Why there has never been a better time to sell online

There is no denying that 2020 has been a rough ride for charity sector, with retail taking a significant blow. Enforced lockdown removed a valuable and lucrative income stream for charities of all sizes - from small grassroots, local organisations to big household names. And as stores begin to reopen, there are further challenges ahead.

But let’s not write off 2020 just yet. As challenging as this year has been, there are opportunities to grow your income. In fact, as we ease out of lockdown, there’s never been a better time to start selling online.

Make more money

Customers in your stores are looking for bargains. That’s the beauty of charity shops! But selling online can make sure you’re not underselling items that could be making you big money. By going online, you’re opening your shop up to the world. We guarantee that somebody somewhere will be looking for precisely what you have to offer - and be willing to pay good money for it!

One of our clients have recently made some huge wins online over lockdown. A singer sewing machine selling for £750, a drawing for £250 and various iPads and electrical items for over £200 – all would struggle to sell for such amounts in-store. Selling online has meant that items can be sold for what they are truly worth.

Tools like Shopiago can help you in pricing your items online, with real-time insights and reports that can tell you exactly what you should be charging. That lamp that’s been sitting in the back room for months? You might be surprised at how much it could sell for online – and somebody will snap it up in no time.

Overcome social distancing

Charity shops are all about rummaging. It’s part of their charm that you never know what you’re going to come out with.

Social distancing makes this difficult. Customers may be nervous about sifting through your stock and you may not be allowed to have as many customers in your stores as you’d like. A recent report from Austria, where charity shops opened with social distancing, indicated that revenue was still down up to 80% after reopening.

By going online, you can allow your customers to rummage through your stock from the comfort of their sofas. Promote your online store and your loyal customers can check out what you have to offer without leaving home. And you needn’t be worried about the extra work of sending items out either – simply offer in-store collection and arrange a time for your customers to pick up their new treasures.

Combat quarantine

As stores are reopening, the government is advising that donations are stored for 72 hours before being put on display. And with an influx of donations coming in following lockdown, this presents challenges for stores with limited backroom space.

72 hours is a long time – but it doesn’t need to be wasted time. You can make sure you’re making the most of this by listing items online as soon as they come into your store and allow your customers to browse your latest stock ‘contact-free’!

Shopiago offers super-quick listing. One of our clients reported an increase of 40% in the number of items they could list in a day – so you can get new donations up in no time, and have them out the door as soon as those 72 hours are up.

Safeguard your stores

Stores are reopening, but we aren’t out of the woods yet. Many sections of society are being encouraged to continue to self-isolate – and many of these form the vital volunteer workforce charity shops rely on.

Research from the Charity Retail Association shows that 81% of stores may have to consider reducing their opening hours and 66% may need to temporarily close if their workforce are advised or (understandably) wish to stay at home. And despite shops being allowed to open, 78% of stores with more than one chain will not be opening all of their shops at once.

Selling online can help you safeguard your stores against further closures. Listings can be created from home and you can offer safe collections or post items. Many of our clients have been able to not only continue operating during lockdown – but thrive.

It’s never been easier

Selling online might sound daunting, especially when you need to consider additional elements such Gift Aid and reporting. You don’t even need to create your own website. Why would you, when you have the worlds largest marketplaces already working with millions of customers worldwide?

We’ve created Shopiago specifically for charity retailers and taking your unique needs into consideration. It’s fully integrated with eBay and automatically tracks Gift Aid from donation to sale. Contact us to book a demo – we can’t wait to show you how easy it is to set-up or grow your online sales.

" Shopiago have been great right from the start, ever adapting and supportive to our Charity's needs

Hollie Arnold
Ecommerce Manager, The Air Ambulance Service