Charity shops could be for shoppers
What defines a charity shop? Discounted, second-hand goods nobody needs sold by volunteers with bad attitudes on increasingly empty high streets at low business rates? Or, a simple way for people to contribute to society and get something back? Sounds like a choice between a rock and a hard place. Who is ready to change the game and find a better way?
Charity shop does not have to mean ‘junk shop’. For many national charities, their shop is their brand on the high street. There’s a reputation at stake. As Mary Portas has said, “They are there day in, day out. Consumers pass them every day – shops are the most visible piece of brand awareness that there is for a charity.”
Here are 10 questions for CEOs of charities with retail outlets on our high streets.
- What is ‘success’ for your charity shops? Income, Service or Reputation?
- You’re a shop on the high street, but what are people buying? Can you be more than Poundland with a social purpose?
- If you made consumers and customer service your priority, what would change?
- How about breaking the mould and setting up with a commercial partner on the High Street, even it means paying full business rates?
- What about specialising in giving people what they want instead of whatever you happen to collect?
- You’re a national chain store with a charitable purpose – what could you do if you could do anything?
- Are you online? If not, why not?
- Who are you aiming at? One age or social group? Or all?
- Is your shop a multi-purpose access point to your work? Can people join and donate, as well as buy goods?
- What would you need to do to make your shop a ‘destination’ rather than an ‘obligation’?