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Something we can always count on in life is change. While planning for the future is a useful exercise to help shape your charity’s decision-making, strict plans are asking to be ruined. The charity sector is constantly changing. We’ve all seen what a sudden shift can look like and how it can affect us.

However, across many industries – including the charity sector – time and resources are still being wasted trying to avoid the inevitable. Trying to avoid the changes that are always lurking around the corner. That’s not the way, we think. Here are some simple ways your charity shop can better embrace the exciting world of change.

Technology

The simplest way to stay abreast of any massive industry shifts is to stay up to date with the technology. At this point, after a rough pandemic, we wouldn’t be surprised if the focus is on making any investment worth its value.

So how does that factor into your tech choices? Are you looking for the solutions that let you take advantage of as many sources of revenue as possible? For example, you might want something that works seamlessly with your online store (if you have one). Or it might allow you to secure as much Gift Aid revenue as possible by streamlining the sign-up process.

These kinds of features make all the difference. If it’s not about money, then it can be about productivity. What solutions will allow your team to pick up any new software with ease? Or allow your head office staff to access need-to-know info at any team, even on the go?

Diversified revenue

We just briefly mentioned it, but it’s worth a point all of its own: diversifying your revenue streams. There’s no knowing if we’ll ever see another lockdown. But if we do, are you prepared for it? What lessons did you learn from 2020? There’s value in exploring what other opportunities are out there.

Let’s look at The British Heart Foundation (BHF) as an example. During COVID, they decided to reform their online retail services. As a result, in 2020, they saw a 12% increase in eBay sales.  A more robust, online sales process means the charity bounced back quickly from its pandemic losses and is in a stronger position to embrace online markets in the future.

Not every charity has the size and reach of BHF, but what can you take from their situation? Do you have an online store people can use? If there was a lockdown, do you have a click-and-collect system to make sure people can still shop with you even if they can’t enter the store?

Diverse businesses are stronger businesses. The more you can spread your revenue across a number of independent streams, the more likely you are to bounce back from any unforeseen challenges or industry shifts.

Creating a one-, five-, or ten-year plan can be great for brainstorming innovative new ideas and opportunities. You do want to look to the future. But don’t forget about the short-term. Change is how the charity sector will continue to thrive and give back to all the incredible causes it supports.

Isn’t it time your charity embraces it?

Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised CHARiotWeb empowers your charity to always stay one step ahead of the curve. With innovative functionalities to add as you grow, including online sales, and harnessing the power of technology to streamline your day-to-day operation, we’re here to help you. 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.

It’s no secret that the pandemic had a serious impact on the world. But the charity sector, in particular, suffered some huge blows. And to make matters worse, the demand for their services skyrocketed. To get back on track, it’s crucial that charities stay productive and continue to generate funds for their cause.

But the sector lost thousands of volunteers and income from trading is expected to drop more than 17%. The sector is struggling, but tech could just be what the sector needs to get back on its feet. One such example is the cloud. But what could it do for your charity?

Increased security

As you’ll have sensitive data such as personal information about staff, customers, and donors, ensuring it’s secure is essential. With cloud-based solutions, your charity benefits from an additional layer of physical security as it’s stored on robust, well-protected servers. Depending on the provider, they would have much more money to invest in security – something you might not be capable of with your own servers.

Many of us are also guilty of putting off updating our tech. But this can, unfortunately, leave our devices vulnerable to cyber criminals. A cloud system is more likely to update automatically, keeping you as safe as possible. This also saves you from having to wait for the help of a technician to update systems manually, which could result in significant downtime in your shops. 

Boost funds

One of the key benefits of the cloud is portability. With it, your staff are no longer confined to your brick-and-mortar stores. They can access important systems while attending events, pop-up shops, and more where they can continue to raise funds for your charity in new ways.

The cloud makes donating easier too. Your staff can go directly to donors’ houses to pick up donated items and attend events such as car boot sales where attendees can give to your cause. As the cloud is portable, staff can then sign up donors for Gift Aid to make the most out of their donation. 

Improve your shop’s performance

With the cloud, many charities can benefit from improved performance in their shops. The head office team can monitor their store’s performance – checking sales, stock, and more – wherever they are. Reporting features are crucial to driving improvement and can help take a shop from strength to strength. So having access to this at all times makes it more convenient and means you can make important decisions whenever.

The cloud can also improve the customer experience by decreasing queue time. A sudden rush of customers is commonplace in retail. But it can be stressful for both staff and customers. Let’s say a customer is signing up for Gift Aid. Usually, this would hold up the queue. But with a portable system, your staff can move elsewhere, freeing up a till, allowing the queue to keep moving.

From increasing security to helping your staff raise more funds for your cause, it’s clear the cloud has a lot to offer the charity sector. And as the world shifts towards a digital-first approach, it’s essential charity retail can stay ahead of the curve.

Nisyst’s cloud-based EPoS system, CHARiotWeb, can help your charity stay ahead of the curve while making your staff and volunteers lives easier. For more information, or to book a demo, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.