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It’s difficult to imagine the charity retail sector before technology. But while we’ve certainly made a lot of progress, there’s still a lot further for the industry to go. 60% of charities now have a digital strategy – up from 49% in 2020. That’s great news. Yet the sector still only rates itself a 5 out of 10 in terms of digital maturity.

We may know that digital tools are important for streamlining operations and getting ahead of market trends. But we still need to put this knowledge into practice and make tangible changes to their operations.

Which is why we think 2022 should be a year for charity retailers to prioritise their digital transformation. But what benefits can your charity expect?

Enhanced customer experience

Spoilt for choice with retailers to shop with, consumers are demanding more in terms of customised, personalised experiences. It’s why 71% feel frustrated if a shopping experience feels impersonal. Consumers want to feel special, seen, and appreciated by the brands they support.

And this is an area that digital transformation can help. Embracing digital tools to collect data about your customers’ shopping habits helps you to tailor your experience to their needs. It helps you provide those personalised experiences that consumers want.

It also helps you create more informed marketing campaigns and establish stronger long-term relationships with the people supporting your cause.

Increased revenue

There are many ways digital transformation can increase your revenue. From flexible fundraising efforts – such as capturing donations and Gift Aid on the move – to streamlining the Gift Aid declaration process, technology can help you squeeze more out of every day.

Offering a more personalised, efficient customer experience – like we mentioned above – can also result in more revenue. You can complete more sales in a day and secure higher customer retention. This is exactly why 71% of charities who consider themselves ‘digital experts’ report that they are optimistic about their organisation meeting fundraising targets in the next 12–18 months. Compare this to only 42% of those labelled ‘digital sceptics’.

This year, prioritising your charity’s digital transformation could be key to securing extra revenue and speeding up your COVID recovery.

Stay ahead of the curve

Finally, as the world of technology is ever-evolving, prioritising your digital transformation helps you keep ahead of the curve. New tools and technologies are being released all the time. And, in amongst all this change and development, it’s easy for organisations that don’t embrace change to fall by the wayside.

By focusing on digital transformation this year, you put your organisation in a better position to adapt and evolve alongside the wider industry. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, you can be an early adopter, helping to push the charity sector further forward into the modern, technological age.

Digital transformation in the charity sector is nothing new. If you compare the charity shops of today to those a decade ago, it’s clear to see the influence of technology. However, that doesn’t mean we should slow down. For any charity retailer looking to maximise revenue and success in 2022, embracing digital transformation continues to be key.

Nisyst’s HMRC-recognised CHARiotWeb helps you to embrace all technology has to offer. With tailored functionalities to streamline operations, maximise revenue, and improve productivity, we want to make sure 2022 is your charity’s best year yet. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

It’s been a tumultuous year for the charity sector, filled with equal parts optimism and uncertainty. But we’re finally out the other side and it’s time to start looking forward to 2022. You might be wondering what to expect from the coming year. So today, we thought we’d share our charity retail predictions for what the next year might look like.

Digital transformation will remain a priority

The charity and non-profit sector currently rates itself a 5 out of 10 for digital maturity. During the pandemic, we saw many charities doing incredible things with digital – from creating new income streams to improving their customer experience. And we don’t see this going anywhere in 2022.

According to the same survey, 79% of respondents believe it’s important for organisations to continue developing their digital maturity. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Whether it’s continuing to embrace digital tools, harnessing data-driven insights, or generating new income streams, we believe a hybrid approach will continue to be the way forward for the charity sector.

Environmental impact

Charity shops are already doing a lot to offset the harmful environmental impacts of global supply chains. They encourage consumers to recycle their unwanted items, keeping them out of landfill and giving them a second chance. But, this doesn’t make them immune from the pressing urgency of climate change.

Following COP26 in November, net-zero goals are becoming increasingly important for organisations of all industries – the charity sector included. In 2022, we predict charities are going to have to turn their attention towards their environmental impact, identifying ways to push towards carbon neutrality.

Online sales are going nowhere

In a previous blog, we highlighted The British Heart Foundation’s incredible success with online sales. Specifically their 12% increase in eBay sales during 2020. But we have a hunch this is only the beginning of the charity sector embracing online sales.

Consumers will continue wanting convenience and efficiency, making online sales an obvious choice for boosting customer satisfaction and profits. In 2020, there was over $4.2 billion worth of online sales worldwide. And this is expected to reach over $6.3 billion by 2024.

Not only will investing in your online sales process help you meet your customers where they’re at, but alternative income streams will also help to boost resilience and increase stability across your organisation.

Business agility

Speaking of which, the past year or two have shone a massive light on the importance of resilience. Those businesses who adapted quickly, pivoted overnight, and embraced change were the ones who came out on top. And we’re not out of the woods yet.

This year, we think more and more charities are going to need to build agility into their strategies. They’ll need to stay flexible and able to evolve alongside industry changes, as well as advancements in technology. 

This past year has been about recovery for the charity sector. And while it seems there will be more of the same in 2022, we also think we’ll begin to see a few key trends gaining momentum and pushing the sector in new directions. With these predictions in mind, what can you do today to put your charity in the best position to keep up?

Nisyst’s CHARiotWeb will help you adapt to the times with ease. As a HMRC-recognised solution, we help you to continue achieving the most for your cause. If you’d like to find out more, get in touch today on 01204 706 000.

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.

As you might have heard, PoSReady 7 OS, the operating system used in most tills, is approaching its end of life (EoL). This basically means that in October 2021, the vendor will stop delivering support services for the product. 

So what does this mean for your charity? Simply put, this could cause some serious disruption to your day-to-day operations, and it’s why many charities are now considering an operating system upgrade. But let’s look at it in more detail…

PCI compliance

Compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is essential for your charity. This compliance is mandated by the contracts you sign with the card brands and banks that handle your charity’s payment processing

As the PCI DSS says: “Protect all system components and software from known vulnerabilities by installing applicable vendor-supplied security patches. Install critical security patches within one month of release.”

Old operating systems, such as the PoSReady 7, may no longer be supported by vendors. Operating systems that aren’t supported won’t have access to software patches. This means you won’t be able to continue using the software while remaining PCI compliant. Failure to be PCI compliant can result in fines, which can be as high as £60,000.

Security

Even the systems with the best cyber security solutions can be subject to sophisticated cyber attacks. A data breach occurring on an EoL operating system could result in disciplinary action or fines from the Information Commissioner’s Office. GDPR states data must be handled securely by means of “appropriate technical and organisational measures”, which means an obsolete system may be considered neglectful or careless.

No more updates means the system won’t be at its safest. Even if any vulnerabilities are found, there will be no patches to offer further security. As well as this, older systems are less likely to be supported by other programs, which may include your antivirus software. And antivirus solutions might not be the only third-party solution that your charity relies on.

Lack of support from third-party vendors 

Integrated payment providers connect the payment processing function of your business with other vital systems like CRM, accounting, and payroll. But by making the decision to continue to use an EoL operating system, you could lose your integrated payment providers as they’re unlikely to want to continue to support their solution on an EoL system. But they are key to your operations, so losing your provider could be a huge blow to your charity. 

You also need to be careful with remote support software. This allows a technician to connect to a device from anywhere in the world to help with any issues, support, or installing important updates for the system. Remote control products can create security concerns if not configured or used in a secure manner, so you want to be sure they will be supported.

PoSReady 7 OS is on its way out. While you could continue to use it, it may cause you more problems down the line. Now might be the time to seek a new PoS operating system for your charity to keep operations at their best.

With over 30 years of experience at the forefront of the UK charity tech scene, Charity Retail Systems has developed an innovative, HMRC-recognised EPoS system to take your charity to the next level. If you’d like to find out more, call us today on 01204 706000.