that makes it easy for iPhone owners to make a simple one-off donation. Blue Cross found a creative way to use contactless payments with “pat and tap”. They sent out “in the field” dogs who wore coats that had card readers on them, encouraging contactless donations.

Apps like “Share the Meal”, which was released in 2015, are also great for offering donors a simple and quick way to support their favourite charities. The app, launched by the UN’s World Food Programme, was set up so one quick tap could donate 50p, enough to feed a child for a day. The app is still available and the total number of donated meals sits at around 13 million.

New tech 

Almost 29% of Brits own a smart speaker. That’s increased four-fold since 2017. Some of the biggest names in the charity world have already got involved with this technology, such as the NSPCC. Still in early testing, people can respond to ads on their smart speakers to make donations straight away. This is a simple, effective way to use tech for fundraising as popularity in smart speakers continues to rise.

You don’t have to look too far for new tech, either. Just take your point-of-sale system, for example. Some EPoS systems are designed specifically for the charity sector. These solutions include Gift Aid software that automates the entire donation process, boosting profits while reducing admin. The system helps staff, volunteers, and donors alike as the software helps with managing stock and simplifying the transaction process.


The popularity of online events has been growing steadily for some time, but it significantly surged during the pandemic. The charity sector saw this as the perfect time to get involved. Charities like Mind, the NSPCC, and NHS Charities Together partnered up with Glastonbury to create Glasthomebury, a streamed version of the festival that encouraged those at home to donate to the charities that help those most affected by lockdown. 

With the constant development of technology, fueled by the younger generation’s appetite for better tech, now is the perfect time for charities to embrace tech for fundraising. Technology could be a great way of tapping into younger markets, improving customer experience, and boosting revenue.

There’s no better way to bring your charity into the technological age than with Charity Retail Systems’ bespoke, HMRC-recognised EPoS solution. To take your charity to the next level, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

With lockdown restrictions leading to a decrease in cash flow, the coronavirus pandemic has been causing some very real concerns for the charity sector. But with the vaccine rolling out at an impressive rate, a post-lockdown country is on the horizon. So how can the charity sector get back on its feet as we shift back to normalcy?

The solution is right under your nose. Why not make your EPoS system work for you in new, innovative ways? They’re fast, efficient, improve customer service, and can eliminate tedious tasks like stock management. But with more systems out there than ever before, how do you know which to choose? Here are three qualities to look out for when choosing an EPoS system for your charity shop.

Ease of use

Everyone on your team will have their own unique skills and experience. So while they might be brilliant with customers, you can’t guarantee they’re as adept when it comes to technology. Your EPoS solution should be as user friendly as possible.

Since you might cycle through a large number of volunteers, you want your systems to be simple and straightforward – easy to pick up straight away. Some companies even offer training when setting up so you can be sure your staff and volunteers are confident getting started.

Gift Aid software

Gift Aid is a significant and essential stream of revenue for many charities. But it’s a complicated process that leads to many Gift Aid donations going unclaimed. That’s why some EPoS systems integrate it into the usual buying process. 

They streamline HMRC communications and audits. The problem with many EPoS systems is that they are designed for general retail or hospitality use. They don’t take charities into consideration and therefore won’t account for the extra admin associated with Gift Aid. An EPoS system designed with charities in mind will remove that unnecessary admin and maximise how much you claim.

Offline use

Unfortunately, some EPoS systems won’t work when the internet connection is unstable, slow, or just outright refusing to cooperate. These particular EPoS systems are entirely cloud-based and need an internet connection to work. Then there are hybrid EPoS systems which store data partially on the cloud and partially on the hard drive. 

Hybrids can continue to work when the internet goes down, but sometimes with reduced function. Check which of a potential EPoS system’s functions will work offline and whether this is complementary to the daily operations of your business. Certain systems won’t let you log back in, some systems will let you go as far as a payment. It’s important to know how much you can do with no internet connection when considering your options.

With most of the systems out there being created for use in retail, finding the right EPoS solution in the charity sector can be tricky. And with all the various bells and whistles of each, it might feel overwhelming trying to decide which is the best system for you. But always consider what you want in your charity EPoS system, because the right fit is out there for you.

Nisyst’s bespoke EPoS system, CHARiot, is designed specifically for charity retail. Our HMRC-recognised system is affordable, adaptable, and user friendly. For more information, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

Technology is constantly evolving. It’s always offering new solutions and more efficient, effective ways to tackle problems or take the strain off demanding workloads. For the charity sector, it can be a huge boon. Tech innovations are finding a home in charity shops and on charity websites in the form of artificial intelligence, apps, and much more.

Are you thinking about upgrading your charity technology? For some inspiration, here are just a few ways others in the charity sector are using technology to boost efficiency for staff, volunteers and customers alike…


Some charities, namely the larger ones like Age UK, have been using chatbots on their websites to “speak” to customers. Chatbots can sound a bit sci-fi. But this kind of technology is becoming more and more common as a simple solution to everyday problems. 

A bot can respond to your users instantly, reducing your response time down to seconds, improving customer service, and freeing up your staff for other tasks. Simply, it’s a way to boost efficiency. Chatbots also allow charities to provide customers with information and support outside of working hours. If needed, the chatbot can hand over to a real person, so it’s the best of both worlds.


The right EPoS system will make your daily operations run smoother, improve customer experience, and help reduce tedious or admin-heavy tasks. If they’re built specifically with the charity sector in mind, even better; you can get even more out of them. 

Some systems are designed to help with Gift Aid, making it quicker and easier for people to register, which can increase revenue by as much as 25%. Many points of sale systems also have a built-in CRM, which lets you capture the customer’s details for reasons other than Gift Aid, such as loyalty schemes.


Apps can be helpful to customers, providing them with important information and telling them how they can donate. But apps can also help staff. Some charities have been using apps to streamline operations, helping employees and volunteers with administrative tasks. 

A good example being Age UK with their app “Steps”. The app helps staff and volunteers have deeper, more human conversations with older people. It allows them to take notes and create sharable action plans. Steps helps to streamline processes that might otherwise take a lot of time. And most importantly, it’s able to do this without eliminating any of the human touch we’ve come to expect from charitable causes. 

Social media

Social media is everywhere. Whether it’s “I saw that on Facebook” or “ I heard from LinkedIn”, everyone seems to have their finger on the pulse with social media. And this should include the charity sector. With billions of active users, and one of the most cost-effective platforms for widespread communication, it’s no surprise that charities are taking to social channels to tell the world about what they do, how they do it, and how people can help.

Tech has a lot to ways to boost efficiency, both for staff and volunteers, as well as donors and customers. 75% of staff and volunteers in the charity sector believe changes in technology could affect their workplace and organisation in a positive way. If this stat and Age UK’s successful digital transformation is anything to go by, perhaps it’s time we saw even more tech in the charity retail space. 

With almost thirty years of experience, Nisyst provides a bespoke HMRC-recognised EPoS system. If you’d like more information, get in touch on 01204 706 000.

The Charity Retail Association has announced today that, following a competitive tender for the delivery of their Retail Gift Aid training courses, corporate member Nisyst has been appointed to deliver these in 2020.

Dave Chunilal, Technical Director said, “Nisyst is delighted to be selected as the Charity Retail Association’s Accredited Training Provider. As an organisation we have more than 27 years’ experience of developing EPoS systems for the retail and charity sector, as well as extensive experience of delivering training and support to charity retailers. Our close working relationship with HMRC ensures that our team are at the forefront of knowing what’s expected of charity retailers, and how systems can be set up to minimize the administrative burden and maximise the Retail Gift Aid revenues for charities.

“We’re very much looking forward to working with CRA members to improve and develop their understanding of how their retail systems can make a significant difference to both their productivity and efficiency as a business, as well as that all-important difference to their gift aid revenue claims, enabling charities to do even more good work.”

Robin Osterley, Charity Retail Association Chief Executive said, “We’re very much looking forward to working with Nisyst on our next round of Retail Gift Aid training. They are a very experienced supplier with good links to HMRC and we are confident that our members will continue to get a course that is both comprehensive and well informed.”

Further information about Nisyst can be found at www.charityretailsystems.co.uk

Details and dates for the CRA’s 2020 Retail Gift Aid training courses will be announced shortly.

Nisyst, the Bolton based multi-award-winning developer of charity retail ePoS software (electronic point of sale) CHARiot, has launched a series of new software modules designed to help charity retailers extend and grow their marketplace easily and while also making their internal processes easier and more resource efficient.

The two new modules open up charity retailers to eBay as a channel to market, and the second, a single scan barcode functionality, gives charity retailers additional peace of mind when processing HMRC’s Gift Aid reclaims. Gift Aid is worth an estimated to be worth over £48 million to the charity retail industry according to publisher Charity Finance in their latest annual Charity Shops Survey.

The new integrated eBay link has been developed in response to demands from charity retailers to help them more easily tap into the eBay online marketplace which has 23 million unique visitors in the UK and Ireland every month and is a growing channel for the industry. The new software solution, which is now available to all of Nisyst’s CHARiot software users, enables retailers to immediately reach eBay’s marketplace of 23 million users with minimal resource investment.

Dave Chunilal, Technical Director of Nisyst, explained:

“Nisyst prides itself on continually improving our CHARiot EPoS system and, thanks to an open and collaborative approach to working with our clients, their valuable input has led to these new developments. Managing retail via eBay can be a very time consuming and a resource intensive process, with head offices needing to keep manual records of Gift Aid and manually trace those records back to the respective shops where the donations were made. Our new integrated link automates all these processes for charities and enables them to sell on eBay at either shops or their head office. Unique barcodes allow gift aid to be fully auditable by HMRC, freeing up our customers to maximise the retail value of their stock donations, use their resources appropriately while also maintaining maximum control over any Gift Aid on donated goods.”

The second module, Single Scan Barcode, offers charity retail teams heightened levels of control and accuracy when pricing stock and processing gift aid, as well as stock management information on donated and non-donated sites. Charity gift aid claims are an important revenue stream for charity retailers and Nisyst’s technology has been designed, working in conjunction with HMRC.

Dave continued:

“The single scan barcode offers even tighter control on managing stock donations, with both modules making processes easier and more efficient for both shops and head offices. The other major benefit of the single scan barcode is the ease of use at the point of purchase, along with the speed of through-put which further enhances the customer experience. Nisyst is committed to delivering software solutions that makes the day to day working lives of volunteers and charities easier, while also delivering tight commercial control and efficiency to the charitable organisations and hospices so that they can use their limited resources as wisely as possible.”

Both new modules are now live on Nisyst’s CHARiot EPoS system.

For more information on CHARiot, visit www.charityretailsystems.co.uk

As discussed in one of our previous blogs Alternative Online Donation Platforms for Charities, the digital world is a huge part of our daily lives and is one of the main forms of communication. As digitization increases, companies are constantly growing due to developments in technology which allows them to produce more innovative concepts for the charity sector.

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Charities aim to reach as many people as possible, to provide aid and assistance. Young people all around the UK need help from charities, and Nominet Trust has brought this to their attention. Nominet Trust, the tech for good funder, has announced the launch of its Digital Reach Programme – a pioneering initiative developed to support the UKs efforts to increase digital skills amongst some of the UKs most disadvantaged young people.

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Myton Hospice, which provides a range of services for terminally ill patients and their loved ones, has upgraded its in-store electronic point of sale (EPoS) and gift aid systems with a solution from Nisyst, specialist charity solutions provider.

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Leading charity software solutions provider, Nisyst, has launched QBuster, an app for charity retailers aimed at reducing queues at till points, increasing in-store efficiencies and boosting revenue and gift aid. Read more