As high street footfall continues to decline, and buyers turn all their attention to shops selling products online, what can you do to keep your customers coming to your charity shop?
You could create your own online charity store – one where anyone in the UK can buy what your charity is offering, and one that could increase your profits dramatically.
That’s exactly what Shopify can do for you.
Why choose Shopify for an online charity store?
There are many different webstore or eCommerce store builders to choose from, but Shopify is one of the most well-known. It’s used by over 600,000 businesses and has sold over $82bn of goods since it launched.
More importantly for charities who are setting up their first webstore and are new to selling online, Shopify is very easy to use. There are no set-up fees, no complicated technical installations, and you don’t need to have any kind of coding knowledge.
In fact, you’re guided through every step of the process and there are lots of helpful guides if you do get stuck.
Shopify offers special reduced fees for charities and non-profits too.
How easy it for charities to get started with Shopify?
It’s quick and easy for anyone to build their own Shopify charity store. There’s actually very little building required.
In no time at all you can be selling all your donated items online as well as in your shop. Just go to www.shopify.co.uk, press the “Get Started” button, and follow these 7 simple steps:
- Sign up to Shopify
- Choose your pricing plan
- Pick and customise a theme
- Add your products
- Set up payments
- Add donations
- Integrate with Shopiago
1. Sign up to Shopify
Enter your email address and password, and then choose a name for your webstore. This is probably going to just be the name of your charity.
If you represent an individual charity branch, you might want to include the town or city you’re located in too.
Your webstore name will be part of the URL for your new online shop. So for example: thischarityname.myshopify.com
If you want to have a custom domain name – like www.mycharity.co.uk – you can set this up later by going to “Online Store > Domain Names”
All new users to Shopify get a 14 day free trial, so you can explore all the features, set up everything you need and decide if the platform is going to work for you, without having to worry about being charged if it isn’t right.
After this, you’ll just enter a few basic business settings.
2. Select a pricing plan
There are three main options to choose from, each paid for monthly: Basic, Regular and Advanced.
As you’re just starting out with your charity webstore, you probably won’t need any more features beyond the basic plan, which costs $29 a month. There are discounts if you pay annually and if you’re a registered charity.
Be sure to compare the different plans though, just in case you need any of the additional features that are only included in the regular or advanced packages. Don’t worry too much though, you can always upgrade or downgrade your plan whenever you need to.
If your charity already has a website, you can use Shopify to link a webstore to it. Because you won’t need any themes or designs, just a place to sell the products, you can sign up to the Shopify Lite plan.
3. Choose a theme (and customise if you want)
The next stage in setting up your Shopify charity store is to choose a theme. This is the template for the look and feel of your online shop front.
Shopify has dozens of free themes to choose from. You’ll see a default one first, but will be able to browse through lots of different options. Go to “Online Store > Themes”. They all perform the same basic functions, but let you choose a layout and style you like.
You can also buy themes if you prefer, but the quickest option is to select one of the free Shopify ones. When you find a theme you like, just click “Add Theme.”
You can then customise your theme if you want to. Add your charity’s logo and change the colours to match your brand.
If you want to add custom pages, you can do this as part of your theme editor. Just follow the menu prompts, and then you’ll be able to drag and drop sections and move items around as required. It’s all very intuitive.
When you’re happy with any customisation, you just “Publish” your theme.
4. Add your products
At this point, you’ll want to start adding products to your Shopify store. You can sell just about anything on Shopify that you can sell in your own charity shop.
To enter individual products manually, click the “Products” menu item from your Shopify dashboard, and go to “Add Products”. Go through each of the fields, filling in the required information. You’ll then want to add an image too.
Alternatively, you can bulk upload a list of products using a CSV file. Follow the Shopify template, and you can get several products listed all at once. Shopify also lets you import products from eBay.
You’ll be able to add new products and remove old ones whenever you want, based on new donations and the stock in your charity shop.
There’s also an easier way to list new products on Shopify. Connect your account with Shopiago, and the clever technology searches old and existing listings to find exact matches of the same products for sale. It can then import and automatically populate product listing fields, saving you time and effort.
Better still, it helps you set the best price for your items, by researching the current and previous selling prices of similar items on Shopify (and other marketplaces too). Shopiago helps you maximise profit.
5. Arrange payments, shipping and taxes
Once you have added products, you’ll need to make sure that customers can pay for them!
Shopify has its own payment processing option which takes credit cards, so all you have to do is add your bank details. It’s hassle-free but there are fees associated. As a charity, you only pay what the individual credit card charges – Shopify payments doesn’t charge any additional fees. You can also set-up several other payment options too, including PayPal.
You’ll then need to follow all the other options on shipping costs and applicable taxes, but the set-up is self-explanatory.
6. Add donation functionality
At this point, you might also want to look at installing additional features to your Shopify charity store.
As a non-profit on the platform, you’ll have the ability to set up donation options just like products. You create pre-set amounts – like £2, £5, £10 etc. – explaining what the donations contribute to in the product description field.
A customer browsing your Shopify store can then choose to simply donate money, rather than buying an actual product.
Shopify also has an app store, where you’ll find hundreds of different add-ons and plugins that expand the functionality of your Shopify charity store. Many are free. You can use apps for customer reviews, pop-ups to capture email addresses, security features, wish lists and so much more.
7. Connect your Shopify account with Shopiago
The final step of the process in setting up your Shopify charity store is to connect your account with Shopiago. All you need to do is sign up and follow the simple prompts, and your Shopify account will be automatically integrated with Shopiago in less than five minutes.
As we mentioned above, Shopiago makes it much easier to research products, find the best possible prices to sell them at, and quickly add listings to your Shopify store.
It also streamlines your stock management for multi-channel selling, letting you sell the same products on Shopify, eBay and Amazon – so you can maximise exposure and maximise profits.
All your orders are synchronised in one place too!