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In the first half of 2021, we saw a net decline of over 5,000 shops across the UK as all retailers felt the impacts of pandemic restrictions – charity shops included. But while this might not be as bad as 2020, the next year or so will continue to be touch and go for many retailers.

So, with the added pressure of such important causes relying on your donations and revenue, how can your charity get back in its best shape in this retail landscape? Let’s look at three common retail challenges that could be slowing your charity down.

Till errors

Charities of all sizes rely on their dedicated volunteers. But since this is an unpaid role, it’s not unusual to have a higher staff turnover than you might like. So you’ll have volunteers coming and going, all of whom need training with your EPoS system. This can lead to some mistakes as they get to grips. Now, a single cash discrepancy isn’t going to spell disaster for your charity, but every little bit of lost revenue will add up.

To make up for this, you want an EPoS system that’s quick and easy to pick up and use. A reliable, straightforward interface will mean fewer mistakes and more money going to your cause.

Unstable overheads

The world of charity retail is never going to be as predictable as we’d like it to be. While, fingers crossed, we won’t see disruption like we’ve seen over the last two years, it’s unrealistic to assume the landscape will be smooth sailing from here on out. Meaning you’ll need to continue to be cautious with your finances.

Nothing adds pressure quite like the fear that something could break and you’d be left to foot the bill at any given moment. Charities are only just beginning to find their feet, meaning a broken till or two could add unnecessary strain and pressure.

Instead of having this fear looming over your head, a subscription-based EPoS model means you can cut any sudden costs. You keep paying the same monthly fee, confident everything will be quickly fixed when it needs it. 

Convoluted processes

One of the most valuable assets your charity has is your staff and volunteers’ time. But how much of this is getting tied up in convoluted processes?

Whether it’s spent processing Gift Aid submissions that could be completed automatically, or having to wait until end of day to see daily reports, how much time and effort are you wasting on tasks that could be streamlined and simplified? How much extra revenue could you capture if hosting a raffle or enabling sale round-ups became effortless for your volunteers? How much more stable would your finances be if online sales were easily integrated into your stores?

These are just a few examples of where outdated processes might be slowing you down. And ways that technology and innovative tools could begin to impact your operations and revenue for the better.

The retail industry hasn’t had it easy over the past few years. But, with your valuable cause to think about, now is the time to look at ways to build back better and stronger than ever before. The right technology and tools will help you increase productivity, boost revenue, and streamline operations long into the future.

Are you ready for an EPoS solution that helps your charity lead from the front and stop playing catch up? Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised CHARiotWeb helps streamline your daily operations, reducing till errors with a straightforward interface, and boosting visualisation with real-time reporting. Available in one easy monthly package, it means you don’t have to break the bank. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

74% of people will make a purchase based on the customer experience alone. And 91% won’t hesitate to leave. As harsh as it might sound, it’s the psychology of how people shop. And no matter your cause, it will play a part in how people interact with your charity shops. So it’s clear that creating a fantastic customer experience is essential. 

But it can seem daunting. Where do you begin? Especially if you run smaller or fewer shops with less staff. It doesn’t have to be so difficult; just take it one step at a time. We’ve put together four simple tips that can help you create an unmatched customer experience in your charity shops.

1. Who are your customers/donors and what do they want?

This one might seem too obvious, but it’s worth diving into who shops with and donates to you. You may believe it’s one group – like over 50s – but you might actually be popular with a younger crowd looking for a vintage find.

Feedback forms and surveys are great for getting into the mind of your customers. You not only find out who they are and what they want, but what makes them shop with you and what’s important to them socially and ethically. This can help you move in the right direction. For example, if a large number are looking for 80s-style clothing, you can use this to decide what donations you need more of.

2. Create an enjoyable online experience

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that we have to be prepared. So some charities put a lot of effort into their online offering. If you haven’t gone down this path, now might be the time to consider it.

If you already have, is it an enjoyable experience? Is it easy to find items and buy them? There are ways to integrate your online store to your website cleanly, so make that a priority. In the back end, it can even sync up with your stock levels, making life easier for you. You can also think about chatbots to answer any questions your customers might have. Also worth mentioning is social media – don’t neglect it! Use the information from the first tip to figure out who your audience is and what social media they use most.

3. Make your customers a part of your shop’s success 

Your customers are supporting a great cause by shopping with you. It feels good to help those in need, and this could be just what your customers need to have an even better shopping experience. How can you bring your story into the shop? Can you show customers just how much they’re helping?

You can also reward customers with loyalty cards and discounts after spending over a certain amount. 77% of the UK are part of a loyalty scheme after all. And who can say no to a discount? 

4. Convenience is the word

You might be a charity, but your retail experience is no different than any other shop. It needs to be as convenient to your customers as possible. So look where you might be slowing them down. Are queues a big issue? Then look for an EPoS that lets you take the till to them.

Even better if you can take it out on the go. Meet your customers where they’re at, be it on the streets, in local communities, or at car boot sales. Also, make sure your staff and volunteers are well-trained with the technology you use. The more familiar they are with it, the quicker they can be.

This can also follow the customer home. How nice would it be to receive an email that thanked them for their donations or patronage? It’s the little details that make the difference.

Improving the customer experience doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking. By making small adjustments, your shop can reach its full potential and keep your customers and donors loyal. And much of that can be solved by changing one factor: your EPoS system.

Looking for an EPoS that will transform your shop? Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised system CHARiotWeb allows you to streamline your day-to-day, stay on your customers’ minds, and create a sublime shopping experience. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

The charity retail sector today is vastly different to what it was B.C. (Before COVID). We’ve all realised just how quickly the world as we know it can change, and how vulnerable charities in particular are to these massive shifts.

The charity sector has declined at a compound annual rate of 2.7% over the five years through 2021-22, dropping to £49.4 billion. And even as gradual recovery and progress is made, we’re still a long way off from pre-pandemic momentum. In November 2020, 69% of charities predicted it would take more than twelve months to reach pre-crisis income levels. And 29% thought it could take over two years to do so. And that’s even before we entered the early 2021 extended lockdown.

As the industry continues to evolve, it’s important that charities are open and able to change alongside. Otherwise, they run the risk of being left behind. Which is why we’ve developed CHARiotWeb. We think there should be a solution that better serves the charity retail sector and helps you keep up with emerging trends and industry changes. So how can it help you start 2022 right?

Flexible payment options

One of the biggest impacts of COVID on the charity sector was financial. Shops shut down, large-scale fundraising events were cancelled or postponed, and income and donations became few and far between. It’s understandable why organisations never want to be in this touch-and-go situation ever again.

Hence why we want CHARiotWeb to add greater flexibility and reduced financial burden to your charity. Available as CAPEX or a monthly subscription model, charities can spend the money if they’ve got it, or spread the cost if they don’t. This gives extra peace of mind that you’re always covered and won’t have any surprise extra fees.

Having your software, hardware, operational support, and cyber security in an all-inclusive package gives you one less worry when you’re trying to grow your charity in the post-pandemic landscape.

A customisable, growable solution

Much like the charity sector as a whole has evolved, your individual charity will have grown in countless ways in response to challenging times. You might be diversifying your revenue streams, looking at alternative ways to bring in the necessary income. If so, you need to consider whether your existing systems will be able to support this growth.

With CHARiotWeb, when a charity chooses to expand into new areas, any new functionality is covered under their existing arrangement. Meaning no extra fees for new features or implementation costs. It’s never been easier to trial new activities or income streams. We empower you to introduce new modules as you grow and evolve to constantly tailor your system towards the individual needs of your shops.

Forward-thinking support

While we’re all hoping for some more stability, change is always going to be around the corner. Even though it might not be as sudden or extreme as a global pandemic, the sector will keep reinventing itself. And you want the kind of support that will help you keep your finger on the pulse, ready for whatever is thrown your way.

Our dedicated development team ensures the CHARiotWeb software continues to meet changing market conditions. Regularly introducing new features and software updates, you benefit from peace of mind that you’re growing alongside the wider industry, not against it. And that you can grow in an affordable, resilient way that doesn’t increase your risk or outgoings.

It’s time we stop viewing COVID recovery as returning to a previous moment in time. Instead, let’s view this as a wonderful opportunity to reimagine what charity retail could and should look like. Is it time for a shake-up in your charity?

We understand the immense pressure charities are under to build back momentum post-COVID. And this formed the backbone of our approach to building CHARiotWeb, a cloud-based EPoS system that’s feature-rich and fully flexible. If you’d like more information, or would like to book a demo, 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.