4 tips everyone in charity retail should know

Stay ahead in the retail revolution!

Charity retail is in the midst of a revolution. In a time where high street staples such as BHS and Austin Reed have disappeared from sight, it’s impossible to ignore that charities will be affected by this retail revolution too.

That’s why we’ve got some tips from Barry Moles, from Skyline Business Services to help your charity shop thrive in these changing times.

1. Remember data is King

With increasing competition within the charity sector coupled with rising costs, it’s becoming more important to use data to make performance better. However, this is only true if you are collecting and using data correctly.

Data can be collected irrespective of the checkout system a charity uses. Yet, surprisingly many charity retailers (even those who have excellent modern epos systems) don’t capture the key data. So if you’re not already, start to think about these key data areas:

  • Profit and Loss statements (P&L)
  • Average ticket price by product category
  • Items sold by category
  • Product category sales
  • Space allocated by product category in every shop
  • Rag revenue by shop
  • Donations quantity by shop
  • Gift aid revenue performance by shop
  • Gift aid new donors by shop

2. Don’t let Gift Aid slip

For your charity, that extra 25p for every £1 spent can make a huge difference in the long-term. However, not all charity shops are seeing good results for Gift Aid. Often if a charity shop is underperforming in this area, managers tend to blame it on reasons such as: ‘Most people around here don’t work’, ‘People don’t have time to Gift Aid because…’ or ‘We don’t have enough volunteers.’

Yet, it has been proven that the top performing shop managers on Gift Aid spend more time on the shop floor then those underperforming shop managers. It is clear that management involvement, research and training all have a part to play here and shouldn’t be ignored.

3. Think about E-commerce

E-Commerce is growing fast, so any charity that has no e-commerce presence is losing access to a considerable and growing market.  Selling on E-Bay and Amazon should and can generate considerable revenue for all charity retail operations. However, the reality is that the clear majority of charity e-commerce operations are not generating the revenue expected and possible. Looking ahead, charity shops should plan with this in mind so they don’t miss out.

4.Training and development is vital

According to the Charity Retail Association 87% of charity retail staff receive product pricing training and 80% of charity retail staff receive training on spotting high value donations.

Most charities do a great job on the compulsory training including managing volunteers but don’t really offer the same high quality training for critically important commercial / technical training aspects of retail management.