Cybertill, the leading supplier of software-as-a-service (SaaS) retail systems in the UK, has been shortlisted in the IT Europa Independent Software Vendor Awards , beating off stiff competition from across Europe. Cybertill was shortlisted with its customer, St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House Hospices, a charity retailer based in Sussex.

The nomination demonstrates the business benefits that Cybertill has brought St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House Hospices following the implementation of Cybertill’s cloud based Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) system. The main objective for the St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House Hospices was to begin claiming gift aid* in their charity shops, which helps them increase their revenue and profit, which can then be reinvested into the both hospices. One of the issues around re-claiming gift aid is it is a laborious task for charities, not only are the steps and administration labour intensive but it has to adhere to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) strict guidelines. This is the main obstacle that prevents many charity retailers from claiming or attempting to claim gift aid. The hospices have been amazed at the simplicity of these processes in Cybertill, because everything is automated. Thanks to Cybertill in the first year they claimed £100,000 net in Gift Aid and are targeting £120,000 in this next financial year. Already Gift Aid is generating about 18% of the retail operation’s net profit.

There have also been other benefits of deploying Cybertill, which St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House were unaware of. The initial brief was to reclaim gift aid and manage the shops more efficiently along with the stock. But they also operate a Christmas mail order business from their distribution centre and send out 30,000 of their Christmas card brochures every year. Cybertill can also manage mail order and ecommerce businesses and links store, ecommerce and mail order together seamlessly. So they now be manage the mail order operations in Cybertill including orders, stock levels, customers and in future use historical data from Cybertill to predict sales and future orders, helping increase card sales.

Colin Wakefield, who is Head of Retail at St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House, commented. “The benefits of Cybertill are multiple. It has changed how we approach our shops, they are not formulaic charity shops, in terms of selling all product departments, such as ladies wear, bric-a-brac, furniture and so forth. We consistently analyse what lines each shop sells. Some specialise in children’s wear, furniture, bric-a-brac and so forth. With Cybertill we can see what is selling where so we get the right product lines to the right stores thus optimising our sales, and catering for local demand. Cybertill has also enabled us to claim gift aid on donated goods which in turn helps us run and maintain both hospices. It has exceeded all our needs in terms of what we planned for the retail side of the charity. The additional advantages we have now are immeasurable, as far as I am concerned. It has proven so successful, and we have paid for the system within six months and not the twelve months originally estimated.”

Founder and current CEO of Cybertill, Ian Tomlinson, said, “On today’s high streets charity shops actively compete with mainstream independent and multiple retailers for a share of the consumer’s wallet. With the current economic environment this is not without its challenges; from charity retailers operating on much tighter budgets than their peers and to the quality of many donations deteriorating as we, the public, hold on to clothes and other items for longer before donating them, as may households continue to feel the economic squeeze. With that in mind we’re delighted that Cybertill has helped St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House improve the efficiency of its business and helped raise even more money.”

* Gift Aid Explained:
When individuals (who pay UK tax) donate goods to a charity shop, that charity is able to claim back the tax that they have paid on the donation from the government, with the donors consent. This is called Gift Aid and it typically allows charities to claim an additional 25p in every £1 they earn when selling donated goods. The processes in reclaiming gift aid involve intensive administration, but Cybertill automates this process for charities.


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