Today, there are more than 9,000 charity shops across the UK and that number is growing at an exponential rate. Compare this to over 70 years ago when charity stores were ran by volunteers and focused towards a consumer struggling to make ends meet during the war. Proving a success, they continued through the decades to be a place for frugal and green minded shoppers.

“Charity retail has changed more in the past five years, than it has since they began in World War II.”

That is the thought Rob Finley, director of ChaityStore who has taken a retrospective look at when charity shops were first formed and became popular in the UK in 1940s and is now urging hospices and charities to rethink their approach to retailing in the modern day.

Prime Retail Locations

Organisations have now started to take up prime retail spots on the high street once held by businesses before the recession and are seeking advise on how best to step into the limelight. Combined with setting up large out of town shops for bulky items such as furniture there is no doubt that charity and hospice retailers are making the most of their evolution.

Going Digital

Once used by customers who wanted to bag a bottom price bargain; happy to pay only in cash and browsing only in store, that customer (no matter how young or old) demands something new and it’s influencing retail operations.
According to Rob Finley “In the past five years we have seen a true transitional shift in the sector and we’ve certainly seen a huge upturn in the amount of charities and hospices coming to us with questions about how to go digital and retail in a more diverse way to meet the demand of a new kind of consumer.”
Customers still like to shop in-store but they now expect charities to sync up e-commerce of new goods, inventory for specialty stores and sell online via Amazon and eBay. It’s not just customers who are demanding a digital chance, charity retailers themselves are wanting improved back offices to become more efficient and cut costs to help harness every penny spent.

Specialist Stores

Physical and digital boutique stores specialising in niche and tailored products such as furniture, menswear or even designer boutique stores have been growing in popularity, becoming a strong trend in the sector, setting themselves apart from their high-street competitors.

Gift Aid

Capturing every penny of Gift Aid, saving time at the till and minimising admin is key to tapping in to quick win revenue both instore and online. Implementing a single scan Gift Aid solution can make any missed Gift Aid sale a thing of the past and reduce time taken to process transactions.

Loyalty Cards

Keeping supporters and donors engaged and loyal is a must for every charity today. Successfully implemented loyalty and supporter cards will help strengthen both engagement and revenue strategies by increasing basket size, repeat shopper frequency, enhance donor relationships and attract new supporters.


Lottery is a vital way to increase charity fundraising revenue streams and can collect more customer data allowing you to enhance engagement strategies. From the supporter point of view, they see lottery as an added incentive to donate to their chosen charities with the added incentive of being entered in to a prize draw.


Want to find out more… Why not download the latest CharityStore brochure?
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