Selling Online: Opportunity Knocks!

Does your charity have an ecommerce operation, and is it up to the required standard? These are questions that many store managers avoid – but selling online is something that is sure to prove an asset to any charity retail business.

Why sell online?

Shopping habits in Britain have changed markedly over the past decade. According to the Office for National Statistics[1], online sales accounted for more than 20% of consumer spending in early 2020 – up from around 7% in 2010. The pace of this change is likely only to accelerate.

Several factors are behind this. A range of technological changes have online shopping increasingly easy and convenient, and new ones will make it more so. Younger generations are more inclined to make purchases online, and to do so via their phones. Demographic changes will therefore cause online shopping to become more prevalent.

The Challenges

Of all the marketing opportunities available to a charity store, few are as effective as a shop window. It’s a vital opportunity to make your case to passing customers. You might think of it as a free billboard, right on the street. But like any other billboard, a shop window needs to express its message clearly. And it’ll have just a few seconds to do so, as the average shopper will spare just a few seconds of their time!

Successful shop windows are those which command attention and express a succinct, persuasive message.

The message should, of course, be an invitation to come inside. Without footfall, no retail charity can survive – as shoppers who don’t enter your store won’t buy anything from it! But a shop window also confers more indirect benefits: it’ll help you to cement your store’s presence in the local community, and keep your reputation bubbling over.

Scaling to meet demand

Many charity retail businesses have found themselves struggling to adapt to surging demand for online shopping. It isn’t always easy to scale in a way that’s sustainable, and that won’t hinder you in the long-term. While almost every charity has enjoyed rising sales, they’ve also endured rising costs, both direct and indirect.
  • Volunteer numbers and capability
  • Listing and pricing strategy
  • Product categorisation
All of which present new challenges to managers.

Why work with us?

Working with us confers several key benefits.

Training

We provide formal training, reference material, and practical guidance that’ll equip you to thrive while selling online.

Package deals

We can put together bespoke packages that will deliver support to where your charity retail business most needs it. Whether you are looking for measures that’ll help to launch your business online, or that’ll improve your efficiency, we’ve got what you’re looking for.

Supply Chains

If you are selling online, supply chains are hugely important. In the charity retail sector, this is especially so, as donations can come from many different sources, near and far from where the business is based. Sometimes your supply chains can feel more like a supply web! Fortunately, there are several measures we might take to untangle it.
  • You might list in multiple locations, or list centrally via an app like Zoom. With the right systems in place, you can have your suppliers collect from several different locations.
  • WhatsApp is also a great communication tool, providing donors and e-commerce department with a means of previewing would-be donations.
  • Finally, a minimum selling value for moving donations is a great, simple way to ensure that it will be worth the while of the charity.

Platform Integration

Between them, Amazon, and eBay account for around 40% of ecommerce in the UK. They allow you to find sellers for those niche items that cannot be sold locally – but they also make life easier for would-be buyers. These platforms present a unique opportunity – but getting to grips with them can be tricky. We will help you to take those first vital steps into those platforms, establish a reputation as a trusted seller, and access a thriving marketplace. We have partnered with Royal Mail in developing an automated parcel despatch software that integrates seamlessly with both eBay and Amazon, which automates the technical stuff and allows your staff to focus on what they are good at.

Preliminary Assessments

Since charity retail businesses come in a range of shapes and sizes, we provide a range of different support packages. Before proceeding, we will conduct a brief, thorough assessment to ensure that you are a good match for the services we’ll provide. This way, we will not end up implementing anything that needs to be undone in the future, and you’ll have a solid foundation upon which to build your presence online.
If you would like to see these topics unpackaged in greater detail, be sure to check out this blog by Barry Moles, our MD. It will give you all the detail to understand the benefits, and how to get started with us!

If you would like more information, or just a chat, then why not get in touch? Our advice is free, and you will not be obliged to take things further. You can contact us via our website, via email, or by reaching out to one of the team directly. Our details are listed in the contact section of this site.