Charity shops embracing e-commerce for a future online

Charity retailers have an imminent need to to adapt, survive and sell online, with many charities largely dependent on their survival.

Covid-19 restrictions have resulted significantly reduced footfall and repeated closures of brick-and-mortar charity stores nationwide as case numbers continue to soar.

The shift towards a digital world has been greatly accelerated, with the strong likliehood of lasting effects when society returns to normal. This offers a unique chance for charities to recoup losses accumulated over closures and pave the way for improved operations with an increased volume of sales through e-commerce.

Charity retailers must not be overlooked, although their business structure is not-for-profit or by means of paying employees – they do have multiple organisations dependant on these operations as an income of funding.

Charity Retailers Online

Do you want your charity to sell online? Contact our team for a free demo. 

Opportunities for charities through ecommerce

  1. There is a growing market for sustainable, second-hand clothing. The largest source of used fashion is charity retail. Each year, 12,000 charity shops in the UK and Ireland receive over 150m individual donations.
  2. Charities are restricted in their sales channels and distribution to effectively sell large volumes of donations within a local area or limited footfall. Because of this, some charities are left with the cost of disposing of unwanted items.
  3. A recent report on Covid-19 and e-commerce from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said that the pandemic has changed online shopping behaviours forever. Out of 3,700 consumers surveyed more than half said they now shop online more frequently.
  4. Increased profits and reach – A Charity Retail Association report found that 88% of those selling online say this allowed them to gain the best possible price for unusual and high-value items, such as antiques. 80% stressed that moving to an online sales operation had helped expand their reach, now regularly selling to overseas customers.

Unsure which online ordering platform to use? Read our blog here as we provide advice

How charity shops can enter e-commerce

One fast and easy solution for charitable retailers is the online ordering platform Mercury Order. The online delivery and click and collect platform is different in that it is fully designed around the needs of smaller retailers and supporting them to go digital. It is very simple to set up and manage, and fast and easy for customers to use.

Charity stores can set up online shops with customised delivery or click and collect slots. The combination of this with inventory management, analytics and reporting features, means the platform can provide a low barrier of entry for charity retailers into e-commerce.

The benefits include:

  • Free to set up
  • Pay only per transaction 1.8% – 2.9% – lowest fee on market.
  • No need for website development – unlike with Shopify or other systems.
  • Customise delivery or click and collect slots.
  • No need for expensive bespoke software purchases.
  • Protect customers and staff.
  • Alternative solution to continue operations during the uncertainty of lockdowns.

Do you work with a charity association or know somebody who does? As Mercury Order is the lowest cost per transaction fee on the market with state-of-the-art software – charitable organisations can successfully enter the e-commerce world with increased profits for those in need. Watch a free demo here or contact our team today: NI +44 28 7122 8820 UK +44 333 241 44 22 ROI +353 1 247 5294